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  1. #1
    Trainer of Champions EME's Avatar
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    12 Months Since my Pec Tear - The Year in Pictures

    Hey Everyone,

    This Wednesday will mark 1 year since the full tear of my left pec and the surgery to repair and reattach it.

    It's been quite a year. I was unable to do any signficant training from last December until late June, and then I've spent the past 5-6 months gradually gaining back my size and strength and healing up.

    With the year anniversary approaching this week, I've decided to post some pics to show the changes that I've gone through over the past 12 months.

    First, here's a recap of the injury pics and a little background:

    The first picture was taken about a month before the tear. I was in the last weeks of my 2005 mass building phase when the tear occurred.



    The next picture was taken over the 3 days following the tear.
    The bruising actually became much worse. By the time of my surgery on the 19th, my entire bicep, armpit, and chest was black, blue, purple, and green from the bruising and bleeding.



    The final picture was taken the night of my surgery, after returning home.



    cont..

    - EME
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  2. #2
    Trainer of Champions EME's Avatar
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    Part II.

    Here is a picture showing exactly where on the muscle that my tear occurred.




    This should give you an idea of the incision size ( 3-4 inches ) and the surgical process that I went through.



    Here is an excellent diagram showing exactly what happened in my case:



    Here are a couple pics taken about 10 days Post Op when the bandages came off. I was already down about 15 lbs at this point.





    cont..

    - EME
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  3. #3
    Trainer of Champions EME's Avatar
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    Part III.

    cont..

    Below is a pic taken at about 6 weeks post op.

    I was down about 20 lbs at this point, and you can really see the overall atrophy, and especially the atrophy on the left side.



    At 6 weeks post op I started physical theraphy, and for the next 4 weeks I went twice per week to begin working on range of motion and stretching of the repaired tendon.

    I finished physical therapy in March, and for the next 12 weeks I was allowed to do only cardio and some very, very light machine and dumbbell work.

    In June, I was finally released to begin full training again.

    Here is how things looked after 6 months of no significant training or resistance work with the left side of my upper body. ( Yikes! )

    I was down about 35 pounds here.



    The pictures below document my progress since being able to return to the gym.

    These pictures were taken after being back in the weight room for two weeks:



    - EME

    cont..
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  4. #4
    Trainer of Champions EME's Avatar
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    Part IV

    cont..


    This pic was taken after being back on the weights for 4 weeks:



    These shots were taken after 7 weeks back in the gym:





    The pics immediately below were taken in August

    The pic below that shows my progression up to that point,






    cont...
    Last edited by EME; 12-10-2006 at 05:33 PM.
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  5. #5
    Trainer of Champions EME's Avatar
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    Part V

    Below are my most recent pictures.
    The pictures below were taken about 4 weeks ago. My weight was back up to 192 at that time.









    Finally, here's a quick pic taken yesterday weighing right at 201-202 lbs.
    ( Yes, I definitely need a tan. )



    My goal is to finish up my mass building phase and hit 215 by Mid February and then begin cutting for a return to the stage this summer.

    I hope these pics help to show that with dedication and the right attitude you can come back from any setback. I'm still not 100% yet, but things are progessing well, and I look forward to returning to the stage next year.

    Thanks!

    - EME
    Last edited by EME; 12-10-2006 at 04:56 PM.
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    Good to see you back in the game, you look to have made an awesome recovery.
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    excellent work !
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    now thats a picture thread, haha
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    glad to see that you didnt give up, and nice progress coming back into lifting
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    great recov..keep up the good work!
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    Thumbs up Excellent thread!

