Pec Injury and Bench press?
07-16-2009 12:36 AM
Pec Injury and Bench press?
Hey hows it going. I am welcoming any type of info I can get on this topic. I have been powerlifting for about 8 of the 14 years I have been lifting and have had no real injuries till now. I recently (approx 1 week ago) felt a stabbing pain in my left pec at about 3 inches medial to my bicep in my mid-upper pec at the junction with the arm. I was on my last set at 315 which I usually end with 3 or so then go to 320 for 1, but this pain was pretty bad. Yet, the pain subsided quickly and after a couple of days I was able to finish my workout with flyes and wtd dips. Then this week I started my bench routine as usual starting out with warmups of bar-12, 95-10 135-8 185-2 235-1 255-1, which I have done for years and always had great results, then started my first set at 275 for 5. Then jumped to 285 (usually 4 or so), but on the 3rd rep I again felt the same stabbing pain, so stopped. Tried some stretching techs then tried to do my next set of 295 but could only go half way down, so stopped...so I stopped pretty much 30 pounds before usual which is a downer, but I was able to do pullovers with 100 for 6 sets of 10-5 progression, and then wtd dips with 90, 95,100,105 ( I weigh 220) and was able to go for 5 reps down to 3 or so.
I am at a loss what to do, because I feel that I may tear my pec and have to be out for months, which I can't do. Does any one know if I could or should be doing something differently to stop this. Maybe eat a Banana for K or something. I don't know how to get this right with out taking more time off than I could stand. Thanks to anyone who will reply.
Should I be starting my workout with something else than BP, which I have done for years. Any help would be great.
07-16-2009 11:39 AM
sounds like a strain or pulled muscle to me....ice and rest
if it's something else...not sure.....see a doctor?
07-16-2009 05:00 PM
Thanks bud, thats what I have been doing, just wondering if I should go 2 weeks in between my next bench workout or 1 week like usual. Apparently the 1 week wasn't enough between the two times the injury occured. I'm a med student, so I have been talking to some of the doctors I work with, and I find that most will say ibuprofen and not corticosteroids (injection) because although the corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory, they also stop the normal healing response which is detrimental.
I hate to get an MRI, because I don't think it is that bad, just worried that I will have 320 on next time and have a blow out. I would understand if I was using poor form or not warming up, but I use slow concentrated movements after many sets of warm-ups I can do other chest movements, but nothing beats the Bench, so I would like to get back to that at full weight.
If anyone has suggestions pertaining to altered training techs to accomodate such an injury I welcome it.
07-16-2009 06:55 PM
What you would hate more than an MRI, is a pear tear
Trust me Ive had one and it sucks. Mine was a partial distal and it sucked.
I never got surgery because it was a partial tear and I didnt have insurance (poor college student), Im in good shape now and fairly strong on chest but no where near where I used to be. I do all chest movements now very slow with a narrow grip.
For comparison, I went from a 335x6 bench to a 275x6 bench and my chest will never look the same. But this is after 2 years of hard work and careful form rebuilding form doing 30 lb dumbell press, and not being able to bench 135. The body is an incredible machine and how it can adapt is awesome. I thought id never bench again much less workout. My body adjusted slightly too, my delt and tris on the tear side got bigger to compensate. You probably couldnt noticed it relaxed, but you can see the tear when im flexin, its kinda freaky. Ive come to accept it and hey its a part of me now, Im still strong and got a good build so I thank God it wasnt a complete tear. Trust me you dont want one, take it easy and dont push it if you dont feel safe. Ill try to post some pics tommorow so you can see what it looks like.
Ive had some sucess filling the chest area out by building up the pec minor which lies under the pec major. which really evens out the look of the chest for me. Some poses and relaxed you really wouldnt be able to see it, but some flexed poses it can be seen. It was a lost worse in the begining, but i basically had to rehab and rebuild muscle where it had tore, body adapted and did its best.
07-16-2009 07:29 PM
I had problems with several recurrent pec strains a couple of years ago. What I did for rehab was isometric holds for 30 seconds in various push-up positions along with high rep flyes to stretch the area. This can be done several times per week.
As for my normal bench day, I think I started with 135 the week after the injury and just did alot of reps. Every week I added a quarter or went up to the next plate (135, 185, 225, 275, etc....). It took several weeks before I got back to my "normal" training weights, but I tried to rush back faster 3 other times and got re-injured every time. Be patient. Taking a few weeks to come back now is MUCH better than a full-blown pec tear.
07-16-2009 10:37 PM
Hey thanks Umberto and Srs2000. I'll definitely take your information seriously. A good scare is what I need, and a pear tear sounds horrid. The pain now is bearable and actually not very noticeable unless I press or stretch too far back...I'd like to keep it that way and work back up to normal. I think taking a couple of weeks off the bench will definitely be beneficial, and I will work around the injury doing some flyes, dips, pullovers etc. I will definitely try some of the isometric holds and flyes to warm up and keep limber. Curious about the pear tear, wondering if there is anything you can do for that, surgically. Also wondering if the tear was during a max lift or during a regular set. I was just amazed that when this pain started I was just lifting like normal and actually feeling great, and then a stabbing sensation. I am kind of wondering if the bench has anything to do with it...it happened after joining this new gym at my hospital. Also, I started doing one armed dumbbell arnold presses that same week, which was new...maybe something strained there...I never went above 100's but was having some difficulty with balance.
