Pec Tear Update 2016

Here is an update as years of healing has passed from a severe torn pectoral (Severe pectoral muscle belly)  due to flat bench dumb bell presses.  (March 2011)

As you can see in these pictures I will always carry an indentation of this horrible strain/tear. My pressing moves have diminished due to this , and over the years pressing dumb bells or bench press on flat benches are difficult and awkward. However I did gain back a lot of strength but still lacking about 20% of what I used to press. Incline presses I can still do much better and much more weight. On flat bench the muscle rolls to the middle of my chest and I defiantly feel a degree of weakness as my left side favors such. All my other weight routines have not been affected.

When this happened I went to a Sports Doctor because it is prudent to seek a treatment of this nature in the right field.  I had an MRI done to confirm that it was not a tendon tear. As far as Muscle surgeries, there were none offered that would completely heal me back to normal. So here I am still struggling but accepting that this is a fact and I am still able to lift.  I had researched and found that ART Active Release Therapy was my answer when this happened. But it was not. In fact it did nothing. It probably would if I  had a tendon tear.  However I learned too late that If I went immediately to a good message therapist, He or She could have over time worked the muscle scar tissue out and into workable muscle fibers bringing the muscle back together.  This would have not been a complete healing process.  So in other words skipping the time spent in ART and going to deep muscle massage therapy the outcome would have been better. I did do many sessions of deep muscle therapy in the tear area and it helped tremendously. However my therapist told me that if I had come in shortly after the tear they could have worked the muscle fibers closer to bind and mesh verses  the scar tissue that had built up.

I hope that anyone who has a similar tear gets an MRI and determines the best route to recovery. And  you consider therapy as soon as you can. In fact, let a muscle therapist determine when you should start sessions. It may be too soon on your injury to start. So please get a professional opinion.

Good luck and in healing.



Hello everyone. It has been some time since I have posted on my Blog. I am sorry for those following my blog on Blogger for I just got done moving it and closing some Google accounts. I hope that you have found the new web address.  The WordPress one has not changed. I am still in the lifting world. Setting no goals, I have just maintained and in some lifts reduced the amount. I will be turning 47 soon. I do not want to tear anymore muscles or get injured in any way. Though my mind loves the heavy lifting, and I continue to lift hardcore I notice my body talking to me to ease off some days .  I am great full for meeting my goals and sometimes exceeding them. My pectoral tear is still healing to some degree. I do notice being a little stronger. It will never be the same as I accept it and happy to still be able to lift. The imprint of the tear is still there and it is still awkward to do bench or dumb bells but I can still do them.

Today was leg day

315X12 warm up Smith machine
Leg press
Walking Dumbell Lunges

Pec tear update

One of the best gifts I received from my wife was an hour massage from a therapist in town that is recommended.  I have been four times now and this person has done more for helping to restore and heal my torn pec than anyplace else. She can move muscle back into place as she found on out in my upper bicep area that I was unaware of. Since it is back in place my bicep is more proportionate and I have gained strength there as well. I wish that I would have been to this treatment earlier in my injury, but happy to have some needed recovery that is noticeable.  I am able to do dips comfortably< I have not tried weighted ones yet.  Wide grip pull ups are sometimes uncomfortable still.  I would recommend to those who have had a pec tear or other muscle tear to see a massage therapist after you see your sports doctor.   Earlier I went to a chiropractor for Active Release Treatment. (ART). I thought it promising to some degree but the massage therapist is showing results to my severe tear.


I decided to take a week off lifting upper body. I have stepped up cardio workouts. I did do squats yesterday, following with leg presses and FST 7 on the leg extensions to finish off a quality workout.


Power rack squats

1X 315 12 reps warm up

1X 510  10 reps

1X 510  8 reps

1X 495  6 reps

1X 405  10 reps

Leg press

1X  1100 12 reps

1X 1200 10 reps

1X  1200 10 reps

Leg raises

1X 200 12 reps

1X 190  12 reps

1X  170 8 reps

1X  180 10reps

1X 170 10 reps

1X  190 8 reps

1X 180 10 reps

no more than 30 sec rest between leg raises.



