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Thread: Question for heavy raw benchers

  1. #1
    Senior Member Invain's Avatar
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    Question for heavy raw benchers

    Do you guys ever get random cramps/knots in your pecs/shoulders during bench sessions? I've had this happen to me a few times and I'm not sure if it's just a bad cramp or if something else is going on. I'll feel fine warming up, and then out of no-where one of my pecs will get really sore, feels like a big knot. It's not a sharp pain, just a dull swollen ache.

    Sometimes I can stretch it out and it'll slowly fade away as I continue through the workout. Sometimes I'm forced to skip my last set or two of bench because it's just too uncomfortable and I'm extremely nervous about tearing something again.

    It's also never the same pec/side. Seems to be completely random. Most of the time the soreness goes away after a day or two and I'm back to 100% normal the following week.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Are you saying I'm heavy? Seriously, roll out the knot with a lax ball against a wall.


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  3. #3
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    lacrosse ball like Vin said. I use one in warmups in between sets and my shoulders always feel top notch.

    But to answer your question, no I don't normally have cramps like that.


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  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member gaz90's Avatar
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    ive had something like you described, my physio guy sed it was trapped lactic acid. used his knuckles to loosen it up. enjoy!
    last meet, GPC, Irish Open: 03/11/2012
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  5. #5
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Trapped lactic acid??? Oh man...


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  6. #6
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    I had that happen in my pecs, consistently digging into them with a lacrosse ball made it go away. Not just once it got irritated, but every upper body warm up session.
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    Do you have a sound warm up? Soft tissue a mobility work before the workout should eliminate that.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

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  8. #8
    Wannabebig Member gaz90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    Trapped lactic acid??? Oh man...
    BS detector going off? i never thought about it tbh
    last meet, GPC, Irish Open: 03/11/2012
    @ 82.5kg/ 181 junior raw
    S: 192.5kg/424
    B: 130 kg/286
    D: 225kg/495
    best gym lifts:
    S: 182.5kg/400
    B: 135 kg/300
    D: 220 kg/485

  9. #9
    Senior Member Invain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    Are you saying I'm heavy? Seriously, roll out the knot with a lax ball against a wall.
    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    lacrosse ball like Vin said. I use one in warmups in between sets and my shoulders always feel top notch.

    But to answer your question, no I don't normally have cramps like that.
    I try to foam roll regularly but I get lazy some weeks. I have a lacrosse ball and it does work really well on my pecs/shoulders. Usually when I have this happen I'll give it a couple days to calm down, then hit it hard with the lacrosse ball and I'm back to normal.

    I might try doing something in between sets while I'm warming up, that's not a bad idea.
    Best lifts: 615/475/660, Raw w/ Wraps
    http://www.youtube.com/user/invain622002

  10. #10
    Senior Member Invain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottYard View Post
    Do you have a sound warm up? Soft tissue a mobility work before the workout should eliminate that.
    Scott do you have any examples of mobility work? I do take my time warming up, but it mainly involves lots of lighter bench sets and a little stretching in between.
    Best lifts: 615/475/660, Raw w/ Wraps
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  11. #11
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaz90 View Post
    BS detector going off? i never thought about it tbh
    Yes, that is horseshit... Trapped lactic acid... Lol...


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    I was fortunate to work with Mike Robertson from ELITEFTS and get a custom made program for my own issues. Im not an expert or even a novice when it comes to mobility movements.

    Have you tried indian clubs? Do you have a rolling stick, or lacrosse ball. I have a trigger wheel that i use on my delt and pecs. I can share with you what mike has me do but most of my issues are upper back related and not peck or delt. Mike robertson has a dvd out called assess and correct. It runs you through a bunch of movements and then gives movements to help with weak areas. You might want to check that out.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  13. #13
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    You know, the whole "mobility" craze which we are currently in is blinding people to a simple truth of high level strength training, some of what the mobility etc. camp calls "bad" is actually just a positive adaptation by the body. It is positive in the sense it makes the lifter better at the specific exercises they perform. For instance, tightness in the shoulders upper back and chest is an adaptation that, so long as it does not get so bad as to prevent a proper ROM for the bench press, can actually AID the lifter's strength for pressing. Now, you may not be able to throw a ball well, or do other activities as well as you once could, but there is a price to be paid for anything. Jack of all trades, master of none...

    Just food for thought.


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  14. #14
    Senior Member Jonathan E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    You know, the whole "mobility" craze which we are currently in is blinding people to a simple truth of high level strength training, some of what the mobility etc. camp calls "bad" is actually just a positive adaptation by the body. It is positive in the sense it makes the lifter better at the specific exercises they perform. For instance, tightness in the shoulders upper back and chest is an adaptation that, so long as it does not get so bad as to prevent a proper ROM for the bench press, can actually AID the lifter's strength for pressing. Now, you may not be able to throw a ball well, or do other activities as well as you once could, but there is a price to be paid for anything. Jack of all trades, master of none...

