The pectoral muscles are on the front of the chest and as with many people weight training today, you can see these muscles looking very pronounced. They also contribute to throwing actions and sports where you have to pull your own body weight.

Cause of injury to the pectoral muscles

Wrestling and sports such as martial arts can be responsible for tears in the pectorals, often caused by the shoulder first being wrenched. Also rugby where there is risk of a severe knock.

Overuse can also be the cause as in practicing a shot repeatedly in a racquet sport or practicing rowing everyday. This can make the muscles weak and the fibers of the muscles in risk of tearing.


Immediately after the injury there will be a pain over the chest and any movement from the arms will be painful.

If the injury is from overuse the pain will start gradually, for example you notice it while weight training and then it seems ok, but then it is painful each time you do that particular movement.

How to recover those pecs

Apply ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling, but use a thin towel between skin and ice to prevent ice burn.

Keep you arm close to you side and if your shoulder has been damaged seek medical advice.

If the injury is minimal stretching exercises can be started after a few hours of the injury as long as there is no pain while performing them. If you have no problems after stretching exercises you can progress to strengthening exercises and then you will be ready to resume your sport or weight training. It would be a good idea not to charge into any competitions and ease back into your sport gradually.

If the injury is more severe then you will have to wait a couple of days before you can start stretching, and strengthening exercises will probably have to wait a couple of weeks.

Pectoral exercises

  • Clasp you hands in front of you elbows bent and push your hands together for 5 seconds.Do this several times a day.
  • With your arms held straight out in front of you, put your palms together and push for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times a day.
  • Lying on a table with you arms outstretched level with you shoulders and palms up, use a light weight in your hands and you will feel the stretch in your chest muscles as you hands become lower than the table. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Use dumbbells instead of a barbell to prevent the risk of tearing your pectoral muscles.