Today I will be doing more cardio on the stair climber or step climber as I feel this is good equipment in a more vertical redundant to your body weight pacing your heart rate up in a good manner. Compared to the cross trainer or as some would call “elliptical” you are using more centrifugal  force forward and denying a good quality heart rate elevation.


Pec tear on 3-10-2011

Good luck in your workouts and keep the challenge up.

Torn Pectoral Update

Its has been a year since my severe pectoral tear and I have been able to get back much of my strength but not 100%. I still have the noticeable dimple if I flex the pecs. No pain but some discomfort still when I do dips or flys. I have stopped Active release Treatments and now going to a full hour of massage appointments. The therapist is very good and placed a muscle that was out of place due to this injury.  I am doing follow up appointments. I use a golf ball to roll and drag upon the tear area to loosen up the scar tissue. I am hoping on one more year to full recovery but my expectations aren’t as high.  I was comfortably pressing 150 lb dumbells before this and now I am up to 100 to 110. But it feels uncomfortable and weak and I do not want any more injury. I have been dialing back my heavy weight moves, I just want to continue a life in the gym than injuries that will hinder my routines.   So all of you please train smart and know that you can still challenge yourself over time to make your personal bests.


Active Release Technique, and my torn pec

I have had 4 visits to the doctor for this and it seems to help although not a complete cure for my torn pectoral that I tore in March of this year. The treatments help with my adhesion’s or in another term scar tissue. My tear was about two inches in the mid-belly muscle from what may doctor revealed which is very significant in size and amplifies a longer healing process. I am able to do up to 80 pound dumbells on the flat bench or barbell bench presses however they are very uncomfortable and my left pectoral deforms extremely to the center of my chest. Luckily I am able to do all other lifts normally.  I am going to win this fight and recover to press close to what I was doing. I will give myself 2 yrs to train.  I do miss pressing the heavy stuff very much. I do not know if I am going to continue the A,R,T treatments.  I will keep posted on my road to recovery. I wish there was a surgical procedure for this but there are none. Muscle tissue cannot be sewn,,or it can depending on the injury. But surgery is usually unsuccessful.  In the meantime train strong and smart.

  • Grade 1 strains involve a few torn muscle or tendon fibers. Loss of strength is minimal, and recovery quite manageable.



  • Grade 2 strains involve more torn fibers, some loss of strength, and a longer rehab period.




  • Grade 3 pectoralis strains are rare, painful, debilitating, and can have long-term effects on strength, power, range of motion, and sports performance. In most cases, the muscle will never regain it original strength



  • Severe pain in the chest area
  • Swelling, bruising (may extend into the shoulder and upper arm in severe cases)
  • Loss of strength, particularly when lifting
  • Difficulty in moving the arm across the chest

Initial Treatment

  • Apply ice packs for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for the first 48-72 hours
  • Avoid or limit any activity that causes chest wall pain
  • Get immediate medical attention if the strain is severe. Surgery is usually required for a complete pec rupture
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen may relieve pain. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Comeback Strategy

As in recovering from any other muscle strain, think about returning to training and competition when pain has subsided, strength has been regained, and range of motion is back to normal, regardless of how much time has elapsed.

  • Grade 1 recovery takes a matter of days. You can return to training when the symptoms have disappeared.
  • Grade 2 recovery is a matter of weeks—approximately 2-6.
  • Grade 3 complete tears usually require surgery; full recovery takes months.
  • Cross-train in activities that do not stress the pectoralis muscles (walking, jogging, riding a stationary bicycle, lower body water exercises).
  • Go through each movement required in your sport without pain before resuming training or competition.

Active Release Techniques update

I have had two appointments now with the chiropractor trying the ART active release treatment. I think it is a little too soon to tell of improvement to my torn pectoral injury. He informed me that due to the severity of the tear that ART would not put the muscle back in its original condition but indeed will help overall verses no treatment. I do notice my range of motion in my arm is improving just after the second treatment. I am confident of this therapy.  Breaking up the adhesion’s or scar tissue improves soft muscle tissue repair in the injured area.  Also the training of ART is specific to feeling for adhesion’s.  He found additional adhesion’s I did not know about and he worked those areas as well.  The stretching and kneading of the muscle area is slightly painful but feeling like something is working. I will keep an update in the near future. I feel this is going to be a good treatment decision.

