Pec Tears and Bench Press (WARNING!)

If you are worried about suffering pec tears when doing the bench press then you are definitely going to want to watch this video. Recently, there have been graphic videos going around showing a bad pec tear suffered by bodybuilder Ryan Crowley. In this particular case, the tendon avulsed from the humerus leading to a long recovery and an uncertain return to previous physique levels. Are you the next in line to suffer a pec tear on the bench press however? We dive deep into the anatomy and biomechanics of the chest to determine that.

First, it is important to know who is even susceptible to tearing a pec in the first place. In general, the ordinary and rather sedentary person walking around does not ever suffer a pec tear. It is a muscle that has to be placed in extreme positions to incur injury. The two populations that this does happen to however are athletes and weightlifters.

Athletes who compete in rugby, football, boxing or even professional wrestling are often susceptible because of the high spontaneous eccentric forces that can be placed on their pecs during the actions of their sport.

In weightlifters, the overwhelming majority of pec tears come from one exercise and one exercise only - the barbell bench press.

Notice, I did not say the dumbbell bench press.

Why is that?

There are stresses that are unique to the barbell bench press that are not nearly as high in the dumbbell bench press that hold the key to determining the true vulnerability of the former and whether you need to worry about tearing your pec when doing it.

If you examine the bench press you can see that there are three components of it that place the chest muscle in a more stretched and potentially injurious state. They are the the abduction, internal rotation and extension of the shoulder joint. Whether you use dumbbells for bench press or a barbell, there is only one of those that can be altered depending on preference or mobility of the person performing the exercise. That is abduction.

There is no variance to the amount of shoulder rotation that you can apply to the shoulder. Theoretically, if you placed the shoulder in more internal rotation you would take some of the stretch off of the chest at the bottom of the exercise and perhaps decrease the risk of a torn pec, but this isn’t allowed. Introducing internal rotation at the shoulder under a bench load is a recipe for AC joint disaster.

The same happens with increasing the amount of shoulder external rotation on the bench press. This will only place your elbow out in front of the bar and significantly decrease your pushing power when performing the exercise.

The extension of the shoulder is not a determining factor in pec tears either. As a matter of fact, the amount of extension that you get at the bottom of a dumbbell bench press is greater than it is on a barbell press because the dumbbells can go deeper.

Abduction of the shoulder on the other hand is variable, mainly because it has a lot to do with grip width when performing the barbell bench press. With dumbbells, your hands start and finish very close to each other almost directly over your pecs (or at biacromial width). As the hands drop from this position, they allow the elbows to tuck at around 45 degrees to the body. On a barbell however, the hands are placed outside of acromial width (sometimes up to two times or more).

This is evidenced by the fact that the elbows will be hard pressed to be kept at the 45 degree angle to the torso and often times are more likely to be found at 60, 65 or even 70 degrees away from the body.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop bench pressing if you want to avoid a pec tear. Instead, you just have to make sure that your body is able to accommodate the stresses that your chest will incur when doing the bench press.

The first is to perform a pause bench press.

The next step in the progression to preventing pec tears is to perform a double pause rep bench. Stop once again a couple inches from the chest, lower to the chest and stop again for a brief pause before exploding the bar back to the top.

Next, the weighted pushup is an amazing way to increase your ability to perform a bench press without injury to the pecs.

If you are looking for complete step by step workout plans where we put the science back in strength to keep you healthy while getting you ripped and strong, be sure to head to via the link below and choose the program selector to find the program best suited to your specific goals.

For more videos on pec tears and bench pressing as well as the proper form on a bench press to avoid shoulder injury, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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    ATHLEAN-X™Prije 2 mjeseci

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - It’s back!! Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

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    Ali JaberPrije 2 mjeseci

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  3. Cyril LD

    Cyril LDPrije 2 mjeseci

    hi jeff, would you recommend a curl bar for a beginner? which would be safer for the pecs wih a closer grip and more natural grip ?

  4. Callum Woodcock

    Callum WoodcockPrije 2 mjeseci

    Can you do a video on how to help recovery from all pec tears like the one at the sternum. I looked all over the internet there is nothing on this.

