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  1. #1
    Registered User Ironwil616's Avatar
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    Torn pec recovery

    I was bench-pressing when I heard a popping/snapping noise, quickly followed by intense pain. I thought I'd suffered a slap-tear, but an MRI showed that I had torn my pec where it attaches to my front deltoid. Surgery was planned and went down a week ago. The surgeon had to reattach 4 torn muscles. That was loads of fon.

    Now I'm looking at 4 weeks in a sling and 4 months of recovery. Once I get the green light from my surgeon, I'm going to modify my training methods to help prevent a recurrence, but in the immediate future I'd like to get other lifters' experiences with this type of injury and surgery so I'll get a better idea of what to expect.
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    Registered User BEhave's Avatar
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    What exactly do you think caused the injury?
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  3. #3
    Strongman TomMutaffis's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ironwil616 View Post
    I was bench-pressing when I heard a popping/snapping noise, quickly followed by intense pain. I thought I'd suffered a slap-tear, but an MRI showed that I had torn my pec where it attaches to my front deltoid. Surgery was planned and went down a week ago. The surgeon had to reattach 4 torn muscles. That was loads of fon.

    Now I'm looking at 4 weeks in a sling and 4 months of recovery. Once I get the green light from my surgeon, I'm going to modify my training methods to help prevent a recurrence, but in the immediate future I'd like to get other lifters' experiences with this type of injury and surgery so I'll get a better idea of what to expect.
    Sorry to hear about the injury.

    I know a number of guys who have torn pecs and you should be able to return to fairly normal overhead work within a few weeks. Other pressing will take longer but if you start off light within a couple of months should be alright do perform incline bench and perhaps other variations.

    Flat bench is something that I would avoid unless you plan to compete in powerlifting, in which case I would only bench equipped (shirted) from now on.

    Follow the advice of your physical therapist and be patient in your recovery.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Ironwil616's Avatar
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    Thanks, it will be 3-4 months before I'm back to normal according to my surgeon, and Im already feeling crappy from lack of exercise. I should be ready for physical therapy in 2 more weeks, but I have no idea what that will be. Why do you recommend ditching the bench press, except when using shirts?
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  5. #5
    Registered User BEhave's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ironwil616 View Post
    Thanks, it will be 3-4 months before I'm back to normal according to my surgeon, and Im already feeling crappy from lack of exercise. I should be ready for physical therapy in 2 more weeks, but I have no idea what that will be. Why do you recommend ditching the bench press, except when using shirts?
    Most pec tears (at least that I have heard of) happen as a result of the flat bench,

    If your just trying to build a bigger chest or build upper body strength, other variations of the bench are fine like incline. but obviously if your competing, you'll need the flat bench
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    Originally Posted by BEhave View Post
    Most pec tears (at least that I have heard of) happen as a result of the flat bench,

    If your just trying to build a bigger chest or build upper body strength, other variations of the bench are fine like incline. but obviously if your competing, you'll need the flat bench
    Maybe he could still bench, but with a closer grip?
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    Gym Diva Barbell_Barbie's Avatar
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    i hope you recover fast

    several years ago i shredded (literally) my right pec.. 5 and a half hours to repair which included pulling muscle from my ribs to kinda "piece together what was left of" my pec.. slings.. time off... i was supposed to get deep tissue massages (lol pervs) and to this day if i have a real intense stretch on my check i get a burning tearing feeling which apparently is scar tissue.. do whatever ur doctor tells u to.. dont rush it.. dont over do it even if you "feel fine" etc .. make sure u are fine first
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  8. #8
    Registered User BEhave's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fmarotte View Post
    Maybe he could still bench, but with a closer grip?
    I didn't say he couldn't bench. He can if he wants to. Nut if he doesn't plan to compete in a powerlifting comp, there is really no point of doing te flat bench
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  9. #9
    Registered User Ironwil616's Avatar
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    Bench press shirts

    OK, it seems that getting a bench shirt to protect my shoulders and chest is a good idea. I have done some reading, and I think a single-ply polyester shirt is the best choice. I've never used a shirt, and need some advice. Can anyone recommend a particular shirt?
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by Ironwil616 View Post
    OK, it seems that getting a bench shirt to protect my shoulders and chest is a good idea. I have done some reading, and I think a single-ply polyester shirt is the best choice. I've never used a shirt, and need some advice. Can anyone recommend a particular shirt?
    Unless you plan on competing ditch the bench press bro. Just use declines and slight inclines. Everyone I have ever know who has torn their pec is from flat barbell benchpress. At least stick to dumbbells if your gonna do flat. Flat bb bp puts that pec tendon under unnecesary strain, declines put alot more stress on the pec.
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  11. #11
    Wickedry ChiefRocka's Avatar
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    Had surgery for a torn pec 8 months ago.

