No Pain, No Gain: Chest Rockers

No Pain, No Gain: Chest Rockers

You want to look tough as nails, but why does this tattoo hurt so much?

Tattoodo is your number one destination for everything tattoos — finding a shop, preparing for your first tattoo, learning more about the tattoo community. Our guides are meant as a toolkit to help you be the best client and learn how to work with your tattoo artist to create the tattoo of your dreams. Remember: No matter what you read on the internet, your artist’s advice should be considered the gold standard.


The pain associated with getting a tattoo is considered a rite of passage. There are many ways to prepare for your tattoo so that you can mitigate some of your pain, but there are just some places that hurt more than others. In this edition of Tattoodo Guides, we take you on a journey for how to prepare for the pain of certain tattoo placements. Today we’re tackling chest rockers.


1. Your sternum is pressed right up against your skin.

There isn’t a lot of muscle or fat between your sternum and your skin. Press there now with your fingertips — see? A tattoo needle is breaking past your epidermis, your first layer of skin, into your dermis, your second layer of skin where connective tissue lies. While the needle isn’t going deep enough to hit anything, the less “meat” behind it, the more you’re gonna feel it.

“I actually wanted to punch my tattoo artist in the face [when I was getting my chest done],” Ross, staff writer at Tattoodo, says. “It was fight or flight mode, you know?”

2. Your nerves are trying to protect you.

If you’ve been tattooed before, you know that the pain comes in waves. This is because your body is creating a natural response to the pain being inflicted. You feel major pain at first, then plateau, then pique again. Basically, your central nervous system is trying to send messages to you that this is a dire situation — fight or flight — and your continued patience with the pain is making your nerves go a little haywire.


3. Your chest is an incredibly vulnerable area.

Think about it — you’re lying on your back while someone leans on top of you and uses a sharp instrument to carve into your skin, right above your heart, pectoral muscles, and rib cage. If just that description alone is enough for you to curl over yourself in a protective stance, then you can understand why there seems to an inordinate amount of pain with getting a chest rocker. The psychology behind being actively hurt in that area of your body runs deep — protect the heart, at all costs. And to get a little hippy about it, that there is your heart chakra, where you hold your kindness, love, and compassion. It’s a sensitive zone.


But is it worth it? Of course it is. Think about the pros of having a grandiose chest rocker tattoo — you look great in tank tops, you’ve got a permanent badge of how bad-ass you are, and you can scare away bullies at the beach. Remember to hydrate, eat well, and breathe into the pain, and you’ve got this.

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