  5. Jithu Kodenchery

    Jithu KodencheryPrije 2 mjeseci

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    Melki irwandiPrije 2 mjeseci

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  7. bitario723

    bitario723Prije 2 sati

    He was probably on steroids, which weakens the tendons. Plus, he was lifting 500 pounds, and the eccentric contraction was way too long in my opinion

  8. Marco Smud

    Marco SmudPrije 3 dana

    Not to mention the bench press shoulder injuries.

  9. Bitsas Dimitris

    Bitsas DimitrisPrije 4 dana

    Highest risk category:PED users.the end

  10. JoeChemo

    JoeChemoPrije 5 dana


  11. arnab biswas

    arnab biswasPrije 7 dana

    Damn!! did he survived? 😰

  12. A normal Christian

    A normal ChristianPrije 10 dana

    Can you do a vid where you show people how to do decline on a flat bench and inner chest at all levels, incline, flat and decline.

  13. A normal Christian

    A normal ChristianPrije 10 dana

    The moron in the video who badly tore his pec was posing, trying to lift far more than he could, as he needed a spotter to help him get the bar there before the push, too many posers, if you cant lower the weight in a controlled manner on your own its probably risky


    AMARNATH KPrije 10 dana

    The chest muscle would not have been torn if what the person on this instant post had done?

  15. Kanada_ForeverX

    Kanada_ForeverXPrije 11 dana

    Why does everything that this man says make sense???

  16. Ravan

    RavanPrije 11 dana


  17. Somara Son

    Somara SonPrije 12 dana

    Update on the person who had his pec torn in the video- he is miraculously recovering and pushing through this set back to continue his bodybuilding career. He is also only 23 and has a ton of potential.

  18. Kyle Griffin

    Kyle GriffinPrije 13 dana

    In short...... Steroids 😀

  19. dereks366

    dereks366Prije 13 dana

    Am I missing something? The takeaway I got from this was that to avoid pec tears you want to pause your bench during the moments where a pec tear is most likely to happen....

  20. Kanada_ForeverX

    Kanada_ForeverXPrije 11 dana

    the takeaway is to train lighter and more thoughtfully in the high-risk areas to build up your tendon and muscle strength

  21. Shinobu Tezuka

    Shinobu TezukaPrije 14 dana

    I had to turn my eyes away everytime. AAAaaaaa.. okay I have to pay more attention to this now that I bought a bench and a rack.

  22. Christopher Reyes

    Christopher ReyesPrije 15 dana

    Damn Jeff subtle flex with the degrees and certifications!

  23. Shivanshi chandel

    Shivanshi chandelPrije 20 dana

    Me yes :)

  24. JoeM350

    JoeM350Prije 21 dan

    The barbell bench press serves only one purpose, to give men something to brag about. If you want to beef up your chest, cables and dumbbells are the ticket.

  25. Kibi

    KibiPrije 21 dan

    Jeff is the Gym version of Bill Nye the Science guy

  26. Chanh Saechao

    Chanh SaechaoPrije 21 dan

    OMFG!!! I can't get that out of my head now, oddly that's one of the most disturbing injury videos I've seen

  27. lmaoo xdd

    lmaoo xddPrije 22 dana

    "ripped" just got a new meaning

  28. Scandar G

    Scandar GPrije 22 dana

    A vest it's way better...This is annoying,especialy when u are alone and they droped etc...

  29. Augústo Williams

    Augústo WilliamsPrije 23 dana

    Bro stop showing it again and again! At least make a non censored version.

  30. Kevin Wendler

    Kevin WendlerPrije 23 dana

    Case closed. I can once again bench press in peace, thank you Jeff !

  31. Alek Skot

    Alek SkotPrije 23 dana

    I love you man really, your videos helping me a lot! But please dont show this injury video again! I couldnt wach your video cause of that! I cant hundle the shocking videos

  32. Mike James

    Mike JamesPrije 23 dana

    Praise God I only use dumbbells

  33. Cristobal Figueroa

    Cristobal FigueroaPrije 24 dana

    I’m open to anyone’s opinion, but would it just be better to stick with dumbbell bench vs barbell or is there something you can share with me that states otherwise 🧐

  34. Scootland Braunskies (btrainvideos)

    Scootland Braunskies (btrainvideos)Prije 26 dana

    *_yes_* I cringed! Actually I fetal positioned

  35. Walltumbler

    WalltumblerPrije 28 dana

    That video was disturbing. Please give a warning before showing something like that in the future. Thanks!! I really like your channel.

