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Trouble Recovering from Chest Workouts


I've been lifting for about 2 years now, and ever since i have, when i work out my chest i get a lot of pain for days after. with most muscle groups i am used to aching for possibly the next day (although that isnt often anymore).

I stopped doing chest work about 3 weeks ago, thinking i should just give my chest a little time to recover. I did my first chest day on wednesday and i am still in quite serious pain now, and simply moving my upper body is hard work. i didnt even go really heavy trying to ease my chest back into it.

I did incline bench 5x12 starting with 2 really light sets of around 88lbs working upto 110lbs (which is less than half my personal best.)

Incline flies 5x12 at 22lbs

finishing with 3x12 pushups.

then stretching

obviously not massively taxing or hard to achieve, i really thought i would have no issues with recovery, but it is now sunday and i am worried i am doing something very wrong.

I guess what i am asking is, is this normal or could there be an issue that needs addressing? any help would be great.


Yeah. You are doing 13 sets of chest exercises. Are you balancing that out with 13 sets of back exercises at a comparable load? (If yes, I apologize.) Even so, it seems like way too much chest work. What kind of soft tissue work are you doing for your pecs? You need soft tissue work. Are you getting any of that?


Also, did you have any pain during your workout? If not, you probably don't need to worry about a tear. What you probably have going on is some serious delayed onset muscle soreness. You took three weeks off and then did 13 sets of chest! Of course you are hurting!!!


Ok so basically what you are saying is that i am a steriotypical meathead chasing the pump and doing to much?! And no pain during the workout so its not a tear. I never do any foam rolling or soft tissue work maybe i need to look into it. I'll try reducing the sets on chest and see if that makes a difference.

13 sets to me honestly doesnt sound like a lot, infact i probably work all other parts either the same amount or more... But its my chest that leaves me in pain for days after and always has.


In my opinion, 13 sets is not alot for chest, especially if 3 sets are press ups. How long does it take for you to recover? Are you jumping right in or warming up?


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Well, if you do have a balanced program, then you don't necessarily need to reduce the sets of chest (although personally I would never do that much)... it's just that if you take 3 weeks off, you should expect a ton of DOMS with that many sets. So if you decide to take some time off again, ease back into it, don't go all in right away.


Personally, I like doing chest like this- 2 warm-ups and 2 work-sets fore each angle. Angles would be flat, decline/dip, and incline. After the warm-up sets, there's the work set which is heavy (8-10 reps going almost to failure), and the second work set light (15-20 reps almost to failure). So total number of sets is 12, but only half of those are work sets, but intense work sets.

A lot of times I'm done in 20-30 minutes. It's not as short as "Heavy Duty" but it's stimulating to the muscles as long as you go CLOSE to failure on those work sets. You shouldn't feel over-tained from this, besides it's always good to change your routine. If you're used to high volume, try low volume for a while and you'll get gains that you haven't seen in a while.


Thanks for the replies guys.

To answer questions... yeah i always warm up, usually something like 10 mins on the xtrainer, but then my first 3 sets are generally warm up sets leading to 2 heavier "working sets"

Generally my chest always takes 4 days to fully recover, and its kinda ruining the rest of my training because i really dont think i can work as hard when my chest is hurting (tears i know)...

i think i am going to try giving less sets a shot and see where that gets me. I'll try doing 2 warm up sets with 1 heavey work set I'll keep the weight really light but for high reps on warm up sets then push for a heavey working set at a substantial weight but shooting for no more than 8reps (8 being failure), but doing this i am gonna have to add a flat bench to it to as i will be done in no time at all. Also going to try adding more rest after sets, i hate resting for longer than 1min between sets (kinda feel like i am wimping out or something).

As far as soft tissue work goes would getting my Mrs to massage my chest do ok? Honestly witout meaning to insult anyone, using a foam roller kinda seems a little ummm not manly to me, but then again so does bitching about sore pecs i guess...