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The pullup is a strength-training exercise that targets the muscles of your upper arms, shoulders, chest and back. If you begin to experience pain in your chest during or immediately after a set of pullups, stop the exercise and consult a health-care provider. The pain likely stems from a strained pectoral muscle, but your symptoms could also indicate a more serious condition.
Pectoral Muscle Strain
Your pectoral muscles are located in your chest and can easily become strained by an ambitious pullup workout. If the pain in your pectorals seems to be centered around a particular spot that is tender when pressed, it is likely that you have a slight strain or muscle tear. Strains can usually be treated at home with plenty of rest and ice to reduce swelling and pain, but you should always have a doctor evaluate your condition to be sure. Do not return to your regular pullup routine until the muscle has completely healed.
Possible Heart Disease
Always take into an account that the pectoral pain you are experiencing could be a heart attack or angina, indicating heart disease. If your body is not used to a regular workout, suddenly beginning a strenuous session of pullups could lead to angina or a heart attack. Consult your doctor immediately to rule out heart disease as a cause of your pain.
The pain in your pectorals after an intense workout could also be the result of a pinched nerve or costochondritis. This is a condition in which the cartilage that connects your sternum to your ribcage becomes inflamed, causing a dull ache and sometimes sharper pains when you move. This condition can be relieved by slowing or stopping your regular workout routine until the pain subsides. You may also be able to treat the pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. Consult your physician for a definite diagnosis and treatment regimen.
Pain after exercise can usually be avoided or at least managed by proper warm-up and cool-down routines. Before beginning a workout, warm up with a light form of cardio, such as a jog or brisk walk, followed by some stretches that focus on the particular muscle group you will be exercising. If you are beginning a new exercise regime, consult your doctor on the appropriate level of intensity to avoid risk of a heart attack. Hydrate throughout your workout and stretch and cool down at the end with a light jog.