T Nation

Small Tear in Chest?

So my weights on the incline bench are finally starting to get decent. I did incline last Thursday and on my top set I felt an unusual pull in the outer part of the middle of chest. I can’t really think of a good way to describe it other than an slightly painful stabbing pain.

It shouldn’t be anything major because there was no inflammation or pain/soreness noticeable in the area the next day and this Monday I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do flat bench but was still able to set a PR and had almost no pain.

I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the rapid increase in strength I’ve seen in the past few weeks and my connective tissue needing to catch up (Flat from 235x5 to 255x5 and Incline 205x5 to 230x5 in 4 weeks).

Also, now that I think about it, I’m definitely not stretching my chest as much as I should. I figure I should just start focusing more on stretching and go lighter on incline for a bit, which annoys the hell out of me considering my bench press has never progressed so rapidly.

Anyone else have experience with this??

Anyone who has not experienced anything like that hasn’t been training long. Are you ramping up in weight? There is a reason we do that.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Anyone who has not experienced anything like that hasn’t been training long. Are you ramping up in weight? There is a reason we do that.[/quote]

Yep, I’ve been using CT’s 5 rep style of ramping and it is doing WONDERS for my pressing. When I get to that top set I feel mentally “on” and ready to go as well as my muscles and joints feeling nice and warmed up.

Here’s what that ramp looked like:

45x25, 45x25, 95x5, 135x5, 175x5, 195x5, 230x5 = ouch and stopped exercise, otherwise would have continued with like 185x12, 165x15 then moved on.

Is this something I’m just going to have to deal with from time to time? I really feel like I’ve adequately warmed up by the time I get to that top set. I previously never used to ramp and I attribute a lot of this new rapid increase in strength to starting to do this.

[quote]kingbeef323 wrote:
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do flat bench but was still able to set a PR and had almost no pain.
[/quote]

No worries. :wink:

Slight muscle pulls are bound to happen from time to time. I would also advocate your idea of stretching more.

[quote]kingbeef323 wrote:
So my weights on the incline bench are finally starting to get decent. I did incline last Thursday and on my top set I felt an unusual pull in the outer part of the middle of chest. I can’t really think of a good way to describe it other than an slightly painful stabbing pain.

It shouldn’t be anything major because there was no inflammation or pain/soreness noticeable in the area the next day and this Monday I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do flat bench but was still able to set a PR and had almost no pain.

I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the rapid increase in strength I’ve seen in the past few weeks and my connective tissue needing to catch up (Flat from 235x5 to 255x5 and Incline 205x5 to 230x5 in 4 weeks).

Also, now that I think about it, I’m definitely not stretching my chest as much as I should. I figure I should just start focusing more on stretching and go lighter on incline for a bit, which annoys the hell out of me considering my bench press has never progressed so rapidly.

Anyone else have experience with this??[/quote]

Had something like that on weighted dips.

I can’t say for sure if I tore something or not, I did notice my pecs being slightly asymmetrical afterwards, but that may just be coincidence.

Just be smart. You probably hit the nail on the head when you said your strength/muscle is progressing faster than your tendons.

I feel like you ramp your weight up by a lot each set.

Ive had a few tears, one in my chest, other in my hamstring, usually its really minor so i think they are nothing and then i hit a heavy set the following week and actually turn them into something to worry about.

I usually get them using machines, when i am doing too many reps, and when my body fat is really low.

Just remember to treat it as a sensitive spot, let it heal…because it is a weak spot now more or less until it heals.

Had something like that happen recently, just took it easy for a few days and it healed up.

Not sure about the stretching, doesen’t really feel right to do it before heavy weights. I usually stretch wherever I have DOMS instinctively outside the gym, but not really with prehab in mind.

[quote]kingbeef323 wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Anyone who has not experienced anything like that hasn’t been training long. Are you ramping up in weight? There is a reason we do that.

Yep, I’ve been using CT’s 5 rep style of ramping and it is doing WONDERS for my pressing. When I get to that top set I feel mentally “on” and ready to go as well as my muscles and joints feeling nice and warmed up.

Here’s what that ramp looked like:

45x25, 45x25, 95x5, 135x5, 175x5, 195x5, 230x5 = ouch and stopped exercise, otherwise would have continued with like 185x12, 165x15 then moved on.

Is this something I’m just going to have to deal with from time to time? I really feel like I’ve adequately warmed up by the time I get to that top set. I previously never used to ramp and I attribute a lot of this new rapid increase in strength to starting to do this.[/quote]

Yes, it is something you will have to deal with until you learn where your own body’s limits are at. My biceps development (even though they got some size to them) has sucked over the past 4-5 years because of pain issues on one arm when curling. It took me several years to finally figure out I needed to fatigue my brachioradialis before I could lift heavy.

Lifting weights is about learning your own body…and anyone afraid of pushing those limits (WITHIN REASON) is never going to reach their full potential.

You may be fine the next time you do that exact same weight.

However, your assumption that your muscles may be growing faster than your tendons can keep up with is more than likely correct. That doesn’t mean you slow down growth. It means when you hit a bump like this, you let the muscle rest and try again when it no longer hurts. If it continues to hurt, THAT is when you make changes.

Your body has to constantly adapt if you are doing what you are supposed to do in the gym.