Weight bench
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Military surgeons observe spate of chest tear muscles among weightlifting service members

June 27, 2018

Maywood, IL — Chest muscle tears caused by weightlifting were treated at an “alarming frequency” in 2013 and 2014 at one armed forces hospital overseas, according to a recent study conducted by military surgeons.

Six researchers analyzed medical records and images of nine acute cases of pectoralis major muscle tears treated during a four-month deployment cycle. In each case, the soldier needed surgery and at least six months of recovery.

Researchers said that the tears may be attributable to “the increase in both intensity and frequency of physical training that occurs during deployments to the war zone.” According to a Loyola University Medical Center press release, they recommend that the military prohibit maximum-weight bench press competitions and that military members working out lift lighter weights with more repetitions.

Pectoralis major muscle tears are so uncommon among civilians that a shoulder-and-elbow surgeon may see less than one case per year, the release states.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Orthopedics & Rheumatology.