This post isn’t just about the rehab process. It also gives you a view into the mindset that it takes to never give up and not only overcome a major setup back. And to do so coming back stronger and more motivated than before.
In October of 2010 I tore BOTH the Sternal and Clavicular head of my left pec off their attachment to the humerus. This required surgery and installation of 3 titanium studs followed by rehab. Since that time I have continued to receive multiple emails, Facebook messages, and YouTube questions due to my rapid recovery prompting me to put this piece together. The typical recovery takes 12 months before getting a full release to train heavy, along with the caveat that you will never be 100% again. In the process I’m sharing with you here I had regained mobility within a matter of weeks and had progressed enough that I was training to compete at a powerlifting meet at 6 months. At 9 months I was in competition setting not only a personal record for a total but also landing a Top10 All-Time Powerlifting total. Given the standard rehab process and the experiences of other lifters this was a significant achievement.
The primary content of this article is the video series itself. It is important to note that there is significant risk of re-injury if you pursue these aggressive methods without the proper knowledge or supervision. If you choose to take that risk you can significantly reduce your overall recovery time, yield greater long term recovery, and develop a cascade of other injury due to overcompensation patterns.
With my current knowledge and resources I would take a little bit different approach in regards to the specific details of my recovery. However the overall process would still center on the same core concepts:
Mobility and Range of Motion
- Begin mobilizing the area and work on regaining your range of motion as soon as possible. But stay inside the pain threshold and listen to your body. Every day try to take it a little further. Find a great therapist or other practitioner that can assist you with mobility drills.
Work the Movement Patterns
- Begin utilizing and working the muscle through the movement patterns it is used in. Find a great therapist or other practitioner that can assist you with proper movement patterns.
- I spoke extensively about the use of Super Cissus in this video series.
- Also incorporate other recover methods such as foam rolling, trigger point, active release, deep tissue, graston, or stecco fascial to name a few. (I used nearly all of them and then some)
- Train what you can, you will be surprised how even training one side of the body will help you retain your strength and power overall.
- Don’t go INTO pain but play on the edges and continually move that boundary.
Other key points include setting aside the time and potentially money to invest in this being a primary focus. You need to be working on recovery every single day and multiple times a day. You will be pushing the limits of potentially re-injuring the area so you MUST connect with and listen to your body.
Due to the extensive number of video’s I will only embed a few of them. The rest will be linked.
The original injury was done by just being stupid and playing around. After a 2 hour bench press workout I decided I would attempt and iron cross… after never having done one before.
Week 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9bOlcROYx8
Week 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r_jdiAG1ho
Week 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEu4YRU2_8s
Week 5&6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrRrkg7ZklI
Week 20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl3uEoKfyOk
Week 26 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQN986InL4Y
Week 26 Bench pressing with Slingshot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBw1bfG4mco
Here are some excerpts of how I trained just one side of body or didn’t let my arm being in a sling hold me back. Mind you these methods are bordering on the side of ‘stupid’ in on some occasions… but it does dive home the point of don’t let anything stand in your way. I was squatting and doing 1-arm deadlifts just days/weeks after surgery
500×6 No arm squat
One arm deadlifts in a sling
Tire flips only weeks out
And finally my meet at 9 months post surgery. That 1008lb squat took a significant toll on my pec otherwise I believe I would have benched in the low to mid 700’s at this meet.
Don’t every give in and thing your done. Giving up just means your taking the easy path out. Use your obstacle to overcome as motivation to dig even deeper.