T Nation

Armpit Strain


I don't know what this is but a month or so ago I got this feeling at my left armpit that felt like the muscle was sort of strained. It wasn't bad so I mostly ignored it, and figured it was from putting incline DB flyes first on one of my workouts with a pretty deep stretch. Well I haven't done more than 2 sets of flyes for about 3-4 weeks and it's still there, a little worse than before.

I've been foam rolling it every night for about a week now, I can't say it's helping too much. Mainly it hurts when benching or doing curls. Any ideas/thoughts? It just seems like something thats not likely to go away on its own and is only going to get worse.




  • could be pec major or minor, biceps, or some of the rotator cuff muscles, sub-scapularis or infra-spinatis, if it's towards the anterior aspect of the armpit.
  • it could also be lats or terres minor if posterior, but thats unlikely if you think its from chest flies.

these are all muscles that have tendons that go through the armpit. i would guess that a minor strain of the pec major would heal it's self by 3 or 4 weeks, if your used to stressing and recovering the muscle (working out) effectively.

however, if your not used to a good stretch on the short head of the biceps, which crosses to the front of the scapula (at the coracoid process). that strain could last along time, same with the rotator cuff muscles.

at this point visiting a doctor is probably a good idea, I'm not sure if ice and rest will still be effective, you should have done that the first day you noticed the pain. try focusing on lower body work for a week or two and see if it goes away.

there is a wealth of info on here and efs about shoulder pain, as dave tate and some others have seriously messed up shoulder joints.

can you do any prehab/rehab exercises without pain?


Its definitely more anterior. It's hard to tell exactly which muscle it is since there is discomfort both during curls as well as flyes and benching. It doesn't feel like shoulder pain at all just something tight at the armpit area.

I can do prehab/rehab exercises without pain. Honestly its not even that bad right now, just umcomfortable and feels like it may get worse if I keep doing what I'm doing. Any suggestions for prehab/rehab work for this issue in particular? The only thing I really do like that now is foam rolling it once per day for the last week and a half or so, and for the last year or so I've done a set of 15 external rotations, internal rotations and back rotations (not sure the actual name) for both shoulders before any benching.


Was doing incline bench today, on the 2nd set 3rd and 4th rep it felt like it was crunching/grinding. Had to stop the set. At the end of the workout I couldn't even do flyes with 20's.

Shoulder pressing and the rest of my workout was OK but it looks like I'm not going to be able to work chest for awhile. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I guess it's something with my pec not my biceps cause I could still do curls with about the same feeling.