T Nation

Continuing with 5/3/1 with a Potential Pec Tear


Hey Jim!

I have been running the 5/3/1 for Powerlifters version of 5/3/1 since December. I am in the deload week of the cycle that incorporates working up to 85%, 92.5%, and 95% of meet goals for singles in the big 3. I was planning to do my very first meet this April 11th.

Long story short, dips on shoulder press day last week tuesday were done on a different than normal station which necessitated a wider grip which led to some pops in my left pec, no abnormal pain in the following day. Bench session this past Sunday left my pec in pain and excessively swollen and tender, no bruising or bleeding. Had military presses yesterday, could vertically press pain free, tried close grip benches with my arms tucked in so much they touched my lungs, but couldn't do a single rep with 135 without intense pain. Went to the doctor today and they told me I may have potentially tore the muscle, but the lack of bruising/bleeding is good and the ability to vertically press demonstrates healthy rom so no tendon/ligament damage in the shoulder, they prescribed 1-2 sessions of physical therapy for 3-4 weeks upon which I'd be reassessed. Legs/back/bi/anything that doesn't use that pec has the doc's ok.

I'm 20, doc said that should help with recovery. Supplementing with fish oil and wholesome foods.

My question is, how should I structure my bench day? Should I continue with 5/3/1 for powerlifters as is with the bench day replaced by another overhead press day, or an alternative movement/mobility/conditioning that day?

Thanks for reading and any help/insight you may have!


Train with pressing movement you can do. I wasn't able to bench prior to one of the meets I did - had a tear similar to your but it bled out and turned entire side of my body black and then yellow. I set a PR at the meet. Further proof you have to be strong mentally and strong shoulders.

So train what is trainable and you will be fine. Take your time and be patient as recovery, no matter how many times you inject saline or take fish oil, isn't going to change that much. It needs to heal.