T Nation

Ab Tear Recovery

I’ve just been put in my university powerlifting squad, and upped the training intensity and the weights quite a bit.

Doing a no belt, no suit box-squat with bands last Sunday, going for my second max single, I got a massive stabbing pain in my lower abs about 4 inches up off the box. I finished the lift, but the burning/stabbing pain lasted a minute or two. I moved on to the assistance exercises with no recurrence of it, but the next day it was still quite painful.

The doctor said it is probably a muscle tear, not a full hernia, due to excessive strain It may take 6 weeks to heal properly, and until then I mustn’t strain too much. Max bench training yesterday was fine, but dynamic squat session is coming up tomorrow…

Unless it’s very serious, stopping squats/deads completely is out of the question. So I’m thinking I should just squat 3 or 5 rep maxes, which are much less strain and abdominal pressure than max singles?

Also, should I do extra ab work to strengthen the weak area (I’m assuming it was weak abs that caused it)? Or should I rest my abs to let them heal?

If its your honest advice that I stop squats or cause myself serious injury, I will, but that means off the squad til next year, and I’ve worked like a bitch to get on it.


I understand the desire to push through it to remain on the squad, but if you don’t rest and let the injury heal it could turn into a hernia which would really set you back. I had a similar injury and I had to back off for about two months. I then started training light. I swallowed my pride for a while, looked like a fool, and wore a belt through my entire workout. Yes, I was a guy doing pullups with a belt. If I had it to do over I would look into a tight fitting back brace.

Now I work abs like my life depends on it. I also wear a belt for my max effort lifts. There are many people that claim you don’t get a strong core by using a belt and how they would never consider using them. But you can’t be strong with a back or ab injury. Get one of the powerlifting belts if you decide to go that route. The bodybuilding belts have way to much flex to them and do very little to protect your abs.

Take some time off and worry about your health long term. You don’t want to do something to end your lifting career.

Good luck