                     Below is a summary of this therapy


What is A.R.T. and how does it work?

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a non-surgical way of diagnosing and treating myofascial adhesion/scar tissue within muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. When soft tissue is injured, it literally “gets sticky”: Filaments of the muscle tissue get bound together, forming dense scar tissue or adhesion’s, restricting blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles. This causes the muscle to become tight and leathery, like a leather belt rather than an elastic rubber band. These adhesion’s impede movement, cause the muscle to become less elastic and less flexible, and may entrap nerves. The “gluing” together of the muscles leads to pain, weakness, and improper function. The pain comes and goes and each flare-up is a little worse. The cycle continues.

Dr. Mike Leahy, the founder of Active Release Techniques, explains more, “The ‘art’ of it all is being able to know where to look for adhesion’s, how to feel for them and how to use active motion of the body part to break them up. Active motion separates this procedure from most other soft-tissue manipulation techniques. To break an adhesion, you actually have to put your thumb and fingers on it and make it move in a way that breaks it away from the tissues.”

During a session, both the doctor and the patient can feel the adhesion break apart. “It kinda hurts,” Leahy says. “But most people describe it as ‘hurts good’. ” The results are usually noticeable within the first few treatments. While some patients need further treatments, many can maintain the improvements with a proper diet, exercise and a stretching/strengthening program.

A.R.T. is not massage. Deep tissue massage, rolfing, and trigger point techniques all use a kneading motion or deep pressure to “smash” the adhesion. A.R.T uses lighter pressure and more friction to “shear” the adhesion. Trying to crush an adhesion can lead to damaging the healthy muscles tissue.. A.R.T. uses more tension and friction to break up adhesion’s in the injured areas of the muscle. For additional information visit

Active Release Technique and my pectoral recovery

Pectoral Tear

This is what my injury looked like in March. Does not look this way today.

After seeing the sports doctor and reviewing my MRI I am still in the healing process of this muscle tear. He is solid in view of at least a year of healing with the realization of a non complete recovery. It has been 3 months now since my injury. I have improved slowly in weight for pressing movement.  However I cannot go and rep or even try over 300lbs on the bench.  I am taking it slow and I am determined to beat this injury.  It has a level of depression when you cannot do what you used to in the bench press or dips or dumbbell presses. When I am doing flat bench dumbbells or any pressing movements I do notice the deformity of my left pectoral muscle. It is not noticeable in normal body movements.  I am able to do all the other heavy lifts so I am grateful for that.  Now that surgery is not an option I am going to try ACT (active release therapy) I have an appointment set up next week and I am looking forward to see if this will help in the healing process. I will paste below the therapy details.  And I will keep you up to date if this works.

 Active Release Treatment

ART is a patented system of soft tissue treatment that is the #1 choice for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash, back pain and other muscle, nerve and joint conditions. It has become the world wide gold standard in the treatment of such conditions. This year at the 25th Ironman Triathlon World Championship over 1000 Active Release Techniques treatments will be given in the week of the race. Why? Because elite athletes know that ART works fast, gets rid of the pain and improves performance.

ART is a procedure that reduces adhesive scar tissue that is formed when the body repairs injuries it suffers because of repetitive motion, bumps, falls, or blows. The formation of adhesive scar tissue in the tendons, ligaments and joints is often the primary culprit in long-term pain. Although muscles get injured most frequently, they also heal more easily on their own. Tendons, ligaments and joints, on the other hand, often take months or years to heal and often stay injured for a lifetime.

Adhesion is the medical term for scar tissue. Scar tissue is abnormal tissue that can form during the healing process. Scar tissue inside the body often connects two parts of the body that are not suppose to be connected, which can result in pain. Dense cohesive adhesions connect two pieces of tissue together tightly, similar to gluing two pieces of wood together. There is no space in-between the two pieces of tissue.