    Just food for thought.
    Found this to be pretty interesting. It makes sense how negatives can actually be a positive attempt by your body to adapt. When it comes to lifting for a purpose other than powerlifting/bodybuilding, say sports, the mobility craze definitely jumps in more, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    You know, the whole "mobility" craze which we are currently in is blinding people to a simple truth of high level strength training, some of what the mobility etc. camp calls "bad" is actually just a positive adaptation by the body. It is positive in the sense it makes the lifter better at the specific exercises they perform. For instance, tightness in the shoulders upper back and chest is an adaptation that, so long as it does not get so bad as to prevent a proper ROM for the bench press, can actually AID the lifter's strength for pressing. Now, you may not be able to throw a ball well, or do other activities as well as you once could, but there is a price to be paid for anything. Jack of all trades, master of none...
    I
    Just food for thought.
    I agree. My squat was more explosive when it took 315 just to hit depth lol. From a quality.of.life stand point though its Mich nicer to walk with out pain or stat my desk for more then 20 mins with out cramping lol.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  16. #16
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    You know, the whole "mobility" craze which we are currently in is blinding people to a simple truth of high level strength training, some of what the mobility etc. camp calls "bad" is actually just a positive adaptation by the body. It is positive in the sense it makes the lifter better at the specific exercises they perform.

    Just food for thought.
    YES! Thank you.

    Some of this inherent tightness is PROTECTIVE. If the body is repeatedly asked to tighten up and form a firm brace against certain kinds of loads, the body... you guessed it, STAYS TIGHT. Resting muscle tonus, not just for bodybuilders anymore... Dramatically improving shoulder mobility when you're looking for maximum straight plane pressing power is an absolute mistake- you're loosening the very same tendons and ligaments that need to stay tight to keep the joint intact.
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  17. #17
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    You know, the whole "mobility" craze which we are currently in is blinding people to a simple truth of high level strength training, some of what the mobility etc. camp calls "bad" is actually just a positive adaptation by the body. It is positive in the sense it makes the lifter better at the specific exercises they perform. For instance, tightness in the shoulders upper back and chest is an adaptation that, so long as it does not get so bad as to prevent a proper ROM for the bench press, can actually AID the lifter's strength for pressing. Now, you may not be able to throw a ball well, or do other activities as well as you once could, but there is a price to be paid for anything. Jack of all trades, master of none...

    Just food for thought.
    Great post!


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  18. #18
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottYard View Post
    I agree. My squat was more explosive when it took 315 just to hit depth lol. From a quality.of.life stand point though its Mich nicer to walk with out pain or stat my desk for more then 20 mins with out cramping lol.
    I'm with Scott here. My shoulders got so tight at one point, they left my pecs in constant pain. My bench was strong, but I was holding back somewhat because it always felt like they were going to let go because of the pain.

    Once I got them loose, I backed off the lacrosse ball quite as much because it wasn't needed as much but I still maintain a level of stretching.

    Part of my issues is I sleep on my side as well. Now I sleep and move better and my bench definitely isn't going backwards.

    While I see the point raised that mobility can be overrated, when there is a problem caused by a lack of mobility there can be a good happy medium to reach I think.


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    I'm with Scott here. My shoulders got so tight at one point, they left my pecs in constant pain. My bench was strong, but I was holding back somewhat because it always felt like they were going to let go because of the pain.

    Once I got them loose, I backed off the lacrosse ball quite as much because it wasn't needed as much but I still maintain a level of stretching.

    Part of my issues is I sleep on my side as well. Now I sleep and move better and my bench definitely isn't going backwards.

    While I see the point raised that mobility can be overrated, when there is a problem caused by a lack of mobility there can be a good happy medium to reach I think.
    Your right Travis. Its all about finding a happy medium. I cut way back on my mobility and soft tissue work as I think Im just about healthy enough to do so. I was starting to get sore from too much rolling. In the end I have found a little bit goes a long way but a little bit is alot more then just doing nothing.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  20. #20
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I have found I need to roll much less now that I am hitting bodyparts only once a week. Rolling for me is becoming more of a warmup than a tool for recovery.

    This is awesome because I can put that extra time into my training. We only have a finite time to do things. Sometimes I can only handle so much time in the gym. When warming up and recovery takes up too much time, my training suffers.


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  21. #21
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I agree with the happy medium. What I am railing against is what I see as an overreaction on the part of MANY in the industry. ANY tightness is viewed as a terrible thing that must be avoided. As Alex said, there is a reason the body does what it does. I suppose we could use the callous analogy. A callous is a positive adaptation, but for a good deadlifter too much of a callous becomes a negative as it leaves the lifter prone to tears.

    I know people that will literally spend more time on mobility etc. than they do on training. That is overkill in my book and possibly even detrimental.


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  22. #22
    Senior Member Niko_El_Piko's Avatar
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    I never ever had that kind ot feeling in my life training in a power program.
    If you take your time to strech and aproach in a proper manner, it shouldn´t happen working a 1 rep max.
    Maybe, and just maybe, during off season, working hypertrophy I felt a kind of cramp in one of my pecs, but I think it is because I am not use to training in a 10/12 rep range... but as I said, it would happen onece in a while.

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