Tip: How to Avoid a Pec Tear

The bench press puts a lot of stress on the joints. Swap it for a variation that'll help you build muscle without the joint issues. Info here.

Dudes are obsessed with this exercise. Don't believe me? What's the question you always hear if a guy looks muscular? "How much do you bench?"

The reason this exercise accompanies injury is perhaps caused by that question alone. Every dude wants to boast of his bench press poundage and therefore will often try to lift beyond his ability.

The most common low-grade injuries include elbow issues from locking out and rotator issues from over-stretching at the bottom. Powerlifters are notorious for pec tears, and I admit to suffering a partial tear in 2010 on my second rep with 500 pounds. Dumb, I know.

Preventing the elbow issue can be relatively easy – stop short of locking out on all pressing movements. A locked-out elbow joint takes a large proportion of the tension off the pecs. Tension is something you want if hypertrophy is the goal, even if it forces you to decrease the weight.

Do the Floor Press Instead

In regards to avoiding shoulder issues, and the worst case injury, a pec tear, I found the floor press to be an excellent alternative. Here's another look.

The floor press prevents over-stretching at the shoulder joint and eliminates an excessively stretched pec tendon at the transition point from eccentric to concentric, thereby eliminating much of the danger-zone for pec tears.

Mark Dugdale is an IFBB pro bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia competitor. Mark has 22 years of experience on stage and a passion for brutal workouts. He has also produced five documentaries, participated in seminars with prison inmates, and was granted one of the last recorded interviews with Joe Weider. Follow Mark Dugdale on Twitter