Human Growth Hormone KEY Ingrediants


I have been making my own HGH (human growth hormone) by buying the KEY ingredients of GABA (Gamma-aminoburtyric-acid) 750MG a day mixed with Alpa GPC 600 MG a day. I am stronger and active in my opinion since starting this. Don’t buy into spending allot of money on the supplements that DO say HGH on them. Just look at the KEY ingredients and buy them seperatly it is so much cheaper and you can test yourself on the amount that works for you.  I have been cycling with DHEA 100 days on 30 off.  The supplement world is so huge now that the flashy label sell more than it helps you. So if you are going to supplement and need to “stack” something I recommend going on EBay  (you get EBay bucks too) or Puritans Pride, LuckyVitimins or whomever you do business with and buy to your knowledge of the KEY ingredients to set up your stack. This takes some time and research by way of looking at many labels of many different supplements. When you go into a supplement store you notice separate supplements and you also see the “special” ones for certain goals. Do some research sometimes it is way cheaper to buy the Key ingredients. The HGH advertized ones have your Key ingredients and other “crap” that you do not need.  Also those supplements may not have the amount your looking for. But sometimes they are on a real good sale. So again do some studying and blend the KEY ingredients to your needs.

Have a good Holiday season


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.

Why Deadlift?


What Is The Deadlift?


Simply put the deadlift is a weight training exercise where you lift a weight (barbell, trapbar, dumbell, stone, keg, sandbag, etc) off the ground starting in a bent-over position and ending in an upright position. It is one of the three basic powerlifting lifts, and is arguably the greatest muscle building and strength producing exercise you can do. It is personall y my favorite lift.


Muscle Worked

The Deadlift is considered a compound movement, meaning it involves movement at several joints thus working several muscle groups. The deadlift could be said to work the entire body (ever look at someone deadlifting, are there any muscles not flexing?), but it does give more stimulus to certain groups of muscles. The primary muscles worked in this lift are the hamstrings, gluteals, quadriceps, trapezius, and the psoas. All the other major muscles in your body are used in stabilization.

Benefits Of Deadlifting

  1. Efficiency, Maximum Muscle, Minimum Movement
  2. Arguably the greatest strength builder out there.
  3. Great exercise for injury prevention, strong backs and hamstrings provide protection against many injuries.
  4. Bragging rights. So few people actually deadlift anymore that you will quickly become stronger than most people you know.
  5. Builds confidence. It feels amazing to know you can lift a heavy weight of the  floor. Strange but true.
  6. Requires very little space.(Good if you workout in a small room or cluttered basement)
  7. Doesn’t require any fancy equipment.
  8. Strenght built from deadlifting translates to many other exercises.
  9. Greater Energy. I know this would seem to be a unlikely benefit from a strength movement, but a stronger body is a more energetic body.
  10. A great cardiovascular workout! What? It’s true. Doing deadlifts in a high repetition fashion is an amazing cardiovascular exercise. Don’t believe me? Try doing 3 set of 20 repetitions with a moderately heavy weight(moderately heavy for you). If you’re not huffing and puffing like you just ran 10 sprints I’ll eat my words.

Tips On Technique

When bending down to grasp the bar you should keep the following points in mind:

  • Look straight ahead or slighty up.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Squat down till your legs are slightly above parallel.
  • Will vary, but torso should be roughly 45 degrees to your thighs.
  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Arms slightly outside your knees.
  • Bar should be around 2″ (give or take according to your biomechanics) in front of your shins.

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.


Everything You Wanted to Know About Bench Shirts


Found this artical and would like to share with you.

Written by Jeff Behar
 What Exactly is a “Bench Shirt” and How Does It Work?

A bench shirt is a stiff supportive shirt, used to improve performance in the bench press, most often in power lifting competitions to increase their 1 rep max. The bench shirt is basically artificial shoulders and pectoral (chest). The shirt resists the bench press movement (like compressing a powerful spring) thereby giving a boost off the chest.

