T Nation

Torn Muscles, Are They Ever the Same?


#1

I had a partial tear in my right pec almost two years ago.

I initially saw an orthopedic guy who confirmed it was a tear in the muscle and rested as he advised for four months before I started doing any chest movements. started back with very light bands.

I eventually got graston done on it a few times and now I foam roll it frequently. but it is not even close to how it was before. weaker and feel vulnerable. hurts and gets weird sensations every now and then. doing dumbbell flies is out of the question, even with very light weights the stretching part feels very uneasy. although cable flies seem to be alright.

has anyone torn a muscle and what was your experience?


#2

You’er going to just have to get over your fear and workout like you want to. Keep some bilateral work going to keep from over loading your strong side. I didn’t do that and wrecked my elbow because of it.


#3

I have no experience with muscle tears. However, I have had some pretty weird injuries due to surgeries. My advice is to not let this get to your head. Train smart, learn how to come back from a pec tear, and trust it will be ok. Worrying about if it will get injured again is gonna fuck with your head, fuck with your training, and get you hurt because you’re compensating in an unnatural way. Do some research, make a plan you trust, and believe in it.


#4

[quote]JRT6 wrote:
You’er going to just have to get over your fear and workout like you want to. Keep some bilateral work going to keep from over loading your strong side. I didn’t do that and wrecked my elbow because of it.[/quote]

I’ve been training it for a while now. sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels off or even some pain. certain exercises seem to be worse than others.

typically dumbbell presses and cable flies feel a lot better than barbell presses or dumbbell flies. so is this just in my head? like the stretch on db flies that use to feel SO good, feels like it is just putting a lot of bad stress on the muscle… if that makes sense. hard to describe the feeling.


#5

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I have no experience with muscle tears. However, I have had some pretty weird injuries due to surgeries. My advice is to not let this get to your head. Train smart, learn how to come back from a pec tear, and trust it will be ok. Worrying about if it will get injured again is gonna fuck with your head, fuck with your training, and get you hurt because you’re compensating in an unnatural way. Do some research, make a plan you trust, and believe in it. [/quote]

well it isn’t as though I haven’t done any research. that is why I made this thread, to get feedback from people who have dealt with it. because I’ve done what the doctors have recommended (rest initially, start back very light, do rotator cuff work, had graston done on it) but I’m coming up on two years sense it happened and I’m still having some problems with it.

it would be nice for it to feel back to ‘normal’ but I’m not sure if that is possible. in the mean time I will continue to work around it and do chest exercises that are the least irritating.


#6

For me regular benching is so lopsided is probably what wrecked my elbow. Close grip is much better but still uneven. I like b weighed pushups on handles and rings rather than dumbbells. Bench machines offer me the only truly even oush but I train mostly in my basement. Cable crossovers probably feel good because pec tears typically shorten the pec tendon after awhile. The crossover type pec dec feels good for me too. Try prepping your shoulders up on something narrow like a yoga block and gold your hands behind your head while b watching tv. Feels great.


#7

Every time you strain a muscle you tear it. Depending on how bad and where the tear occurred can dictate how functional it remains. I had a grade 2 hamstring strain in my right hamstring. Couldn’t walk on it at all. Thought it was completely torn with how bad it hurt. Less than a month later, I hit a deadlift PR.


#8

-Single arm work is probably a great idea. If one side feels “off” its probably not working like the other side. This is how imbalances start. and doing only bilateral work makes it worse. If its been two years, you may be a little off.

-Really get on those rhomboids/lower traps/mid-back area. The mid-back stabilizes the shoulder blades, which control where your arms go. Scarecrows, seated cleans, cuban-presses, blast strap rows, fat-man pullups, etc. The stronger your mid-back, the better you can tuck your elbows, engage your tri’s, and take stress of your pec.

-I’m not a doctor, but IMO after a tear, the muscle is going to be “tight.” In effect, one pec is “shorter” than the other. The bottom of the bench press or fly is where the stretch is greatest. If your one side is tighter that the other, the “bottom” of the lift won’t be same on both side. Max ROM on the injured side is not as long as max ROM on the good side. So, if you can, eliminate the “bottom” of chest moves for awhile till ROM improves. Maybe…

-3 board press, then 2 board press for awhile. Basically, bench press to whatever board still feels “good.” Work the bench press from this board for awhile, then as strength and stability improve, drop a board. You could also use the Sling Shot, or The shoulder Saver Pad, or even a rolled up towel or something to cut the bottom off the bench stroke.

-Chain Flies. Do flies with chains. At the bottom where the stress is greatest the chains pile up on the ground and deload off your chest. As you fly, leverage gets better and you lift more chain. Thank Josh Bryant for this awesome exercise.

-Really focus on your shoulders and tris. Unless you tore the pec in a tramatic, sudden accident, your training is what lead to the injury. You gotta be smarter now. Do you need to do those full range, wide grip bench presses? Maybe some militarty presses, partial close grip benches and cable flies are a better idea.


#9

It wasn’t normal in the first place if you tore it. Did you resolve whatever made you tear it in the first place?

Rest and rehab usually helps. Depending on how it heals, it can be as good or stronger. I had several hamstring pulls and tears for years. Timing of when to bring back stretching, finally ended that. It’s key to stretch but not to early, since it’s been over a year, you can start stretching it. Do it a lot for a few weeks then stop. Wait a week, then do it again. Also, bring blood into the muscle before benching. The routine above looks like it would help but anything, where your bringing a consistent flow of blood in will help it heal as you break up the scar tissue.