If you’ve connected your chest pain to your deadlift routine—a definite cause and effect—yet experience no chest pain during other strenuous activities, this is very likely musculoskeletal in origin.

If any pain or pressure in the chest is accompanied by shortness of breath, unexplained sweating, nausea, a faint feeling and/or pain in the arm or jaw, you should go to the emergency room to get checked for heart trouble.

The deadlift is one of the greatest compound exercises, involving the whole body, though some muscles much more than others.

Being the fierce whole-body exercise that it is, why wouldn’t it cause chest discomfort in some people on occasion?

Though the deadlift is primarily a back exercise, with arm and leg involvement, this doesn’t mean that the chest structure does simply nothing during the action.

“I have treated many weightlifting patients who suffered from some degree of costo-sterno chondritis or simply a misaligned rib head or heads as they insert into the sternum,” says Dr. Tom Carpenter, corrective exercise specialist, certified personal trainer and chiropractor, inventor of Stand Corrected™, a portable harness-like stretching tool that helps alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain.

“This can be due to the excessive internal rotation of the anterior rib cage when deadlifting,” continues Dr. Carpenter.

“Many times treating the involved rib head(s) with chiropractic adjustments and resting the area will solve the problem.”

In addition, make sure that you’re thoroughly warming up before pulling heavy weight. Don’t just dive into the heavy loads.

dr. carpenter

Photo credit: Aleesia Forni

Used daily and over time, the Stand Corrected™ stretching tool can reverse back damage caused by years of poor posture.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 
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