Pectus Carinatum can have a sever impact on the physilogic effect of many children, including myself when I was a child. For people like me, being a self conscious person, the impact of having Pectus Carinatum was life changing. In my case it has made me a better person in personality and physical shape.
As a child the thought of having to take off my shirt in public was dreaded beyond explanation. Pool parties gave me anxiety and people poking at my chest and asking question was more than embarrassing. Covering my Pectus Carinatum became an obsession from early in my childhood and my first thought was surgical correction.
Pectus Carinatum Surgery
There were a few doctors in the country that treated Pectus Carinatum. When I saw a doctor in Atlanta Georgia I learned that my condition was considered purely a cosmetic problem and insurance would not cover it. Surgery was no longer an option. In pure frustration and desperation I turned to the internet to find other people who had fixed their Pectus Carinatum without surgery. Being the mid/late 1990’s the internet was not a valuable source for information on Pectus Carinatum. I had heard that some people covered their Pectus Carinatum by lifting weights. This was the start of a new lifestyle when I enrolled in a weight training class in 10th grade.
Bodybuilding for Pectus Carinatum
From 10th grade in high school until now, and the foreseeable future, I have been what you call a “gym rat”. My obsession to cover my Pectus Carinatum has kept me in the gym consistently for the past 12 years. I have developed an addictive habit that many people dream of having, to work out and be in shape. My childhood nightmare has turned me into a fitness/bodysculpting fanatic. My life has changed for the better because of my so called weakness.
As a child I was stared at, poked, and sometimes made fun of by other kids about my chest deformity. Now, as an adult people ask me for workout advice, they ask me what my motivation is, they ask me to be their personal trainer. My life has been sculpted, metaphorically and literally by my weakness. If I had one piece of advice to other people with ANY cosmetic deformity it would be to let it strengthen you, not destroy you. Your weaknesses can become your strengths, but you have to make a decision if that is going to happen.
Pectus Carinatum is often associated with scoliosis. I have a slight case of both. When lifting weights I pay close attention to my posture. Have you ever noticed when you lift, the weight tilts to one side more than the other? Don’t let this happen! If you have scoliosis this incorrect posture will make it worse, consequently it will exaggerate your uneven pecs! By keeping correct posture in the gym you can help correct your asymmetric pectus carinatum.
To keep correct posture on bench I make sure that:
1. Hands are spaced evenly apart
2. Wrists are strait (no bend)
3. Open grip,thumbs are on the same side of the bar as the other fingers. This can be dangerous so use light weight and have a spotter with his hands under the bar.
4. Another trick I use is to line the entire bench press up with the square ceiling tiles. I then use the ceiling as a guide to keep the bar straight. Pay close attention exert equal pressure with both your arms.
Practice posture techniques with just the bar and add weight as you develop better technique. Proper technique will make you stronger and your pecs will start to even out. The last thing I want is someone dropping a weight on their face because they were trying to be Mr. Universe. It doesn’t matter how much you lift, it matters HOW you lift.
As you practice using correct posture in the gym you will feel your back crack like you are at a chiropractor. Use the mirrors in the gym and make sure every workout you do is symmetrical.
The internal and external obliques are overlooked by most people who work out. In my case they are pertinent to my Pectus Carinatum workout. Most people can do sit ups and make their abs look good. For someone with Carinatum, doing sit ups alone will exaggerate the “V” shape of your chest. You want to increase your oblique workout to build the muscles under your pecs. Working out for Carinatum is an art and you must focus on building muscle where there is a void or depression in your body. In my case there are two sunken areas below my pecs.
Any twisting motion while you do sit-ups will work your obliques. This is the same for hanging leg raises with any twisting, side-to-side motion. There are literally dozens of different motions that will work these muscles. Get creative and or look up some oblique workouts on the internet. Let us all know what you figure out here on Carinatum.com. Every person has a unique case of Carinatum and they must taylor to their own needs. As you experiment you will see results. Check out more ab workouts here.
I haven’t shot the videos for my Pectus Carinatum workouts yet but I will say a little about it here now. The workouts are designed to mask my Carinatum. The muscles that you want to build are all the muscles around your pectus carinatum.
For me the targeted muscles were my upper abbs, lower chest and upper chest. Surprisingly, back workout played a significant role in correcting my Pectus Carinatum because it helped straighten my posture. I have a slight case of scoliosis associated with my Pectus Carinatum, and a lot of other people do too.
Now when I say I am doing 4 different muscle groups that does not limit me to only 4 exercises! My chest workout alone takes me 45 minutes if I do it right! So, if you have pectus and want to join this discussion remember that this was a hard road. Nonetheless, it was the best decision I made to spend all this time in the gym.
* Pectus carinatum, (L carīnātus, equiv. to carīn(a) keel), also called pigeon chest, is a deformity of the chest characterized by a protrusion of the sternum and ribs. It is the opposite of pectus excavatum. wikipedia