Do I have a Minor Pec Tear? Do I have a Minor Pec Tear?

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Thread: Do I have a Minor Pec Tear?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default Do I have a Minor Pec Tear?

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    About 4 weeks ago I was doing 3x5x185 @ 150 with bench. I did warmup sets but no other warmup. On the last rep of the 3rd set I felt a tearing feeling in my right pec. Since then there has been on and off a sharp burning in my armpit. Trying pullups felt funny because it felt like it was getting stretched too hard at the bottom. There was and is no noticeable bruising or swelling that I can tell. However, and this may have been the case before this and I just haven't noticed it, but it feels like there is a small (like end of finger sized) divot about an inch from the crease of my armpit. It feels sorta like that on the other side but not as deep, so I'm guessing I'm just worrying about it and finding non-existent problems.

    I say on/off pain because I waited about a week and tried to see how benching felt again. Worked up through warmups and they felt fine. Did a set with a little narrower grip and didn't feel pain. Moved grip out some and about halfway through it just felt weird (twinge-y I guess) so I stopped. Took about a week and a half off and tried benching again. I did warmups up to a 135 for 10 and it felt pretty much ok. Then I tried 165 and it felt weird on the first rep so I racked it.

    A few days later I did 3x25s for about three days in a row (light weight, 70 lbs. being the most) and then it actually starting feeling worse the next day so I stopped. However, I felt NOTHING at all in the pec while doing it.

    Now today, Now the sharp burning in my armpit is a little more noticeable but it isn't terrible. Still no bruising or swelling. Also, I had been trying to OH press to not completely detrain but a few days after I had tried doing heavy sets again (where I did one set and stopped) it started to be fairly noticeable so I'm not even pressing now.

    What do you recommend? Isn't Starr for muscle belly tears? My inclination is to think this is a grade 2 tendon strain or a really stubborn grade 1.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    If you feel a defect, it is probably a tear. Pec tears are bad because the defect acts as a crease for more tearing to start from. Presses should be no problem in the long run.

    How tall are you?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    I'm 5'4", just finishing up novice progression.

    I don't know if there is really a defect or not. I want to think that I'm embellishing/making it up because I'm pretty certain there isn't a defect visible to the eye. Like I said, there isn't/hasn't been a noticeable dimple, any bruising and there isn't any major weakness. The next week when it was feeling better and I tried to bench again I got 190 for 4 so at that point it had reduced my bench strength by 10-15 lbs. max. (going off estimates of course, 3x5x185 being equivalent to 1x5x195).

    By OH pressing not being a problem in the long run, do you mean it is contraindicated now, or that with the exception of extreme layback the OH press can't really hurt the pec enough for me to stop pressing right now? If I can I'd rather keep pressing, I broke from the program on my failed bench day and worked up to a 150 single on the press and would hate to lose that in the short term.

    I've heard the pec tendon area is poorly vascularized so what do you recommend I do? Starr rehab? Like I mentioned, it doesn't really even hurt unless I go past I guess the 155-165 range, and I thought Starr rehab was supposed to hurt (sign of retraining the tissue) and was for muscle bellies...

    What kind of doc should evaluate this, if any? I can't afford an MRI as I just had one earlier this year for something else. If I had seen bruising or had heard a tearing or popping sound while I was doing it I would have called my doc right then to see if I needed it fixed, but with it the way it is now? nope.

  4. #4
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    North Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertdawson View Post
    I'm 5'4", just finishing up novice progression.
    But you've been posting on this board for years, multiple accounts, SgtMattBaker, etc. Look, here's what you said: it feels like there is a small (like end of finger sized) divot about an inch from the crease of my armpit. This indicates a defect. If it's a tendon, it won't respond like muscle belly, so the 3 sets of 25 won't work well, especially when you run it up too fast, get tired, lose position, and tear it more. I don't think you eat enough, and I don't think you'd better push the issue. Unless it is an avulsion, you won't find a surgeon to mess with this. So back off -- you seem to be comfortable doing so -- let it heal, and go on from there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    52

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    Yeah, I've been injured over and over again so I've never made it past novice. It's taken far too long, but I finally made it past novice for squat and deadlift stuff. I've been 2 weeks into TM and I can do around 360 1rm squat and about 415 deadlift (which I guess doesn't really count because I use straps on the heaviest set).

    Anyway, I guess I'll lay off pullups and benching for another month or so and get back to pressing. I thought it was strange that I felt something when OH pressing but I can't see how the exercise can use any more than pec minor.

    I guess I'll know when it's healed up by going back later and working up through gradually heavier sets like I tried recently? Thanks.

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