T Nation

How Common are Pec Tears?

Hi,

Just wanted to get some feedback on how common pec tears are in reality? Dante for example advises against using the flat bench for anything but high reps and it seems reading biographical stuff by powerlifters a lot of them have torn their pecs. Are they unlikely if you are staying at 5 rep max or above?

I did a heavy cycle and gained like 20lbs in a few weeks… Then Powa! I had a left pec injury… it wasn’t even alot of weight for me… BUT that much growth in a such a short time I was asking for something to happen… anyway… 4th or 5th rep on a 10rep working set… Riiiipp. :frowning: game over.

taking your grip closer together could probably help.

I had a slight pec injury about a month ago. I’m not sure if it was a tear or not, but I did not do any horizontal pressing for a month and a half about. I recently started incorporating floor press and partial presses. I will only go heavy on those because I don’t see the value in hurting myself again.

[quote]FROGGBUSTER wrote:
taking your grip closer together could probably help.[/quote]

yup. im now benching with index knuckles against the smooth part of the bar. bench #'s will go down for most initially, but its nothing a few months or so wont sort out. id rather set my max back a few months to ensure long term progress

I’ve had a pec injury too…it was from being careless…I mean I woudl never do it again…I was benching a FEW times a week, heavy and lots of volume…I know I was getting tired physically and mentally from it…especially since my sleep wasnt too good.
I think mine was juts a pec STRAIN though, but man for a month when I would swing my arms I would juts feel something wrong with my left pec.
I don’t even wanna know what it’d be like to get a pec tear…all i know is
Get rest - I’ll repeat that GET REST
Eat what you need to eat, get that shit in you.
Monitor volume and intensity of benching
If something don’t feel right…your not a pussy, call it a day.

I wonder if the powerlifters get it cause they wear the bench shirts and well…the bench shirt helps quite a bit with the bottom portion of the bench press but their lockout strengh must be solid.
When they go raw they bring the bar down but the shirt isn’t there and perhaps not used to that much weight and the muscles havent been built up to that level and that’s why a tear occurs.
It’s just an opinon
I don’t think doing 5’s or 3’s RM’s will hurt as long as you lower overall volume if your doing high intensity.
At the same time make sure your throughly warmed up.
That’s all I got lol

Ive been benching two times a week for about 6 months heavy one day and speed the other, mind you i don’t go full ROM every workout, but I’ve never had a pec strain or tear. I think with a sufficient warm up before a bench day you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Just my two cents.

I have had two or three partial tears. One time I just had soem bruising and tenderness, but no swelling, so it may have been a tear or it may not. But twice, they were pretty damn clearly pec tears. I even heard the “pop” one time. Pec tears are a function of benching heavy weight raw full-range as well as technique and hand placement. Raw, I am strongest with a maximum legal grip. Unfortunately, that also predisposes me to pec tears.

The good news is that partial tears- typically in mid-belly, kind of near your armpit- heal up pretty fast. With my tears, I laid off benching for a week or two, then came back using a shirt for board presses for a couple weeks. Within a coupel weeks of the tear I started doign a lot of very light DB presses (10 or 15 lb bells) and evetually some flies. This is largely done by feel- if it hurts, stop what you’re doing. Within 30 days, I was back to normal.

I also used a baseball or even just my fingers to dig around in the muscle to try and bust up the scar tissue. Pec tears seem to leave a very noticable lump in the tissue. That lump will predispose you to more tears near the scar tissue. After a month or so, I was able to work the knot away.

[quote]rasturai wrote:
I wonder if the powerlifters get it cause they wear the bench shirts and well…the bench shirt helps quite a bit with the bottom portion of the bench press but their lockout strengh must be solid.
When they go raw they bring the bar down but the shirt isn’t there and perhaps not used to that much weight and the muscles havent been built up to that level and that’s why a tear occurs.
It’s just an opinon
I don’t think doing 5’s or 3’s RM’s will hurt as long as you lower overall volume if your doing high intensity.
At the same time make sure your throughly warmed up.
That’s all I got lol[/quote]

It’s funny you mention that about reps. My first pec tear happened on the last rep of a heavy triple.

