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Coach, Should I Ditch Bench Press? (Pec Strain Again)

Coach this seems to be a recurring thing for me. 2 or 3 times a year I suffer a pec strain/pull.

  1. It usually happens on bench press but recently also happened on dips. Whenever I go heavy around 5 rep max.

  2. I don’t want to give up the exercise altogether but also don’t want to end up completely tearing my chest and be really down for good…

  3. The last resort I want to try is reading about super high reps to strengthen tendons and prevent future muscle injuries.

Maybe sets of 50 on bench and incline with light weight to heal and prevent injury.

  1. I also read about the STARR rehab method which is similar to this and is doing sets of 25 a few days after the tear to prevent scar tissue and promote faster healing…

Any advice will be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thank you!

You could try floor presses with either bar or dbs. Similar exercise but lower stretch and lower risk.

Most every pec tear I have seen, or been told, happened on the bench press with weight over 400lbs. One exception was a guy who was strong in most every exercise but the bench press. He torn his pec doing 315lbs on the bench press.

In my early 30’s when I was on the quest for a 500lb bench press, I felt a pec strain in my left pec doing the third rep with 415lbs. Because my real goal was in bodybuilding competitions, I abandoned my big bench quest. For the next few months my heavy chest exercise was incline barbell press for sets of 8 reps.

You have had a couple warnings. Proceed with caution…


I’ll probably give up regular flat bench. Thanks

Many professional bodybuilders claim that bench press is an overrated exercise for developing pectoral muscles, which is why they replaced it with an incline bench press and a horizontal chest press on a machine. For example, Dorian Yates did this.