History of the Bench Shirt

Originally the attire for powerlifting was similar to that for Olympic lifting. Lifters had the option of wearing a one-piece lifting suit, called a singlet, or a two piece one made up of a tee shirt or tank top and a pair of shorts. Knee and wrist wraps were allowed in the form of ace bandages. Additionally, a belt no wider than 4″ could be used. However, at the 1968 AAU Senior Nationals there was significant controversy over lifters wearing multiple layers of trunks and wraps to aid their lifts. Soon, special squatting and support shorts turned up that helped when lifting. In 1973, the National Weightlifting Committee banned these supportive suits and all other supportive lifting gear other than a belt. These rules continued until 1974 when the IPF came into existence.

Bench shirts were originally brought to the market as a protective device, much like a lifting belt, knee wraps, etc. The  “Bench Shirt” came into existence in 1983, when a college student and powerlifter named John Inzer started making shirts that supported benchers’ shoulders and deltoids. The original shirts were a tight polyester material that helped protect the shoulders and pectorals during heavy benching, such as during a competition. Word spread that the bench shirt not only prevented injuries but also actually helped bounce the weight off your chest.

Gear use is currently widespread in powerlifting with more federations offering equipped lifting than unequipped.

What Can A Shirt Add to Your Lift?

Bench shirts can add approximately 10%-15% for a low quality shirt or perhaps as much as 20%, 30%+ to your single paused legal bench press with a good Inzer, Karin or Titan shirt after you learn how to use your shirt. Learning how to use the shirt, choosing a shirt that fits correctly, and choosing a shirt that fits your lifting technique is the key to getting the most out of your shirt. Some lifters depending on the equipment rules have gotten even higher percentages (45%-50%) from a bench shirt. Failure to use the shirt correctly, choosing a shirt that does not fit your technique can sometimes result in hurting your 1 rep max and having a lift that is less than a “raw” or unassisted (no shirt) lift.

Superheavyweight Ryan Kennelly, benched 1070 pounds (476.3 kg) on 4/13/08 at the APA West Coast Iron Wars held in Kennewick, Washington using a bench shirt. It is said that his “raw” max is less than 700 pounds. 

The heaviest bench press without any equipment to assist is held by Scot Mendelson with a lift of 715 lbs (324.3 kg)

Rules Governing Bench Shirts

Different power lifting federations have different rules governing allowed equipment – for example:

·           The only supportive equipment allowed by the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation for bench press is a leather belt.

·           The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) stipulates that support shirts must be “of one ply stretch material”.

·           The American Powerlifting Federation (APF) is the most popular powerlifting Federation in the World doesn’t only allows single ply, and closed back shirts.

·           The United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF) only allows single ply, and closed back shirts.

·           The American Powerlifting Association (APA) only allows open back shirts, and 2 ply gear. However, the APA also keeps limitations on the gear like no canvas, no shirts pulled down past the shoulders, etc.

·           The USA Powerlifting (USAPL) allows single ply equipment.

·           The World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters (WABDL) allows single or double ply, poly or denim, but the neck must be closed.

·           The World Natural Powerlifting Federation (WNPF) allows single or double ply, poly or denim, open or closed back, but no canvas.

Prevalence of Use

While the use of bench shirts has always been hotly debated, it is a fact that the majority of lifters use them. In particular, the vast majority of elite and famous lifters use some form of bench shirt. For instance the current bench press record Ryan Kennelly (1070 pounds (476.3 kg) on 4/13/08), as well as legend Scot Mendelson (1008 lb (457.5 kg) 2/18/06) have made amazing poundage’s using the bench shirt.

Types of Bench Shirts

In the beginning, there was only one type of bench shirt available. Now, Bench press shirts come in a wide range of styles and fitting types. Bench shirts are usually made of polyester, denim, or canvas and come in single- or multi-ply thicknesses. The two most popular types are the polyester and the denim bench press shirt. Kennely has made some of his largest lifts using a Inzer double Rage-X, and or an Inzer double denim.