  36. bluee

    blueePrije 28 dana

    Pls answer is it a good idea working out at 13 ive been doing it for a few months now and seen a little results

  37. Sparky 13

    Sparky 13Prije 29 dana

    Tearing your pec muscle is killing your gains.

  38. PJS

    PJSPrije 29 dana

    Hey Jeff! How come you never finished your series on "bands"? You still need to finish out that series! We need band workouts for Legs and Triceps! Please Jeff! I am also another survivor of Labrum surgery! It's been over 2 years and I still am doing PT and band workouts. I need your help Jeff! Band workouts for Legs and Triceps PLEASE!

  39. Dominic Rupolo

    Dominic RupoloPrije mjesec

    Great Video..Thank you

  40. Nemanja Blagojevic

    Nemanja BlagojevicPrije mjesec

    Great video, very educational and ruthless xD.

  41. Wigadama

    WigadamaPrije mjesec

    *_Hey you. Yes, you. the random person that I will never meet. I truly hope that you will find happiness in life. Today is going to be a great day._*

  42. yonD

    yonDPrije mjesec

    I fear no man But... but that video (0:22) It scares me

  43. Balazak

    BalazakPrije mjesec

    Clarification: That is NOT the kind of "ripped" I wanna get. 😲

  44. Be Elite

    Be ElitePrije mjesec

    To add on to what Jeff has said, load management is ENTIRELY necessary. The dude in the video was obviously making a max effort attempt. Remember, if you strength train, most safe strength is gained at submaximal intensities.

  45. Morgan Eriksen

    Morgan EriksenPrije mjesec

    Did a partial tear today, i knew i fucked up and called, wondering how long it will take to recover this Hehe and how much hgh would help me heal this faster 😅 jk..

  46. Daniel

    DanielPrije mjesec

    That injury will linger for the rest of his life.

  47. Red lll

    Red lllPrije mjesec

    Watching that video makes me hurt inside so much I really feel bad for tht dude

  48. American Badass

    American BadassPrije mjesec

    Can this happen to women too?

  49. Spaceghost4201

    Spaceghost4201Prije mjesec

    I need to lay down after the first 30 seconds of this video

  50. Spaceghost4201

    Spaceghost4201Prije mjesec

    seriously Jeff, you don't need to show it so many times, I got the message the first time.

  51. Spaceghost4201

    Spaceghost4201Prije mjesec

    and again at two minutes. please stop showing it!

  52. Dan

    DanPrije mjesec

    Great content

  53. Xforce1

    Xforce1Prije mjesec

    Why i always see on the right chest, left is weak, i got mine on right too but not that to bad

  54. Andrei xrt

    Andrei xrtPrije mjesec

    Big brain time: Don't max out.

  55. Joe Young

    Joe YoungPrije mjesec

    Anyone else expect Jeff to only show the injury once and then it shows up a second time randomly and snap 😭😭😭😭😭😭

  56. Shay Menashe

    Shay MenashePrije mjesec

    Bruh when he was about to show the first clip i skipped it and then suddenly the same clip but from different angle popped up showing right away the pec tear i swear i couldnt train for a week

  57. drake aamold

    drake aamoldPrije mjesec

    God is good

  58. Darlington Obi

    Darlington ObiPrije mjesec

    Ayooooooo these comments have me dead 😅😂🤣🤣😂☠️☠️💀💀

  59. De’Shawn Wells

    De’Shawn WellsPrije mjesec

    Jeff 4:45 that’s exactly my issue!! Now idk if it’s being 6”3 having a king wing span I never used to have problems benchin when I was younger! Idk if it just don’t do it as much my shoulders just give

  60. Ricardo Gobin

    Ricardo GobinPrije mjesec

    That makes sense about the steroids cos they increase muscle size and strength not tendon size and strength. The tendons have to play catchup to the muscle and that can't be rushed, has to be done slowly. Ryan just went too heavy too soon, why else would it tear? he's been pressing for years and is comfortable with the right technique for his body

  61. zav75

    zav75Prije mjesec

    Oh this was an uncortable video to watch.

  62. Stephanie Anne

    Stephanie AnnePrije mjesec

    I want to throw up now

  63. Mauro Scimone

    Mauro ScimonePrije mjesec

    I feel grateful when you say that anabolic steroids create the conditions to serious injuries on tendons like that. Thank you for saying that!