    Thanx so much for walking us through your pec tear and comeback...Extremely informative and interesting...The fact that you have been able to bounce back so quickly is a testament to your determination and dedication to the sport we love....congratulations on your comeback and good luck on all your future endeavors! Repped.
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    Lots of hard work and dedication in those pictures. Bet the depression set in when you couldn't work out and watched yourself whittle away early on. Goes to show it does get better and in that last picture you look bigger than you did a year ago. Nice log~!
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    now that is dedication and determination! good luck with the return.
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    Awesome coverage of the pec tear! Enjoyed the thread. I see that your an Oklahoman, might hit you up for some training tips..Reps to you bro
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    wow man thats definitley a setback but you have shown some real passion coming back so strong. That pic during the surgery really shows the severity of the tear. I really am impressed and thank you for sharing.
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    Thanks for all the support guys,

    LiftThatWeight, I tore my pec doing flat dumbbell presses with 100's.

    I was on my third set.. I had done 10 with 65's, 10 with 85's, and was on about my 6th rep with the 100's. I was feeling very strong and my form was good.

    Half way up on the 6th rep... I felt the tendon start ripping... I could feel and hear it rip away from the bone, and then Wham, a pop, and my pec just rolled up in my chest.. down came the weight.. and that was it. We were off to the ER.

    I had done sets of 6 with the 115's the week before with no problem, so I don't think it was necessarily the amount of weight.

    However, a few months before I had strained the tendon in the same spot doing incline bench. I quit doing bench alltogether after that, and backed my weights way off for a couple months.. and everything seemed to be fine.

    Over the two months leading up to the tear, I had been increasing my weights again, and this was just my second workout back to using the 100's.

    I had moved up from about 75 lb dumbbells for sets of 6-10 to 115's for 6+ in about 6 weeks.

    Basically, I think it comes down to the fact that my muscle could handle more weight than my tendon could. Also, looking back I realize I didn't do all my normal stretching that day becasue the gym was busy and I was trying to get a bench... bad mistake. I warmed up some.. just not enough.

    Moral of the story......take the time to stretch and warm up properly.....we all need to do more of this. Also, be careful when moving up in weight quickly. Your muscles grow and adapt faster than your tendons do. When you rapidly increase your training weights, even if the muscle can do the weight, the tendon may be a weak link.

    In fact, if the muscle had not been able to lift the weight, this probably would not have occurred. The weight would have just sat on my chest.. it was the fact that the chest muscle could contract hard enough to lift the weight, but the tendon couldn't keep up that did it.

    - EME




    Originally Posted by LiftThatWeight View Post
    Great job on the recovery but please tell me how your tear occured
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    Oh man, that's brutal. Hope you take it easy bro. Excellent work, keep it going my freind.
    I seem to receive alot of P.M's on nutrition advice, training & among other general subjects, please give me time to reply, I don't mind answering your questions, thanks! Ladies and Gents.


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    michael, i am so glad you are making a good recovery, man I am so deathly afraid of a tear... i'm glad that you are going to be hitting the stage again!
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    great work bro. i had been in a similar situation this past year. i hit nothing but troubles. I had a minor stroke, a torn tricep and a broken hand. i'm just now getting back to standards.
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    Awesome job Michael! The dedication and hard work you put in during your recovery to today is incredible!!
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    Wow, that had to have taken some serious determination. If I ever teared my pec like that, I'd be petrified to do any chest work, you've got heart.
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    Way to go man. Great job
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    Originally Posted by str8flexed
    man I am so deathly afraid of a tear...
    lol im sure we all are now after seeing this! scary how they can just happen out of nowhere and the consequences are harsh... but at the same time u really cant fear it, an athlete, football player e.t.c can tear their hamstring any day of the week with one single step, it happens that easily.. you just gotta hope it doesnt!

    good luck with recovery looks like its going well now
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    Now im scared to do dumbbell flys lol.. how and why did it tear ?
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    Thumbs up Good Luck To You and Thanks!

    Originally Posted by EME View Post
    Thanks for all the support guys,

    LiftThatWeight, I tore my pec doing flat dumbbell presses with 100's.

    I was on my third set.. I had done 10 with 65's, 10 with 85's, and was on about my 6th rep with the 100's. I was feeling very strong and my form was good.

