T Nation

Sore Pectoral Tendons, What to Do?

Just recently I’ve had pretty severe pain on both my left and right pec where it attaches to the shoulder. I thought maybe it was from too much benching or flies, but in reality I dont do all that much. I do significantly more back work. So today after doing some pushups and feeling some moderate pain, I decided to just go do some lat pulldowns instead. Well, the pain was much worse after that. Then it hit me. I realized what I had been doing differently lately.

I’ve been using lighter weight and doing a full range of motion on the lat pulldown, completely extended arms and scapula, bringing it down to touch my chest. (Something I should have been doing from the beginning). So I guess my pecs were just really tight and are now being stretched, to the point of severe pain. It’s really putting a damper on my chest and shoulder workouts.

What do I do to get through this without injuring myself?

Is the pain more on your pec tendon or biceps tendon?

Definitely the pecs. I get tendonitis in my biceps tendon once in a while also but this is definitely different

It sounds like you are just activating new muscles and ROM that you aren’t currently used to. Try foam rolling the pecs and doing some light stretching to help easy the discomfort and transition into the new ROM.

Hopefully, you took a couple of weeks and aren’t post-op from a ruptured pec major tendon surgery. Pulldowns work the pecs too, just not as much as a bench press or other exercise that targets the chest muscles as a prime mover. If your chest hurts, you shouldn’t do pulldowns (or anything else that works your upper body for at least a couple of weeks. Then start light and be weary of your form).

Pulldowns are dangerous to the shoulders, especially if your shoulders roll forward during the bottom position of the movement or you use poor form in some other fashion. Do them with a chin-up grip (supinated - palms facing you) and pull the bar to the upper/mid chest. Your upper body should be angled slightly back rather than completely upright. Otherwise, you are pinching together the muscles and connective tissues in your shoulder and asking for future injury.

Foam rolling and tennis ball for more concentrated work. Loosen those babies up before it becomes a bigger problem.

Dude your pec tendon attaches at the humurus. You’d feel the pain in the crease of your armit under your anterior delt not in your shoulder. If you’re feeling it at the bony part of your shoulder in front or to the side that’s where your rotator cuff muscles attach.

By forcing a new range of motion you may have created an impingement because you’re too tight to create the necessary “space” for that range of motion.
you should only continue the range of motion as long as the humurus and scapula move together smoothly. Forcing extension beyond that point isn’t a good idea.

Working on mobility/stability with corrective exercise and soft tissue work should go hand in hand with extending range of motion in your main lifts.