  64. Jordan Holland

    Jordan HollandPrije mjesec

    Thanks. Very informative!

  65. SphericalCow

    SphericalCowPrije mjesec

  66. Brayan Chavez

    Brayan ChavezPrije mjesec


  67. Brent Terry

    Brent TerryPrije mjesec

    Or....just bring your grip in 1-2 inches on each side and tuck your elbows hard through the whole bench. This is changing to a tricep dominant bench which in the long run is healthier for your chest . Plus the best benchers in the world are nearly all tricep dominant....because its way more effective!

  68. asharhaque

    asharhaquePrije mjesec

    Thanks Jeff. This quite a relief, especially the alternative you mentioned at the end. Even though I don't do heavy-heavy lifting, I still felt quite alarmed when I saw Ryan's video. I think we need to be informed about how our body works and probably most of us aren't, and just do weights without even thinking about the potential risk of injury! Keep on doing the great work and informing/teaching us. Thank you.

  69. Iggs Wanna

    Iggs WannaPrije mjesec

    "you should be tearing a lat, not a pec guys"


    DOWSETTPrije mjesec

    I was very lucky, I had no clue about peck tears when I was a kid. Started working out at ten, never took supplements, by the time I was 17; my max 438 (x3) Maybe it was because I started out so young?

  71. Medisa Divinebody

    Medisa DivinebodyPrije mjesec

    I subscribed 🍀

  72. Honda Nakamoto

    Honda NakamotoPrije 2 mjeseci

    Oh fuck, I have Chest Day tomorrow :(

  73. WillaDog

    WillaDogPrije 2 mjeseci

    As a PT pro, can you address shoulder impingement (hanging to create more space) and what it means for working out? Old guy here--61--but want to keep making gains without threatening more impingement! Cheers and thanks for the awesome workouts.

  74. Parkmo

    ParkmoPrije 2 mjeseci

    fuuuuuuck man that pec tear literally almost made me ill goooolllly

  75. Dzhabrail Gadzhiev

    Dzhabrail GadzhievPrije 2 mjeseci

    My god, thank you for saving my pecs in future Love u, guys

  76. Thomas Calle

    Thomas CallePrije 2 mjeseci

    Love you Jeff💪🏼🔌💥

  77. Savage Gaming

    Savage GamingPrije 2 mjeseci

    How do you put the weights on your back?

  78. 3A3Y R3Y3S

    3A3Y R3Y3SPrije 2 mjeseci


  79. Arestheos

    ArestheosPrije 2 mjeseci

    Wait, I just realised something. Why Jeff didn't point out that the exercise the guy was doing "Incline" version of the Bench Press? And so what are the affects of doing it in Incline position? I'm guessing Incline is more dangerous than Flat, that was a missing and unexplained point really. I feel like Decline Bench Press is safest one, especially for the guys with anatomy having low placed chests.

  80. Shah Ali

    Shah AliPrije 2 mjeseci

    I wasnt scared of my humble 90kg chest press.... until now :😂

  81. Orpheus

    OrpheusPrije 2 mjeseci

    Always do full ROM and never bounce.

  82. Abel Tejada

    Abel TejadaPrije 2 mjeseci

    Goddamit Jeff, thanks for warning us about the pec tear clips

  83. Lucas Srinivasan

    Lucas SrinivasanPrije 2 mjeseci

    Jeff in prison Sees someone drop the soap Teaches him the hip hinge

  84. Doug Mortimer

    Doug MortimerPrije 2 mjeseci

    Simple. Don’t take gear and try to lift too heavy.

  85. Vicious suh

    Vicious suhPrije 2 mjeseci

    if only Larry watched this video before the accident happened


    BIGGSHAUNPrije 2 mjeseci

    This video did not have a big enough warning

  87. Pokka Cola

    Pokka ColaPrije 2 mjeseci

    I appreciate Jeff for the immediate response of this event. This shows that he's concerned of everyone's safety out there when going to the gym.

