Sternum sore after chest exercises

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    Nov 04, 2008 2:55 AM GMT
    This is the second time I've experienced this...

    Today I worked out chest and shoulders. I pushed myself a little harder than normal, as I've started a creatine cycle. My workout was this afternoon, and this evening I'm experiencing pains in my sternum and lower, floating ribs. It's not a muscle soreness as would be expected, but more of a sharper pain. If I spread my arms out as far as they can go, as to stretch out my chest, I feel the pain in my ribs / sternum.

    I have had this happen once before, and it was painful for about 3 days. It hurts when I breathe deeply or extend my arms as described. Since it has happened before, I have taken extra note not to even touch my chest with a bar during any types of bench press exercises. I don't know what else it could have been. Here's my workout:

    pull-ups / dips : 2 sets each, to failure

    flat bench press : 3 sets, 8 reps * 6 reps * 5 reps
    s/s with arnold press : 3 sets, 8 * 8 * 8

    decline bench press : 3 sets, 10 * 10 * 10
    reverse flyes : 3 sets, 12 * 12 * 12

    incline bench press : 3 sets, 8 * 6 * 5
    cable flyes : 3 sets, (21-sets, 7 at 45-degrees, 7 at 90-degrees, 7 at 135-degrees)

    I'm wondering if this has anything to do with me doing more forward press exercises and not enough exercises that work my upper back? Anyone else experience this before? It's painful enough to where I think it could cause injury at some point.
  • emailaddress

    Posts: 313

    Nov 04, 2008 12:20 PM GMT
    always consult a physician. but when it comes to sports related injury (which may not the cause of your chest pain), the best they can tell you is to rest.

    if its painful, stop and rest (8 weeks), try not to bouce the bar off your chest next time you bench or/and always warm up your chest muscle properly.
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    Nov 04, 2008 12:45 PM GMT
    I had something similar from doing chest a while back. Pain was very sharp and localized just to a specific spot just right of my sternum. I could really feel it when I would breathe deep. It was also uncomfortable to lay on that side to sleep. I went to the doc and it turned out to be inflamation of the cartilage between a rib and sternum. Probable cause was lifting chest (duh). He prescribed vicodin fir pain and an antiinflamatory. Had to stay off it for 8 weeks.
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    Nov 04, 2008 4:14 PM GMT
    Thanks. By rest, does this mean heavy lifting? Or would pushups be okay after a few days?
    I don't really do pain meds, so I think I'll just tough this one out, but glad to know others have heard of this.
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    Nov 04, 2008 4:24 PM GMT
    do you bounce the bar off your chest (as some men do) or stop right before hitting the chest? if you bounce, you could be bruising the bone.
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    Nov 04, 2008 4:25 PM GMT
    Give it a week to rest, do push ups once a day until you work it out again.

    What's happening is your attachments in the middle of your chest are being strained because they're not used to the load. It'll stop hurting after a while, but don't push it too hard or you'll rip your pecs right out of your chest.

    Just work through it using medium weight at 12+ reps and don't lift to failure. Keep that routine up until you're not hurting anymore, then try to go heavier while keeping 8+ reps, again, not lifting to failure.

    Repeat the 12+ reps routines as necessary until your attachments have strengthened before you attempt higher weight.
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    Nov 04, 2008 4:55 PM GMT
    might I also suggest you look to some of the workout plans here. I've been lifting seriously and trying to gain weight for the past 3 years, and I started the Muscle-Building workout on here - and when I started, it truly hurt! the whole body! Everyone's giving advice on how many reps, how much weight, etc, but I found that i've seen REALLY good results (net gain of 16 lbs) following the workout (on week 8 ) because the trainers who designed that program know how to switch up the routines to keep your muscles activated.

    Disclaimer: I am loathe to take advice from anyone who is not a professional, and even amongst trainers, I look at their bodies to see if they know what they're talking about. The two who designed the programs here obviously know what they are doing! The old adage of Train with someone who has the body you want is a good adage to follow. (and yes, I know that was advice!)
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Nov 04, 2008 9:13 PM GMT
    What this is most likely esp since it happened before under similar circumstances and was temporary as well
    is irritation of the muscle where it inserts or originates from a bone
    It's a form of Enthesopathy and will go away with some time and rest

    If it's severe you might be working your chest a little too hard
    and you might want to cool it down a bit more the next time
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    Nov 05, 2008 2:24 AM GMT
    Thanks guys, I'll cool it down for a bit. Good to hear the pushups shouldn't hurt.

    Growingmusc, no, I don't bounce the bar off my chest. Never have, and after the last time I felt this same pain, I made sure to take extra care not to touch my chest with anything. As for the 12-week muscle-building workout, I would love to. The problem is I can only make it to the gym 3 times a week, and usually at variable times due to a crazy work and school schedule. I've thought about making it more of a 24-week program by splitting each week up into 2 weeks, but haven't planned it out yet. Think this could do me well? I'm wanting to put on about 10 - 15 lbs this winter and use late winter / early spring to lean out after my gains. Some of the exercises aren't possible due to lack of the machines / equipment, but I'm sure I can come up with some interesting alternatives and it wouldn't hurt.