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Max Spiller

Torn Pec, Why did it Happen? How to rehab?

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Max Spiller
Posted (edited)

     Hey guys I tore my pec benching.  I was doing 225 for 3 sets of 5 reps.  I tore it on my third rep of my third set, I was easily lifting the weight and I didn't feel any pain besides a 1-2/10 on the side that tore before it happened.  It was a partial tear of the muscle belly. 

     I didn't warm up before benching but the weight was going up easily and painlessly and I've never warmed up for bench before.  I was doing linear progression and benching 3x a week.  I had made a lot of gains on dumbbell bench going from 55lb dumbbells to 90lb dumbbells.  I had just recently started barbell bench and it was my 4th session back benching.  I went from 185 first session, and increased by 10lbs each session.  I've never had chest problems before.  I wasn't flaring my elbows hard.  My grip is pointer finger on the outer rings of the bar.

     I'm currently following the starr rehab protocol.  I waited about 10 days where I just did arm circles and ghost benching.  Then I started the starr protocol which is starting with the bar for 3 set of 25 reps and adding 10lbs every workout.  You are supposed to bench every day to draw blood into the muscles.  Once it gets too heavy you drop to 20 reps, 15 reps, 10, and then 5.  I finish the session with a few sets of passive hanging from a pull up bar.  I'm still doing 30 minutes of jogging once a week and 10 sets of 60 seconds on/60 seconds off of HIIT kickboxing on the heavy bag twice a week.  I feel no pain when hitting the bag.

      I'm going to work on cuban press to train my external rotators because that seems like it might be a possible avenue to reduce my chance of tearing my pec.  In the future I'm also going to do myofascial release of the pecs and warm up with lighter benching weight before going into my work sets.  It doesn't make sense for it to tear though because I've exerted myself harder on bench before and the weight was going up easily/relatively painlessly(1-2/10 on the pain scale).  Bench press was my first exercise of the day as well.

     Any insight of why my pec tore?  What can I do to prevent tears in the future?  Are there exercises I should do as prehab?  Should I continue benching when my pec is better, should I go to dumbbell bench, or what else should I do to train horizontal pressing instead?  I do strength training as accessory work for MMA.

Edited by Max Spiller
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Alessandro Mainente

hey Max, unfortunately there are many options under a torn pec:

-cold muscles;

-poor mobility that can affect how muscles are engaged during an exercise and how its synergist muscles are engaged. less assistance from synergist means more load for pec;

-bad technique  that is directly related to mobility;

-too much intensity and fatigued muscles;

-bad programming that leads only to partial muscles recovery.

i do not know if you have never evaluated all these parameters if you didn't maybe is the time to find a personal trainer because results talk for them.

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Coach Sommer

So many errors here.  

1) “I didn't warm up before benching”.  :finger:

2) In fact no mention is made of any mobility work being done.

3) “benching 3x a week”.   This frequency is fine when the weights are light, but once weights are heavier more recovery is required.

4) “  I had made a lot of gains on dumbbell bench ... I had just recently started barbell bench”.  Multiple errors here.  You went from dumbbells to barbell with little transition time, did not warm up AND increased your max weight from 180lbs to 225lbs.  

You have been playing russian roulette now for a while.  If it is indeed only a small partial muscle belly tear you are very fortunate it was not much worse.  IMO you are also being overly aggressive with your rehab.  My recommendation is to stop trying to treat yourself and to get in to see a professional physical therapist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

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Matthew Walker

10lbs a session @ 3x a week is a crazy increase in percentage per week. Especially for bench press. I had a goal of a 500lb deadlift once. It took me almost 3 years starting at 135lbs. That comes out to somewhere around 2.5lbs a week on average. And that's for deadlift. For bench most people I know (who are successful) use fractional plates after reaching 1x bodyweight.  

 

 

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Max Spiller

     Alright I'm going to get back to doing the stretch series weekly.  No upper body work until I'm working with a physical therapist.  Thank you for the wake up call and the comprehensive answer.

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Matthew Walker

@Max Spiller probably the best bet. @Coach Sommer and @Alessandro Mainente know their sh*t. I wish I would have found the coaches here and GB sooner. I learned the hard way. Last surgery (I've had 3 so far) in 2 weeks. 

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Max Spiller

Yeah I posted the question to seven different websites and nothing came remotely close to as helpful as this forum.  Sucks that you've had so many surgeries.  There's nothing worse than not being able to train.

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