T Nation

Minimizing Post-Surgical Atrophy

I originally posted this in the Injuries and Rehab sub-forum, but because there’s not nearly as much traffic over there, hopefully Thibs can offer some insight.

I ruptured my pec yesterday (confirmed by the best orthopedic surgeon in Austin). I have my MRI scheduled for tomorrow, so we don’t yet know whether the tendon tore from the humerus or whether the muscle tore from the tendon. Regardless, the road to recovery is going to be long and arduous. I’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that I could rehabilitating my chest for months if not years. My surgery is scheduled for Monday.

I’ve worked so hard to put on the mass that I have now, and I want to minimize the atrophy as much as possible.

I’ve already bought Biotest BCAAs and Creatine to try to limit the atrophy through supplements. I plan to train my lower body as much as possible without putting any stress on my chest (leg extensions, standing leg curls, body weight lunges, body weight squats, eventually moving onto Smith machine squats, safety bar squats, squats with a Manta Ray). Upper body training isn’t really an option generally until at least 8 weeks after surgery when I’m scheduled to start my physical therapy. I might attempt to do some unilateral work with my non-injured side insofar as it puts NO stress on my wound. I will not take ANY risk of rupturing it again.

I’ve accepted atrophy will happen. How can I minimize it?

How should I adjust my diet? I’m carrying about 18-20% body fat right now and had just started my summer vanity diet when I tore my pec. Should I keep my Calories high, adding a bit of fat to try to keep mass, or should I take this opportunity to try to lose some unwanted body fat since I’m going to be dropping weight anyway?

Can anyone recommend any other exercises that I haven’t mentioned that I can perform while recovering?

Here’s the big one, and what I need to most input with. I will be in an immobilizing brace for upwards of 6 weeks after surgery. Should I ask my doctor is he will prescribe me testosterone or another anabolic to combat the catabolism? If my doctor will not prescribe test, should I seek alternative means of acquiring steroids to combat the muscle loss? If you do not recommend anabolics, are there any Biotest products that would be especially effective in combating atrophy?

I appreciate any feedback anyone can offer. Thank you.

What about trying some lowerback Hyperextensions i’m unsure how much pressure that places on upper body since you are resting heavily on your abs/pelvis, what about if you just got some 1-5kg dumbbells and done very slow exercises with the muscles that arent pushing to keep the muscle active and blood flowing actively in those regions.

Unsure about the test side of things but i’m sure it will help muscle recovery

In the Livespills a lot has been said about superloading MAG-10 (4-5+ servings/day) during periods of sickness and injury (also works well for traveling frequently.)

I’ve heard great things about superloading MAG-10. Would love to here input from a Biotest rep.

Post over in Ask Chris, CS can provide input there.

Posted over in Ask Chris. Great idea, thanks!

I dropped you some info in Ask Chris.