An important point to note, each shirt, as well as the brand changes the way in which weight is lifted. Therefore practicing in a shirt to identify which brand, type works best for your style of lifting is essential.

Single Ply vs. Multiple Ply

This is a simple concept that improved shirts by leaps and bounds. A single ply shirt is just that, one layer of poly or denim sewn into a shirt. A double has two layers in critical areas; a triple ply has three layers of material in critical areas. The thicker the shirt, the more resistance is given, and the more additional power the bencher has available. Most polyester shirts these days are double ply, and double ply is essentially a standard in denim shirts and canvas shirts, as the extra layer prevents ripping of the material under extreme loads.

Polyester (Poly) Shirts

·           One of the first designs on the market.

·           Polyester bench press shirts are by far the most popular type of shirt being used by benchers and world record holders today.

·           Polyester bench press shirts are tight fitting shirts made with 1 or 2 layers of polyester.

·           There are three main types of polyester bench press shirts today. They are:

o   Shirts using the same (or similar) type of fabric throughout the whole shirt. These types of shirts are extremely tight and hard to get on. It usually requires 3 people to get one on.

o   Shirts which has the back split open (either permanently, or the backs may fasten up with Velcro). This type of shirt gives the lifter a bit more flexibility when they’re not lifting.

o   Shirts with a thin, “stretchy” material on the back (said to be created to get around “no open back” rules by some of the federations, such as the USAPL and APF.

·           The shirt is made in such a way, that the fabric of the shirt needs to be stretched when the bencher is holding the bar and moving it downwards. When the bencher pushes the bar back up, the fabric is relaxed.

·           In general, the sleeves of the shirt are angled in such a way as to require stretching the fabric to move the arms toward the chest when holding the bar, such that the stretch of the shirt adds to the force a lifter’s muscles can provide.

·           The additional benching power of the poly shirt comes from the stretching of the shirt material and the compression of the lifter’s body.

·           This power can make it difficult to make the bar touch the chest. For advanced lifters, thicker shirts built from multiple layers of material can make touching the bar even more difficult. The multiple layers do add additional resistance, and therefore power to the shirt.

·           Several manufacturers make poly shirts in many different designs. Some shirts are made entirely of the same material throughout, others have a different material for the back of the shirt, and still other have the back of the shirt split open and fastened with Velcro, or even left completely open.

Wearing the Poly Shirt

·           Poly shirts must fit the wearer very tight and can be extremely uncomfortable.

·           If a poly shirt doesn’t hurt, it is much too loose.

·           Poly shirts are known to chaff, cut and bruise the underarms severely.

·           Therefore many beginners might opt to try a looser fitting shirt, like denim, first.

·           They can be very difficult to get on.

·           Shirts made entirely from one type of material with a fully closed back are especially difficult, and may require several helpers to place the shirt on the lifter.

·           Shirts with Velcro backs, stretchy back material, and completely open backs have become much more common simply because they are easier to get on the lifter.

·           All poly shirts must be pulled up the lifter’s arms as far as possible first.

·           It is always important to make certain the shirt is straight. If the sleeve is twisted, it can very negatively affect a lift (seams t can be used as an indicator of straightness and positioning of the shirt).

·           Once the shirt is in position on the arms, the shirt must be pulled over the head (or pulled around the shoulders for an open back model), and  pulled down the torso, with all of the wrinkles worked out of the fabric. If the shirt is a Velcro design, the Velcro should now be fastened.

·           Once this is done the seams around the deltoid and under the armpit should be checked to ensure that they are still straight.  If not they should again be readjusted.

·           If the shirt is tight fitting like it is designed to be worn it can take as much as 15-25 minutes to get the shirt ready for the lifter.