    I actually initially tore the pec almost 3 years ago. I got misdiagnosed by an idiot surgeon, and wound up trying to live with a fully ruptured tendon for over 2 years. I had to travel to Boston to see just about the only doctor that fixes chronic pec tear injuries, Dr. Anthony Schepsis. Best choice I ever made.

    After 8 months I feel good...strong in the gym again, the pec feels much better, looks much better. But I can say that I am still not 100% although I'm getting there. To OP, youre looking at 6 months before you can do semi-rigorous activities, and another 4 months or so before you are 100%. Average recovery time for this injury is 8 months to a year.

    Best advice I can give you is to keep your arm pinned in that sling for at least 5 weeks and don't do SH*T for the first 6 weeks. No leg workouts, no nothing. Just relax. This is a very very unique injury that many doctors fck up, and many people dont heal correctly so be cautious.
    Last edited by ChiefRocka; 06-15-2010 at 01:33 PM.
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  12. #12
    Wickedry ChiefRocka's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TomMutaffis View Post
    I know a number of guys who have torn pecs and you should be able to return to fairly normal overhead work within a few weeks.
    That is pretty foolish of them. That is just asking for trouble. I was lifting baby stuff and doing rubber bands for the first 2 months and struggled with that. After a few weeks I could barely lift my arm by itself over my head, let alone press something. Anyone rushing the recovery is silly, this is a very sensitive injury.

    You can find tons of horror stories online of botched repairs, re-tears and incorrect healing. Giving up 1 year of heavy lifting after surgery is nothing compared to a lifetime of having a well functioning pec.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Ironwil616's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. It sucks to give up on the BB bench press, as it's always been one of my strongest lifts, but it would suck worse to have a chronic injury. I'm going to seriously consider the suggestions to switch to dumbells. Can anyone tell me why incline presses are less stressfull to the shoulders than flat presses?

    My surgeon thought I would be recovered from this in about 4 months. Maybe he just meant recovered enough for day to day things. From other reading I've done and posts here, up to a year seems possible.
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    The Physique Architect str8flexed's Avatar
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    my pec tear was really bad (inside the muscle, not the tendon) and it took me 6 months to get back to really working upper body with any intensity and it took me about 1.5 years to get back all my strength, but it did come back.

    I don't think you need to give up bench, but you should think about really making sure you keep your elbows tucked when you do it
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    Registered User Ironwil616's Avatar
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    Cause of injury

    Originally Posted by BEhave View Post
    What exactly do you think caused the injury?
    I'm thinking that repeated PR attempts on the same day did it, after over-training for awhile. My previous raw BB bench press was 305. That day 310 went up without a hitch, 315 went up (barely), and 320 was where I had the injury occur.
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  16. #16
    Registered User Ironwil616's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by str8flexed View Post
    my pec tear was really bad (inside the muscle, not the tendon) and it took me 6 months to get back to really working upper body with any intensity and it took me about 1.5 years to get back all my strength, but it did come back.

    I don't think you need to give up bench, but you should think about really making sure you keep your elbows tucked when you do it
    Believe me, I do keep the elbows tucked. The heavier weights just won't go up otherwise. I think I just overtrained the previous month and tried too many heavy lifts on a given day.

    As an update, I'm 2 weeks out of surgery, and feeling much better. My right arm still isn't good for much, but I saw my surgeon today and he told me I'm doing really well. I also found out that my pec was completely torn off of the shoulder. I actually have metal screws in my bone now to hold the tendons in place. I was told that while I'll continue to heal for a year or more, I should be back to full capacity in about 6 months.
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    Lightbulb Me too

    Originally Posted by ChiefRocka View Post
    Had surgery for a torn pec 8 months ago.

    I actually initially tore the pec almost 3 years ago. I got misdiagnosed by an idiot surgeon, and wound up trying to live with a fully ruptured tendon for over 2 years. I had to travel to Boston to see just about the only doctor that fixes chronic pec tear injuries, Dr. Anthony Schepsis. Best choice I ever made.

    After 8 months I feel good...strong in the gym again, the pec feels much better, looks much better. But I can say that I am still not 100% although I'm getting there. To OP, youre looking at 6 months before you can do semi-rigorous activities, and another 4 months or so before you are 100%. Average recovery time for this injury is 8 months to a year.

    Best advice I can give you is to keep your arm pinned in that sling for at least 5 weeks and don't do SH*T for the first 6 weeks. No leg workouts, no nothing. Just relax. This is a very very unique injury that many doctors fck up, and many people dont heal correctly so be cautious.
    I tor my pec from my bicep in January. I was misdiagnosed its now 9months later saw a cosmetic surgeon and was told it can't be repaired because it shot back into my chest/pec and calcified mate yours was two years and got it repaired so is there hope for me yet?
    I'd really like you to pm me and see if I can get the same result
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