What Exercises can Cause a Pulled Chest Muscle?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2019
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A pulled chest muscle can be the result of almost any exercise that targets the chest muscles, such as pushups, bench presses, and chest flys. This may be because of the strenuous nature of the exercise itself, but often it is because of an exercise-related accident. The best ways to avoid a pulled chest muscle are to properly warm up and stretch before a workout and to enlist the help of a spotter to prevent accidents.

When performing exercises, one should keep movements slow and controlled. Wild, quick movements are much more likely to overstretch a tendon or muscle and cause injury. This is especially true during weight-bearing exercises such as weight lifting and pushups, and also for vigorous sports such as martial arts, tennis, and baseball.

Bench presses are one of the weightlifting exercises that may cause a pulled chest muscle. Understand that different positions and kinds of weights will affect different chest muscles or even different areas of the same muscle. For example, incline, decline, and flat bench presses will exercise different parts of the chest, and a person may not be able to lift as much weight during one exercise as he or she would during a seemingly similar exercise. Similarly, using different kinds of weights will stress the muscles in varying ways. For instance, performing a bench press with a barbell will be different than performing presses with dumbbells, and using exercise bands or machines will differ greatly as well.


Chest flys are another very popular weightlifting exercise that has the potential to cause a pulled chest muscle. Dumbbells are very commonly used for this type of exercise, though it may also be performed with bands or with a fly machine. During the chest fly movement, gravity pulls the arms outward from the individual's supine body. If the weight lifted is too heavy, it is possible that the arms will drop too quickly and overextend, possibly pulling a chest muscle or tendon.

When performing any exercise, including chest muscle exercises, it is very important to use proper form. Before trying any of these exercises alone, one should have a trainer or other experienced fitness professional demonstrate how to safely do several kinds of exercises. This will not only reduce the risk of injury, but it will also help beginners get the most effectiveness out of a workout. Trial and error can be an extremely dangerous method of developing a weight training regimen.


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Post 2

I don't know if this qualifies as a strained chest muscles, but I did suffer a pretty serious chest injury while I was working out a few years back.

I was benching and I had a pretty serious amount of weight on the bar. I had a spotter and was expecting to get five reps in before my muscles gave out. Well, I got to the fourth rep, my spotter got distracted by a pretty girl and I ended up dropping the bar onto my chest. I broke three ribs in the process. I am completely healed up now and have no lasting pain, but I never expected to leave the gym with broken bones.

Post 1

I work as a personal trainer and the most common exercise that leads to chest injury is the classic dumbbell fly. This can be a great exercise to develop the chest when done properly, when done improperly it can pose a serious risk.

The two biggest mistakes that people make are they use too much weight and they have improper form. The lift calls for a person to use the entire range of motion their wingspan offers to lift a dumbbell in each hand. It is easy to overdo it and end up with a painful chest muscle strain.

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