Using the Poly Shirt

Like with any shirt type, each type and brand of poly shirt has its own unique characteristics. Some like the Titan Fury, or the open back version of Inzer’s Phenom, seem to work best in a low groove where the bar touches below the pecs (chest).  People that  bench high on the chest, seem to favor shirts like the Inzer Blast Shirts. It is important to recognize that not only do shirts fit differently for different people, but each individual shirt has its own unique groove, which must be learned in order to achieve maximum performance. For example, the Inzer EHPHD Blast Shirt tends to drive the bar path over the lifter’s face. The lifter has to compensate for this by purposely forcing the bar path lower.

Denim Shirts

·           A denim bench press shirt is similar in shape to a polyester shirt, and works in the same principal.

·           The denim must be stretched in order for the weight to be brought down to the chest.

·           Denim shirts provide more support than poly shirts because denim is less flexible than polyester.

·           Denim shirts are considered to be the top of the line.

·           The denim shirt creates its power by twisting and straining the fabric, and by compressing the lifter’s body.

·           Denim shirts do not work for everyone because the material and the way it is put the benchers body is under an enormous amount of pressure.

·           The shirts are also not the choice for many because for the denim bench press shirt to work effectively, the bencher must use perfect technique. If the technique is not 100% correct, the increase will be negligible (the bencher may even bomb on a weight that they could lift raw).

·           They can be purchased with single to triple reinforcement, with Velcro, etc.  Prices typically range from $40 for single ply to $200 for triple reinforcement.

Wearing a Denim Shirt

·           Because denim is less flexible than polyester, a denim bench press shirt does not have to be worn as tight as a polyester shirt.

·           Most denim shirts have at least a mostly split back, making them significantly easier to put on.

·           Completely open back denim shirts are easy to wear. Just slip up the arms, and tug into place.

Using the Denim Shirt

·           Because of the tightness of the fabric, the denim shirt can support much more weight than a comparable poly shirt. The stress placed on a lifter’s body by a denim shirt can be severe. In many cases, a lifter will not be able to even touch the bar to his or her chest with weight he or she could bench without the shirt.

·           In general, denim shirts perform best when used in a low groove.

·           Open back denim shirts work best when the bar is actually touched on the lifter’s stomach.

·           A denim shirt does require a great deal of very refined technique to use properly; therefore it takes a lot of practice and should not be used by beginners in powerlifting meets without sufficient prior experience using the shirt.

·           Because precise technique is of paramount importance, even skilled lifters can miss lifts that they have hit before because of technique. Technique is paramount.

Canvas Shirts

·           There are also shirts made of canvas.

·           Canvas bench shirts work on basically the same principle as denim shirts.

·           They are said to be even more supportive than denim.

·           They can be purchased with single to triple reinforcement, with Velcro, etc.  Prices typically range from $40 for single ply to $200 for triple reinforcement.

Availability and Cost

Today’s shirts are highly evolved, purpose built garments designed with the intent of lifting more weight.

There are now several companies selling bench shirts, offering varying levels of shirts, in various materials, various plys, ranging in price from less than $40 to well over $200.

Do You Want A Big Bench Press?

Then you’re probably determined to get one. It’s that same determination that will be your struggle. The more you want it, the harder you want to work and the longer you want to stay in the gym. This is going to lead to overtraining which will stunt any strength gains you’ve made and delay any dreams of an even bigger bench.

How do you know if you’re at risk of overtraining? If you feel run down after a workout, notice that you aren’t making any gains, you always do forced reps, you’re not getting enough rest, your diet stinks, you have a bad attitude or you aren’t motivated you’re probably overtraining. Insomnia is another big sign. Put it this way, if a weight continually feels heavier than normal, chances are you haven’t gotten weaker, you just haven’t recovered from previous workouts.