    Half way up on the 6th rep... I felt the tendon start ripping... I could feel and hear it rip away from the bone, and then Wham, a pop, and my pec just rolled up in my chest.. down came the weight.. and that was it. We were off to the ER.

    I had done sets of 6 with the 115's the week before with no problem, so I don't think it was necessarily the amount of weight.

    However, a few months before I had strained the tendon in the same spot doing incline bench. I quit doing bench alltogether after that, and backed my weights way off for a couple months.. and everything seemed to be fine.

    Over the two months leading up to the tear, I had been increasing my weights again, and this was just my second workout back to using the 100's.

    I had moved up from about 75 lb dumbbells for sets of 6-10 to 115's for 6+ in about 6 weeks.

    Basically, I think it comes down to the fact that my muscle could handle more weight than my tendon could. Also, looking back I realize I didn't do all my normal stretching that day becasue the gym was busy and I was trying to get a bench... bad mistake. I warmed up some.. just not enough.

    Moral of the story......take the time to stretch and warm up properly.....we all need to do more of this. Also, be careful when moving up in weight quickly. Your muscles grow and adapt faster than your tendons do. When you rapidly increase your training weights, even if the muscle can do the weight, the tendon may be a weak link.

    In fact, if the muscle had not been able to lift the weight, this probably would not have occurred. The weight would have just sat on my chest.. it was the fact that the chest muscle could contract hard enough to lift the weight, but the tendon couldn't keep up that did it.

    - EME
    EME,

    Great post!

    I am glad to see you back with the weights and with your determination. That determination has come through on this thread and you should be commended for the research that went into this.

    I am also glad that you are pointing out something that I myself learned over the past 18 months of lifting. That is the issue with the muscles and tendons. I have had several issues with muscles being able to lift much more wight than my tendons and ligaments could handle also. Although I did not sustain any injury near to what you did, several injuries kept me from working a particular body part of up to 6 weeks.

    Again, thanks for the great post and the best to you!
    Height: 6'1"
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    Bigger, stronger, better.............
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    Registered User kennny d's Avatar
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    thanks for sharing, good luck on getting back on the ball so to speak.. Hearing your story is definately gonna make me stretch/warm up more strenuously than I am now
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    Anyone else cringe when reading that description of the pec tearing... OUCH
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  28. #28
    Gorilla Muscle KarateChris's Avatar
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    Glad to see you're back Michael! You seem to have recovered quite well from the tear (thankfully). It's been a long time in coming, but you've shown resilience (I wouldn't have expected anything less though). To come back from such an injury takes a lot of heart. Good luck with the rest of your mass building and hopefully you can stay injury free! Keep us all posted of your progress. Later.
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  29. #29
    Trainer of Champions EME's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    Thanks again for all the support. I hope the info in this thread can help others learn more about what happens with an injury of this type, and even more importantly, I hope it can help prevent it from happening to someone else.

    To anyone else out there who is possibly going through this now, hang in there because you can get through it. Be smart and do what your doctor tells you to do.

    12 months after the tear, I still only workout with about 135 - 155 lbs on the bench and incline bench ( Less than half of what I used to use ). However, despite the low weights, my chest is still growing and recovering very well.
    One thing about it, you can't let your ego get in the way when you are trying to come back from this kind of injury.

    The first month or so that I was back in the gym, I was bench pressing with only the bar, and doing dumbbell shoulder presses with the 10 lb chrome dumbbells. If had been worried about what other people thought and tried to use more weight before I was ready, I'm sure I wouldn't be where I am now in my recovery.

    Thanks again guys, and I hope this does help.

    Layne and Chris, great to see you guys. Looking forward to seeing you in March at the Arnold Layne, if not before!

    - EME
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    Michael, you definitely set an amazing example with your positive attitude, your determination, and your patience in overcoming what is, for any bodybuilder, a nightmarish ordeal. Unfortunately, a large percentage of bodybuilders will at some point suffer a major injury, it's just the nature of the beast, and an inspirational comeback story like this is great to see.
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