07-16-2009 10:53 PM
Im not sure if I could get it repaired now. I heard Tony Freeman had surgery 5 years after his tear. Probably something I should look into before I get out the Corps. Anyway this was after an intense 10 week field training session in the military where I didnt lift any weights and lost some weight and strength due to all the physical conditioning we did. After I got back in the gym, my strength came back quickly, but not as quickly as I would have liked and I began to use weight that was too heavy before I was ready and I dont think my tendons had enough time to readjust. I was doing a heavy set of 3-4 reps but I had previously only done one quick insufficient warm up set with 135. My form was sloppy and lots of bouncing and arched back, really wide grip. Well on my 3rd rep I ripped...........I just got chills lol, it makes me nauseous to think about it.........anyway it felt like when you twist and stretch a rubber band really tight then it pops and unravles, it was horrible. My workout partner quickly grabbed the weights off me. My chest swelled and in a few days from my forearm to my neck was black and blue.
Factors I think contributed to my tear:
-Poor form (wide grip, bouncing, arched back)
-lack of proper warmup
-no respect for heavy weights
-body not readjusted to heavy weights
07-17-2009 09:13 AM
Pec Tear pic
Pics as promised.
As you can see in the flexing pic and the relaxed pic, you cant see the pec tear.
In certain poses you can see it clearly like the last.
Trust me you dont want this! Above all use slow and controlled form. I had to learn the hard way. I think the injury happened in summer 2005 or 2006 cant remember.
Im happy with my physique now and its kind of a matter of pride to be able to lift more than my friends even with half a pec, but if I could, I would go back and do things differently.
07-19-2009 09:55 PM
Man that's pretty wicked. Hows your strength on your left side. I bet your tris and delts have compensated quite a bit. I hope to not have that happen. It just seems as though the pain goes away before I should probably be lifting again. But this time I am going to hold off an extra week on bench.
07-19-2009 11:11 PM
I would hold off till the pain is gone, anyway, you wont be building muscles or strength in a muscle thats not fully recovered. But, you probably wanna get some blood in there to speed healing. Some pushups, cable work or light light presses would be good, emphasis on light, blood pump, lactic acid.
Believe it or not the strength is good on the left side. It amazes me by looking at it and wondering how the hell my strength can be as good as it is with that sort of injury.
And thats not just in presses and compund movements. My isolation (flys, cables ect.) movements are still strong. These had to be built back up, and there not as strong as pre injury but still impressive considering.
My Delts and Tris, do compensate more though. And have grown slightly bigger as a result.
Some poundages I use now:
Bench Press (narrow grip obviously): 275X5
Dumbell Bench: 110X6
Pre Injury Poundages:
DB Bench: 130x5
07-19-2009 11:53 PM
definitely no pressing while recovering. Focus on legs for a few weeks and let your chest heal man
07-23-2009 10:20 AM
One thing to keep in mind when you come back from some time off is to start off light. Don't try to go right back to the weight you were doing pre-injury. I had to take a couple of weeks off from benching a few years ago, and when I came back I thought I could just work back up to around the weight I was at when I stopped. Big mistake. I ended up hurting my shoulder and it took me 9 months to rehab back. Take it slow.
07-28-2009 04:03 PM
So, I took a week off of benching (actually a total of 2 weeks since I rest one week between chest lifts) (just doing warmups on bench) and stuck to wtd dips, pullovers, cable and db flyes, and felt pretty good, so I think I can start my bench up again. Was also able to go with military presses this last week (not over 240 on a smith) and felt pretty good. I just have this lingering feeling on the back burner, that at any minute the muscle could tear....but, without taking chances you get no where, so I will just make sure to warm up well and take sufficient rest periods between sets.
07-28-2009 04:40 PM
Just don't try and jump right back to where you were before the injury. The first time you bench, stay light and work back up over a period of several weeks provided you don't have any setbacks. If you work back up over the next 4-6 weeks, going a little heavier each week, you will be much better off than trying to come back too fast.
If you haven't already started, start stretching the pec daily. You don't want any residual tightness since this may increase your chance of re-injury.
07-29-2009 04:20 PM
I ruptured my pec about 4 years ago...complete tear, right off the humerus...Not fun...people in the gym actually heard the snap.
trust me, you dont want to go there.
I never felt even a little twinge of pain before it happened. Nothing to clue me in to back off a bit.
Take it slow for a bit...pushups, flyes till you are certain. The bench aint going anywhere and if you get hurt your out of commision for awhile...1 step forward, 2 steps back kind of thing...
I'd also get rid of those wtd. dips...that movement is a shoulder/pec injury waiting to happen. Good luck
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