Day 15: Chest – Dealing with Injuries

When I woke up in the morning, I felt something every lifter fears.  The day before I had hit some heavy deadlifts and felt great when doing it.  But the morning after, I woke up feeling like I pulled or strained something.  It was a weird feeling on the right side of my neck down to my right shoulder.  Now I’m no doctor, so I can’t give official advice on lifting and injuries, but I can talk on knowing your body, and give some basic tips on what you should and shouldn’t try to work through.

Injuries and setbacks are common, don’t let people tell you otherwise.  This is why so often form is preached in the gym, because it reduces the likelihood of injuries.  A basic explanation of lifting weights is you tearing you muscle fibers apart so they can regrow stronger and bigger.  With this will come some sore days, and days you’re feeling a little stiff.  This is something you can work through.  Through stretching, better diet and staying hydrated, you can alleviate soreness and stiffness.  This is why I never let a little stiffness keep me from the gym.  Just hit the stretching area for 10 minutes and you feel like a new man.

The thing I always ask myself when I have an injury, is “can I work through this without making it worse.”  If the answer is yes, then head to the gym and keep working out.  These workouts aren’t go big or go home type workouts.  You can rehab and workout at the same time.  Rehab can still get you sweating and build muscle.  At the gym I go too, there are bodybuilders who will spend 15 minutes with a 5-pound weight solely focusing on rehabbing shoulders as a part of their workouts.  If you drop the ego, lifting for rehab and recovery can help you recover from injuries and setback quicker than rest.

If you answered no to the above question, then you still have a few options on how you can proceed.  With injuries and setbacks, you can always take a few days off to see how your body reacts to some rest.  If rest treats you well, then listen to your body and you will know when it’s time to head back to work.  Another option that you have is to work out different body parts.  There have been times where my shoulder is sore from past dislocations so I take time to focus on lower body workouts or working out on my core.  On these days, I’ll mix in some rehab and when I feel comfortable I’ll try a light workout with the body part that I was feeling was injured and go from there.

For this workout, I felt like I could continue to work out.  The strain felt light so I hit the gym for a light chest day.  I knew going in that I was going to have to concentrate on form with low weight to see how my body reacted to the strain.  About half way through the workout I felt like I was just making the strain worse so I laid off the weights and did some stretching and got in some core work.  I didn’t walk out feeling defeated because I still go a sweat going and knew I would need to avoid certain types of workouts and focus on some rehab and stretching going forward to help with this setback.


  • 5 minutes on stair climber to get my blood flowing.
  • Upper body stretch for 10 minutes.  Focus on shoulders to get them loose, also focused on neck stretches to see if I could loosen up my neck.


  • Bench-press (pyramid up and down): 95 for 12, 135 for 10 for 3 sets, 155 for 6, 155 for 4, 155 for 2, 135 for 8
  • Inclined Press (Drop set): 50’s for 6 then drop to 30’s for 10.  Three sets of this
  • Chest press machine: 100 for 12 reps for 4 sets
  • Fly machine: 115 for 8 for 2 sets, 130 for 6 for 2 sets (focus on squeezing contraction)


  • Static stretches at different angles for shoulder and neck

Core Work Circuit:

  • 15 situps, 20 Russian twists, 20 flutter kicks, 20 leg raises. 3 sets of this
  • Declined situps: 3 sets of 20
  • Oblique twist machine: 3 sets at 100 lbs


Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”



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