There are three distinct stages of metabolism. The first is a state of equilibrium easily described as the fully recovered state where energy is neither being depleted and tissue is not being damaged or repaired. The second stage is catabolism. Catabolism is the stage you are in during a workout. Energy is being depleted and muscle tissue is being damaged. Your goals should be to keep catabolism in the gym, but many people that overtrain keep this stage going long after their workouts end and lose hard-earned muscle tissue to help the recovery.

Finally the stage that usually doesn’t get much of a chance to kick in before we’re back in the gym for another session. The third stage is anabolism where energy is restored and tissue damage is being repaired. So after you lift you want to heal and reach a state of homeostasis,but instead many of us are back in the gym tearing our muscles and using energy when we haven’t even let the muscle fully recover from the previous workout. Never lift a muscle group that is still sore. I know it’s difficult but sometimes more isn’t better.

There is always the urge to overtrain thinking that if we just work harder the gains will come. How do we resist the urge? First off lets think, quality not quantity. If you lift each muscle group only once a week and spend less than 1 hr in the gym you’re on the right path. Although you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the gym the time spent must be intense.

Every single exercise and rep should be performed with a passion and you will accomplish more in 45 minutes than most people do in two hours. If you are truly pushing yourself you should be exhausted at the end of the workout. After tearing your body apart, do you think it’s going to be ready to do it again in two to three days? I think not, try at least a week.

So all you benchers out there if you’re lifting heavy, workout after workout make sure that the reason you hit a plateau is not that you are trying too often. Let your body recover, heal, and grow before you start ripping it up again. When you hit each body part several times a week you don’t really try as hard because you know you’ll get another shot at it in a week. When you only lift each body part once per week you develop a sense of urgency.

You know you better lift hard because you won’t get another chance to train it again for a week. Then as the week passes by you find yourself looking forward to your next chest day. Anyone that thinks they might be overtraining take a couple of days off and go back to the gym revived and motivated with the determination to train smarter and harder.

Mike Westerdal is the President of Critical Bench, Inc. He earned his BS from Central CT State University and holds certification as a personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise. Westerdal also has experience coaching and playing professional football. His articles are published throughout the Web and in numerous weight lifting magazines including Monster Muscle. His best RAW bench press is currently 450 lbs. He is the author of the Critical Bench Program which can be found at

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas season and have your gift shopping done and gym memberships up to date.  I have been backing off the real heavy lifting and sticking with the moderate poundage for gains.  I have met my goals in weight and since my pec tear injury I have decided to back off a little.  I am still keeping my size for almost 46 yrs old and satisfied. BUT I am going to try and cut a little in the mid section.  My deadlifts a squats have always been heavy with gains in the hips and my wifes good cooking shows how well I like to eat!.  Thats the hard part for me is a diet and cardio which is fundamental to leaning out in those areas.  We have a new bodybuilding season coming up.  I do not know if I am going to do any shows.  Right now I am just having fun lifting weights and changing up my routines and using different approaches to building muscle.  I am looking forward to the upcoming powerlifting season. The new year will unleash a new round of up and coming powerlifters both men and women.  North port Chad Walker (shw) from North Port Barbell Squatted 1080, benched 750 and deadlifted 800lbs at the SPF Outlaws meet in Tampa, Florida. His 2630 total will move him up to #4 (Mp) tied
on powerlifting watch (current) lifter rankings.
Here is the footage of his lifts.

Suzanne Prusnek, ranked #5 in the 165 pound womens raw, and #3 in the womens Masters, brought home two gold medals, the 1st place trophy in the womens raw masters, and a second place trophy in the raw open womens division. She set three new world records for her weight class and age division, and broke two American records for her weight class and age. At 55 years old, she was the oldest woman in the competition. Here are some of her lifts:

These are just a few of the athlete’s and are sure to succeed in added achievements.  I have been following Kameron Ross here in my area he is an up and coming powerlifter with a wealth of determination.  I am confident he will go far in this sport.

Everyone have a good and safe holiday season.