I’m curious about where everyones arms were when the tear / strains occured. How flaired were your arms when they occured?
Nearly everyone I’ve heard of that tore a pec had their elbows way out as if trying to do a flye with the barbell.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:
I’m curious about where everyones arms were when the tear / strains occured. How flaired were your arms when they occured?
Nearly everyone I’ve heard of that tore a pec had their elbows way out as if trying to do a flye with the barbell. [/quote]

I use a fairly low groove for raw bench. My raw benches probably would not pass in IPF (touch below the xyphoid process). In fact my raw goove and my shirted groover are pretty close. It just seems to bring my upper back into the movement a lot better.

I hate to ask the question, but are you drug-assisted or not? Unfortunately this changes everything about the occurance obviously.

mine too. I just feel stronger there and I feel I engage more muscles to complete the lift. So far-thank the Lord- I haven’t pulled or torn anything.

Well I had what was called a Pectoralis Major Tendon Tear. So my muscle didnt tear instead the tendon that connects my pec major to the bone tore. HURT LIKE A MOTHER FUCKER! Funny enough i didnt tear mine lifting i did it wrestling! Major cause in mine i think was a couple factors. Dehydrated and muscular fatigue being the two biggest though.

My doctors told me is really hard to tear that tendon and was shocked to see it…I dunno. Alls i know was it left me with a surgery that kept my arm strapped to my chest for six weeks, disability for 4mnths, put on like 30pds i’m still trying to get rid of, and i had to start weight training and grappling kinda from scratch again.

sorry i couldnt help more cause i dont totally know why it tore. Of course most of the doctors i saw had ever really seen one either. as a matter of fact i did a QandA with a these doctors and interns cause they were all excited about my injury. I just wanted the thing fixed. They told me not to lift anymore but i said fuck that and have been fine for a little over a year and have been lifting heavy. Even got my bench up to 375 raw.

So if your question is how common are pec tears I would say minor ones happen but major ones are pretty rare considering how many people out there lift. I can say that sinse the injury i am much better at listening to my body if you know what i mean. your body lets you know when somethings not right people just dont listen to it.

most people who tear flare elbows, which is why some tuck them

[quote]blackngrey609 wrote:
Well I had what was called a Pectoralis Major Tendon Tear. So my muscle didnt tear instead the tendon that connects my pec major to the bone tore. HURT LIKE A MOTHER FUCKER! Funny enough i didnt tear mine lifting i did it wrestling! Major cause in mine i think was a couple factors. Dehydrated and muscular fatigue being the two biggest though.
My doctors told me is really hard to tear that tendon and was shocked to see it…I dunno. Alls i know was it left me with a surgery that kept my arm strapped to my chest for six weeks, disability for 4mnths, put on like 30pds i’m still trying to get rid of, and i had to start weight training and grappling kinda from scratch again. [/quote]

Apparently 9999 times out of 10000 doctors only see pec tears as a result of weightlifting. People don’t tear it playing football.

[quote]banco wrote:
blackngrey609 wrote:
Well I had what was called a Pectoralis Major Tendon Tear. So my muscle didnt tear instead the tendon that connects my pec major to the bone tore. HURT LIKE A MOTHER FUCKER! Funny enough i didnt tear mine lifting i did it wrestling! Major cause in mine i think was a couple factors. Dehydrated and muscular fatigue being the two biggest though.
My doctors told me is really hard to tear that tendon and was shocked to see it…I dunno. Alls i know was it left me with a surgery that kept my arm strapped to my chest for six weeks, disability for 4mnths, put on like 30pds i’m still trying to get rid of, and i had to start weight training and grappling kinda from scratch again.

Apparently 9999 times out of 10000 doctors only see pec tears as a result of weightlifting. People don’t tear it playing football.

[/quote]

Well it can be teared as well through an arm bar…if the arm is torqued to the side, and then down…that causes a pec tear first, and then an arm break.

funny i was in a kamura