Tearing and Repairing my Pec

It seems like just about every year, something wants to either strain or tear. It’s the inevitable downfall of lifting big weights: you will tear something if you do it long enough. Sometimes often. But, there are indicators that I didn’t listen to that lead me to this injury. Lesson learned. Again. Listen to your body!

Six weeks ago, I was benching with the specialty bar, and my pec didn’t feel right. It actually didn’t feel good from the last week. I’d skipped a deload when I traveled to C-bus and just kept on going when I got back. Things went great until they didn’t. I was doing all of the right things: light benching on Friday with the bamboo bar, shoulder work, lat work – you name it. The problem is I was not recovering from Friday to Monday. Sometimes when you do all the right things, it’s too much. Doing the right thing doesn’t always ensure a good outcome. I may have been doing TOO MUCH of the right thing.

My pec and my shoulders didn’t feel good warming up, and I knew that I should have shut it down looking back, but I didn’t and ripped x 3 on my third rep with 365 – nothing even heavy. This typically happens about every other year for as long as I can remember. These injuries are not tendon detachments but very painful strains. And at the time, I really thought my pec was gone as hard as it popped in 3 places; one near the biceps (insertion), one in the belly, and the other near my sternum (origin). Luckily after I took the pressure off of my pec/arm, I felt the tendons still there, but a lot of local pain. That night, I couldn’t sleep well and could hardly raise my arm from the bed. I was worried, but again, my pec major and minor were attached, so I wasn’t too upset.

Day 3

I didn’t panic; I was more pissed as my bench needs the most time, effort, and love. As I said, I didn’t post much online about it, though I talked about it a few times in my every Wednesday Livestream. But this happens every couple of years; this one was just much worse.

So after a day or so, it started to swell some and do its thing to start healing. I took my usual peptides BPC 157, TB500, and used the oral “GH Sarm” a-25 from Jax Nutrition. Then I ran out.

I made the huge mistake of doing STEM on it the following week (way too aggressively), week 2, because I felt I had been progressing fast, so I wanted to expedite it more. After 20min, and while putting the unit away,  my pec cramps up and feels like it made the swelling much worse, and it wanted to explode. So I immediately started icing it. It hurt very badly!

Day 8

So, all of a sudden, I’m feeling like if my pec keeps swelling, and it keeps throbbing like this, I’m going to need to do something about it, like to see a doctor, get an MRI, or something. We are about to have the babies within a week, and it’s not looking good! I need to be able to help, and this was what Ria thought when I told her. She wasn’t thrilled.

So, I’m still taking my supplements, starting very light band flies, and flush blood into the area. I back off my back and shoulder training and jo super light. I start REALLY loading up on what is now know as “PRS CBD”– about 150mg per day, spread evenly through the day. The sublingual drops and the topical healing balm whenever I thought about it or passed a bottle. I had 2 weeks before the babies were coming, and I was in a frenzy.

Day 12 – my tit is the size of New Jersey, and I’m worried

I keep doing my rehab, mainly band flies, and resting it. Loading CBD, and it’s still looking terrible, but rapidly feeling better. I show a few people the pictures, and they disagree that it will be ok. They are apprehensive about me pushing forward, and not believing that I was OK.

Day 15

At this point, it looks much worse than it actually is, so I had a good time sending it to some close friends. I’m out of peptides at this time and only running the CBD and a-25; the pain is gone, and the healing is really starting to show now that the bruising and swelling are dissipating.

Day 18

At this point, things are nearly back to normal. I’m looking at squatting again with the cambered bar; the pain is gone. Same program – band flye, push-ups, and light DB presses. CBD load at 300mg – 600mg and a-25 daily.

Day 21

It pretty much all cleared up. This was about 3-4 weeks ago above (day 21). I’ve now been for a couple of weeks with many lat and shoulder workouts and direct pec work with DB’s for a couple of weeks; then I started back with the barbell up to 225×5 yesterday, no pain.

I’ll wrap up with this. I paid the price for not deloading/listening to my body, and it almost cost me BIG time. I escaped barely, but it was a good reminder that going too many hard weeks in a row without some downtime will cost you. Also, when you hurt something, you leave it alone and let your body do what it’s meant to do (this was mistake 2). Once I stopped messing with it, it got better very rapidly. Lastly, be careful about being too cute with specialty bars when pressing. The angle of this particular bar was not favorable, looking back, and was extra stressful on my pecs and biceps, which was not a good call on my part. Always learning!

Also, this was the point that I truly realized that CBD, when good quality and dosed right, can be a magnificent tool to hang on your tool belt. It’s not magical, but it can work for those dealing with pain and injury. The proof is in the progress!

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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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