Pectoral tear update and photos

Hello all

In march 2011 I suffered a severe pectoral tear. & months now its still healing. Its severity and at 46 yrs old it is taking a very long time. My sports doc said about a full year of healing. I have been slowly improving on bench press. I have had a really good chest workout on Tuesday 9-27-2011. I did a good 225 3 sets for 10 reps on the Smith machine. And 3 sets of 310 for reps on the incline Pec machine. I have been careful to press dumbbells and free weight bench pressing. I can do it but it is still awkward. I have improved on the pec deck as well. I am feeling confident I will beat this injury and keep improving my presses. To those out there with the same injury do not feel down, you can recover and get your lifts back in order. Just be patient. I know the frustrations of once being able to do heavy presses. Just remember to be thankful you are back in the gym and able to do a workout. When I had this injury I did not feel it coming I was actually on my 3rd rep of heavy dumbbells and drop setting meaning I started with a heavier weight. The problem was I was not smart at it. I was using home made dumbbells which are fine if used properly. It was a dumbbell handle able to add 10 lb weights or whatever you wanted and you used polyurethane spacers to keep the plates tight to each other. I did not have the proper spacing nor were the spacers available for the weight I wanted making the plates shift and unstable but I felt OK negotiating this.. Big mistake. I think when I was on the press up the weights shifted enough to cause my arm to go outside and that’s when it happened. So please train smart!.

As you can see in the pics at a normal rest stance you can see the deformation slightly it does appear in the photo but in real time it is really not noticeable. The camera really can be more defining.  Now with the flexed photo you can clearly decipher the indentation.  It has improved since but still there. I have been seeking regular treatment for ART Active release technique which is better than deep tissue massage. In that the provider is trained for seeking and breaking up scar tissue related to sports injuries. It is effective and helps the healing process. I will try and keep you all up to date. I hope this helps you and have a great October!  Halloween is coming up and Its time to decorate!.

Train hard and lift smart!

The Belt Squat

Belt squats are important in many ways for a powerlifter. This equipment assists powerlifter especially ones with back injury or pain but still able to train in a manner to continue to build strength.  The belt squat unloads the pressure on the spine which is important for many reasons.  It allows faster recovery due to unloading of on the spine. It allow es lifters who cannot hold a bar on their back due to injury or discomfort. The belt pulls downward providing a traction like effect on the spine. This device is a safe and secure approach for heavy squats without a spotter and you can train to failure without the risk of injury.  The belt squat feels stable and gives a sense of confidence in raising your lifting goals.  The best usage of this equipment is to box squat on it, in other words placing a box in a size that allows for you to “sit” on it with the position at a 90 degree angle. Any lower would increase difficulty in recovering back to the standing position.  You want a level of difficulty to allow a good muscle workout but not a difficulty to increase the risk of injury.  Belt squat machines are not commonly found in the gym.  You would find them in powerlifting gyms or gyms geared specifically for the athlete (powerlifter).  You can also build one yourself to get your job done and save money. the link included will take you to one person who did this. .  Or for a very rudimentary style check out the homade deck at the bottom of the previous link. Very simple yet a little less stable due to the straps connected directly to the plates good work for balance as well.

 Other uses of the belt squat deck are, Cable dead lifts, Handle squats, cable high pulls, seated low rows. and other rowing movements.  You could discover your own different exercises on this deck.

That’s all for now. So try and find one of these or purchase on if you can or build it!.

 On a side note I am returning to the Doctor to continue my ART muscle tissue treatments for my torn pectoral muscle.  I am confident it is helping in the healing process and it has been 6 months now.  My pressing strength has increased on the machines but I am still lacking in dumbbell presses and barbell presses.  It is very frustrating but I am making a goal to get back to close to 100%.