  88. Dethkloak

    DethkloakPrije 2 mjeseci

    Omg. I can't watch that video. Aahhh

  89. Aaron Tuplin

    Aaron TuplinPrije 2 mjeseci

    It would be great if the bodybuilder came to Jeff for his PT on that pec

  90. Ebullientdrift

    EbullientdriftPrije 2 mjeseci

    "You know tearing your pecs is killing your gains?" "Here's my tutorial on how to do it following kinesiology principles so you don't worry about if you are next" 😜. Jeff, thanks, but give us a break. Most of these injuries happen when you fail to realize you are not a crane machine; we are just human. Regretably, for minds saturated with anabolic cocktail hormones that sense of awe and precaution is blunt and obliterated, cheered up by the sense of adventure and pride inside, an unwise combination that takes you away from the safety zone.

  91. Doug Mortimer

    Doug MortimerPrije 2 mjeseci

    This. You said it brother.

  92. MaccusFNS

    MaccusFNSPrije 2 mjeseci

    That hurt to watch

  93. saurabh choudhary

    saurabh choudharyPrije 2 mjeseci


  94. carlos espinoza

    carlos espinozaPrije 2 mjeseci

    This is what you don’t want to do,cause you don’t want to do, so you shouldn’t do.....jklol

  95. Bram Kox

    Bram KoxPrije 2 mjeseci

    8:02 The timing on that fingersnap ouch

  96. cod is life

    cod is lifePrije 2 mjeseci

    Did you ever think to ask yourself why you're using a index finger to the power ring? If your complaint is elbow placement and hand width, just move the hands closer and get proper shoulder blade position. You also probably won't tear your pec, that shit takes a lot of force, so much that your muscle has to literally be stronger than your tendon. That usually doesn't happen until you're an elite powerlifter or on gear. Many people actually train bench negatives with supermaximal loads. You're You're great physical therapist man, ya helped me through shoulder impingement twice, but you aren't a real good big 3 guy.

  97. Edward Lee

    Edward LeePrije 2 mjeseci


  98. S Aurelius

    S AureliusPrije 2 mjeseci

    Pros and cons of steroids aside, the cheating argument is ridiculous. "Oh, you're cheating yourself." Okay, by that logic, if I go out and get a knee replacement and get a titanium knee put in that is much stronger than bone, I must be cheating myself by doing that too by that logic.

  99. Steve's Car Garage

    Steve's Car GaragePrije 2 mjeseci

    who gets a knee replacement just for the fun of it? It's only done when the knee is shot. Steroids are for cheating, not when you're shot.

  100. Richard Garza

    Richard GarzaPrije 2 mjeseci

    Please do a video on how to strengthen your back stability after a herniated disc. I hurt my back squatting and am back in the gym doing calisthenics and machine isolated movements. But want to know when To start incorporating compound movements such as squats and deadlifts back in. Also running I’m not sure if I should be doing that yet.

  101. Steve's Car Garage

    Steve's Car GaragePrije 2 mjeseci

    no dead lifts yet. did u have surgery for the disc? I had that 25 yrs ago and could still do squats right away. do leg lifts for lower abs and the low back machine at the gym

  102. Renegade Campervan

    Renegade CampervanPrije 2 mjeseci

    I don't think that guy is doing any more benches Ever Again

  103. Zetsuke4

    Zetsuke4Prije 2 mjeseci

    rotation during press very nicely explained

  104. Zetsuke4

    Zetsuke4Prije 2 mjeseci

    Great explanation!

  105. Zetsuke4

    Zetsuke4Prije 2 mjeseci

    very nicely put

  106. patrick johnson

    patrick johnsonPrije 2 mjeseci

    ok this isnt related to the video but i need some advice im a 46 year old male 180 pounds average build . how long should i work out for since im older , in order to get muscle gain how long should i work out for? 30.40.60 minutes..?? i want to gain muscle mass and more than willing to put in the work but as you showed i dont want to over do it ..

  107. Tom Sweeny

    Tom SweenyPrije 2 mjeseci

    I passed out

  108. Chef Pizza

    Chef PizzaPrije 2 mjeseci

    Thank you so much for this. Lol

  109. Daniel. m

    Daniel. mPrije 2 mjeseci

    So stay away from the bench and stick to pushups. Noted 🤙

  110. Fiqi Rizkia Akbar

    Fiqi Rizkia AkbarPrije 2 mjeseci

    Can you explained about poppapipes’s triceps, is that normal or not?

  111. Joe P

    Joe PPrije 2 mjeseci

    My boy added a click at 8:02