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Thread: My Pec Tear and Repair: Finer Details, Post Repair, Etc.

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    High Desert Bill is offline New Member
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    Post My Pec Tear and Repair: Finer Details, Post Repair, Etc.

    Hello! I am writing this in the hopes that I can help someone else who has torn their pec, or may be on their way to.

    HOW I TORE

    I tore in June of 2012, while doing flat bench. Weight was 225, second set, 6th rep, had a spotter. I was 44 years old.

    Due to my inconsistency for the previous two years (nightmarish family court issues), my work set weight on bench dropped from 245-255 down to 225. 6 reps was my number to drop the weight...if I couldn't do 6, then I had to take weight off. I was VERY stubborn about losing those two plates on each side (STUPID) so I decided that NO MATTER WHAT, I was getting two work sets of 6 each.

    I hung there halfway up, telling the spotter not to touch the bar, willing the bar to move, then flared my elbows, and BANG my left side exploded. It felt like my shoulder went out of the socket. The spotter caught the bar, saving my rib cage.

    My left pec immediately slumped toward the middle of my chest, and became swollen quickly after. That evening, I noticed the blood under the skin of my left arm.

    TREATMENT

    Without insurance, I went to the ER in my small CA town a few days later. I was told there that I had possibly pulled something, but that there was nothing more to be done. They declined to do an MRI when I requested it.

    I saw my GP a week later, he said basically the same thing. No one I saw at this point had any real idea of how serious my injury was, or even seemed to care.

    Fast-forward to 2014...I tore my right distal bicep tendon (non-gym related). This hurt too badly to work. I immediately researched the hell out of it, saw the local OS here in my town, he told me that I didn't NEED MY BICEP, and that he was recommending against surgery. This was AFTER I told him that I could not run my small business like this. I had insurance by now.

    I whined to my nurse friend, she said I needed to get to a “SAFETY NET” hospital...there are certain hospitals here in CA with this designation, many are teaching hospitals. I went to the ER of one of these hospitals...this was nearly a month after the tear...the OS there asked “Where have you been??” They performed a modern endo-button repair, my right bicep is now 100%. The KEY was stressing to them that I could not work.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PEC???

    Last year in April, I was disgusted that I had not gotten my pec repaired. I had bad cramping issues that would get worse if I didn't lift at all, which affected my business (I work with my hands) . I was lifting, but with much less weight, the bar was wobbly, and my left side looked horrible. So...I devised a plan. I went to the same Safety Net teaching hospital, and explained how I had injured myself “3 weeks earlier”, and “could not work”, because of it. Well, three weeks is apparently around the cutoff point...looking back, I should have said 10 days...the longer you tell them you waited, the less severe they feel the injury is affecting you. Regardless, I finally made it to the Orthopedic Dept and spoke with the surgeons there, and they agreed to do the repair! If I was said it was nearly 4 years ago, I would have been SOL. They did a great repair, and amazingly, didn't need to use an allograft.

    TRAINING CHEST POST REPAIR

    Bench:

    After careful rehab and ROM exercises, I was finally cleared to begin push-ups.

    Later on, I began benching again, BUT with several differences:

    --25 lbs plate under my rear, to create a slight decline...this keeps the bar lower on my chest, further from the shoulders.

    --Elbows IN

    --Narrower grip

    --MUCH less weight, and higher reps...between 13 and 16 reps per work set, only two work sets.

    --Bar not touching chest...stopping about 4” away. I got to 185 lbs with these modifications.

    TRAINING CHEST NOW

    Bench:

    (Basically, the same as above, except the bar touches my chest...I was getting weird development by not going all the way down, I dropped the weight down to make up for that change)

    --25 lbs plate under my rear, to create a slight decline...this keeps the bar lower on my chest, further from the shoulders.

    --Elbows IN

    --Narrower grip

    --MUCH less weight, and higher reps...between 13 and 16 reps per work set, and only two work sets.

    --Bar touches chest...nothing beats that feeling. I dropped to 155 for this, and now (today) I got to 162.5 lbs for my work sets, and it feels great. I've been moving up 2.5 lbs per week, but don't know how far I will take it...I'm 50 now, and not trying to break records.

    Dips:

    --No added weight. Medium width, leaning fwd, slow and careful. Right now, 15-17 reps.

    Decline Bench:

    --One set, same 13-16 reps.

    Cable crosses:

    --One set, 13-16 reps

    WHAT I LEARNED

    --My pec tear was 100% my fault. I had horrible form, weakened tendons from time off, and a hardheaded attitude about the weight on the bar.

    --Pec tears really suck and really affect your life, even for a hobbiest lifter like me.

    --Small town hospitals don't see this very often, or ever. Go to a big hospital in the city. Teaching hospitals are more pro-repair, if that is your desire.

    --You must be willing to fight to get the proper care and surgery, and lie if you have to. Get your story straight before you see anyone, and if you waited more than a week, DON'T TELL THEM THAT. You want a strong sense of urgency, and if you're 100% sure that want the surgery like I was, you need to clearly communicate that without it, you will be going on disability. “I cannot work!” are the magic words. Let them know you have done your research, and understand the repair techniques.


    Feel free to ask questions, comment, criticize, whatever

    -Bill
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My Pec Tear and Repair: Finer Details, Post Repair, Etc.-pectear.jpg  
    Last edited by High Desert Bill; 09-15-2017 at 06:04 PM.

  2. #2
    The Deadlifting Dog's Avatar
    The Deadlifting Dog is offline Knowledgeable Member
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    I just want to say thank you for this wonderful write-up

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    swalleezy's Avatar
    swalleezy is offline New Member
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    Very sorry to hear about that injury. I was very lucky with my lower back trying to deadlift too heavy after return from layoff a few months ago. Kudos on your perseverance, courage , and positive attitude.

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    High Desert Bill is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deadlifting Dog View Post
    I just want to say thank you for this wonderful write-up
    You're very welcome!

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    High Desert Bill is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by swalleezy View Post
    Very sorry to hear about that injury. I was very lucky with my lower back trying to deadlift too heavy after return from layoff a few months ago. Kudos on your perseverance, courage , and positive attitude.
    Thank you! And the best toward your lower back recovery.

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    kelkel's Avatar
    kelkel is offline HRT Specialist ~ AR-Hall of Famer ~ No Source Checks
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    What the guys said above. Really is a great write up.
    -*- NO SOURCE CHECKS -*-

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    High Desert Bill is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelkel View Post
    What the guys said above. Really is a great write up.
    Right on Kel, glad I could contribute

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