Treating and Preventing DOMS

Johndavid Maes, and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a phenomenon that has long been associated with increased physical exertion. DOMS is typically experienced by all individuals regardless of fitness level, and is a normal physiological response to increased exertion, and the introduction of unfamiliar physical activities. Due to the sensation of pain and discomfort, which can impair physical training and performance, prevention and treatment of DOMS is of great concern to coaches, trainers, and therapists. In a recent review, Szymanski (2001) provides an extensive evaluation of the mechanisms and treatments for DOMS. Although science has not established a sound and consistent treatment for DOMS, previous interventions include pharmaceuticals, pre-exercise warm-up, stretching, massage, and nutritional supplements, just to name a few. The pain and discomfort associated with DOMS typically peaks 24-48 hours after an exercise bout, and resolves within 96 hours. Generally, an increased perception of soreness occurs with greater intensity and a higher degree of unfamiliar activities. Other factors, which play a role in DOMS, are muscle stiffness, contraction velocity, fatigue, and angle of contraction. In order to minimize symptoms and optimize productivity in a physical training program it is vital to understand the proposed mechanisms of injury, which occur in DOMS. In another recent review, Connolly, Sayers, and McHugh (2003) present an explanation for the mechanisms of injury, as well as various modalities for prevention and treatment of DOMS. The purpose of this article is to provide a review of the mechanisms of injury associated with DOMS as well as an evaluation of the recommendations of various proposed treatments.

For many years the phenomenon of DOMS has been attributed to the buildup of lactate in the muscles after an intense workout. However, this assumption has been shown to be unrelated to DOMS. The perceptions of pain and soreness that result from intense eccentric exercise are not related to lactate buildup at all. Szymanski’s review (2001) notes that blood and muscle lactate levels do rise considerably during intense eccentric and concentric exercise, however values for blood and muscle lactate return to normal within 30-60 minutes post exercise. Szymanski also notes that concentric exercise produces two-thirds more lactate than does eccentric exercise. If DOMS was brought on by the accumulation of lactate in the muscles, there would me more of an incidence of DOMS after concentric exercise than that of eccentric exercise. Furthermore, blood lactate levels drop to normal values within 60 minutes of an intense exercise bout. The symptoms of DOMS peak within 24-48 hours after an intense eccentric exercise bout when blood lactate levels have been at normal levels for a considerable amount of time.

DOMS is often precipitated predominantly by eccentric exercise, such as downhill running, plyometrics, and resistance training. In their review, Connolly et al. (2003) explain that the injury itself is a result of eccentric exercise, causing damage to the muscle cell membrane, which sets off an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response leads to the formation of metabolic waste products, which act as a chemical stimulus to the nerve endings that directly cause a sensation of pain. These metabolic waste products also increase vascular permeability and attract neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) to the site of injury. Once at the site of injury, neutrophils generate free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons), which can further damage the cell membrane. Swelling is also a common occurrence at the site of membrane injury, and can lead to additional sensations of pain. Connolly et al. also note the importance of differentiating DOMS from other injuries such as muscle strains. This difference is important to appreciate because when muscle strain is sustained from vigorous exercise, particularly eccentric exercise, it can severely worsen the injury. In contrast, in a muscle that is experiencing DOMS, continued eccentric exercise is still possible without further muscle damage. When dealing with DOMS it is important to differentiate it from muscle strains, recognizing that continued exercise is still possible with DOMS, but not with muscle strain.

Symptoms Associated With DOMS
Both Connolly et al.(2003) and Szymanski (2001) agree that typical symptoms often associated with DOMS include strength loss, pain, muscle tenderness, stiffness, and swelling. Loss of strength usually peaks within the first 48 hours of an exercise bout, with full recovery taking up to 5 days. Pain and tenderness peak within 1-3 days after exercise and typically subside within 7 days. Stiffness and swelling can peak 3-4 days after exercise and will usually resolve within 10 days. It is important to note that these symptoms are not dependant on one another and do not always present at the same time.