When the tissues of the body are injured the body repairs the damage area by laying down a fibers that surround the affected area; this is adhesive scar tissue. It’s called “adhesive” because the fibers stick to the affected tissue and protect it while the injured tissue heals. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, because the injured party often doesn’t sufficiently rest the affected parts, the adhesive tissue is laid down in a chaotic fashion. The result is that the adhesions are not always laid down in smooth, even layers, and do not follow the direction of muscle action. The fibers thus are laid down against the grain, tightly constrict the tissues, and limit the range of motion. When motion beyond the range is attempted, pain results; avoiding pain therefore requires that one live with much reduced range of motion of the affected parts of the body.

Adhesive scar tissue can lead to pain in virtually any part of the body that’s been injured, including the neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot. If you’ve been told you have tennis or golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis, heel spur, pinched nerves, sciatica, to name a few, then the chances are good that the cause of this pain is adhesive scar tissue.

Healthy soft tissue is healthy, it is smooth and slippery, allowing the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs to move freely and function properly. When adhesions attach to muscles, their ability to work properly is decreased. When you have an adhesion on a nerve, numbness, tingling, or pain result.

Imagine a piece of scotch tape, the smooth side is healthy fascia, the sticky side is scar tissue or unhealthy fascia. Try rubbing both sides of the tape along your skin. The smooth side slips easily across your skin. The sticky side drags across your skin. The drag that you feel, the “pulling” sensation is how an adhesion affects the smooth functioning of your body.

Because Active Release Techniques (ART) is able to resolve chronic injury and pain that have not responded to other forms of therapy, it one of most sought after soft-tissue treatments in the world today, and is widely used on to treat sports-related injuries. Indeed, a variety of Olympic athletes from many countries cite the technique as one of the factors that help them win gold medals

So you have a torn pectoral muscle

I tore my left pectoral muscle on March 10, 2011. As an avid weight lifter, this was very depressing since I was progressing well in pounds of pressing.  This injury happens in various age groups and can range in different severity.  Pec tears most commonly happen with bench pressing, dumbells, and deadlifts. Mine is from heavy dumbells.  I was drop- setting (meaning going from heavy to lighter weights) from the start. I did proper warming up and had a spotter helping start the first repetition and for safety. It was my third set and everything was going well until halfway up it felt like i was hit in the shoulder by a large electrical shock, I didn’t hear any tearing but it felt like my shoulder dislocated. I dropped the weights but unfortunately my spotter had his hand under one of the dumbells and it caught enough to tear his bicep tendon. He has since had surgery. One huge lesson learned and take my advice DO NOT WORK WITH homade dumbells unless they are secure. The dumbells I was working with you could add plates to them and they had plastic shims to hold them tight. I did not have a proper shim to hold the amount I was using which caused the plates to be loose and shift. I was having no problem negotiating this but it turned out that they shifted to an outside of my range of motion helping to cause this injury.
  I went to the emergency room and was in moderate pain.  My pec was enlarged and bruised severely. The doc took x-rays and determined it a strain. He said to take it easy and it will heal in 3 months.

  Here is my advice if you experience this injury. Do not go to your family physician, Do spend  the extra co-pay or what to see a sports medicine doctor they are specialist in this.  He or she will most likely send you for an MRI. MRI’s it was hard to diagnose how severe the injury was. After your MRI you will revisit your doc to determine what is necessary for treatment. Only one tear is reparable and is the complete rupture of the tendon from the shoulder/humerus. This can be surgically reattached to the bone with stable results and recovery. Expect 6 to 8 weeks immobilized and off work depending on what you do.  A muscle belly tear which is what I have is un-surgical due to not successfully suturing muscle together. It was tested using Kessler sutures and combination sutures. However the combination sutures prevailed.  Surgeons do not or will not sew muscle together because it has a high risk if not expected to re tear.  My injury is almost 3 months out and I am able to do limited dumbells up to 80 lbs now and flys. I am able to do my normal weight deadlifts, curls, squats, pull downs, shoulder presses. In reality my doc told me it would take a year to heal. I have some deformation but not much noticeable only if I flex my chest.   Even though you my be limited with pressing moves (you have to be careful with dips, pullups, and flys) it is not the end of the world of lifting for you. Focus and be determined to make your comeback. Take it easy know your limits and get strong again.