Proposed Interventions
Although there has been a considerable amount of research on the treatment of DOMS, to date no one treatment has proved dominant in consistently preventing or treating DOMS. Among popular interventions are pharmacological treatments using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), therapeutic treatments utilizing physical modalities such as stretching and warm-up, and interventions using nutritional supplements. The following is a discussion and evaluation of these proposed mechanisms of treatment and the prevention of DOMS.

Benefits of NSAIDs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and flurbiprofen have long been considered as a treatment for alleviating the symptoms of DOMS. Theoretically, NSAIDs have a strong case for helping to combat the inflammation and swelling which occurs with exercise induced muscle damage. Despite this strong theoretical backing, research done on the effectiveness of NSAIDs has provided mixed and conflicting results. Due to inconsistencies among studies between type, dose, and timing of various NSAIDs, as well as associated negative side effects such as gastrointestinal distress, and hypertensive effects, NSAIDs do not appear to be an optimal choice for treatment of DOMS.

Benefits of Nutritional Supplementation
Nutritional supplements have also emerged as a potential treatment for DOMS. Anti-oxidant’s, such as vitamins C and E, are known to reduce the proliferation of free radicals, which are thought to be generated during the inflammatory response potentially causing more damage to an affected muscle. Connolly et al. report that the effectiveness of anti-oxidant therapy has been shown to be inconsistent among several studies examining it’s potential for treatment. Other nutritional supplements which have been investigated for treatment of DOMS include coenzyme–Q and L-carnitine, however neither supplement has been shown to effectively treat DOMS, and may even worsen symptoms.

Benefits of Warm-up
Unlike the use of NSAIDs and nutritional supplements, pre-exercise warm-up has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of DOMS. In his review, Szymanski (2001) notes that traditional warm-up before exercise has been suggested as a means of preparing the body for exercise, improving athletic performance, and reducing DOMS and associated muscle damage. Using a warm up to increase muscle temperature is thought to improve muscle function by leading to greater muscle elasticity, an increased resistance of muscle tissue to tearing, more relaxed muscles, an increased extensibility of connective tissues within muscle, and decreased muscle viscosity. This in turn allows for more efficient muscle contractions, which deliver increased speed and force. Szymanski also reports that several studies provide evidence of concentric warm-up before eccentric exercise, thus preparing the body for the stress caused by overloading the muscles with eccentric activity.

Szymanski (2001) adds that pre-exercise warm-up can be placed into two categories, general and specific. General warm-up is aimed at increasing core body temperature by performing movements that require the use of large muscle groups, such as calisthenics and running. Specific warm-up, mimicking the movement patterns of the actual exercises, is aimed at increasing the local muscle temperature in the muscles, which will be used in the specific sport or physical activity. Due to the benefits of warm-up it is advisable to precede an intense exercise bout with an adequate general and specific warm-up. Warm-up duration can vary greatly, depending of the intensity of physical activity, environmental conditions, and fitness level of clients (less fit people may need a longer warm-up).

Repeated-Bout Effect
In addition to warming up, Szymanski (2003) introduces the repeated-bout effect as a meaningful means of reducing DOMS. The repeated bout effect is a progressive adaptation to eccentric exercise. It has been reported that repeated bouts of lower intensity eccentric exercise performed 1-6 weeks before the initial higher intensity eccentric bouts have been shown to consistently reduce DOMS and exercise induced muscle damage. Thus, a gradual introduction of eccentric exercise, over a period of weeks, is encouraged. Szymanski states that the repeated bout effect is proposed to allow for a faster recovery of strength and range of motion in effected muscles, providing for increased resistance to damage after the first bout. It is also thought that muscle and connective tissue gradually adapt to increasing intensities of eccentric exercise, minimizing incidence and severity of DOMS.

With a better understanding of the causes of DOMS, the health and fitness professional is better equipped to help clients avoid it’s complications. It is hoped that the information in this article will add to the ‘tool box’ of knowledge from which personal trainers can draw from in an effort to optimize the health and fitness results obtained by their clients.