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Old 03-24-2006, 04:47 PM   #1
John Seiler
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I've recently begun to experience some shoulder impingement. I looked at some of the old posts about this but there wasn't a whole lot of info. I'm wondering if kipping and/or a high volume of pulling/pushing could be behind this. My problems in the past have usually stemmed from the opposite -more pushing than pulling so it seems counter-intuitive. Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 03-24-2006, 11:28 PM   #2
Matthew Heidt
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John,
If you can, try to do your pullups using a hammer grip instead of palm away/facing. I actually did a research study on this, and it is the most neutral position to do pullups.

Your biceps inserts directly into the very top of your shoulder's labrum. The labrum is a cartilaginous rim around the socket portion of the joint which acts to deepen the bowl as it were. SLAP lesions (superior labrum anterior to posterior) are very common in Navy SEALs, and SEALs do tons of pullups (rarely kipping though). My study postulated that there was some kind of correlation between the higher incidence of SLAPs in the SEAL Teams as compared to other military units and the prevalence of pullups and caving ladder climbing. I don't know if I really proved it, but the anatomy seems to bear out the concept that hammer grip pullups are less stressful on the shoulder joint.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-25-2006, 12:15 PM   #3
Garrett Smith
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I would agree with Matthew, do less pronated-grip and more hammer(neutral) and supinated-grip pullups.

You likely have some shoulder flexibility issues as well.
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Old 03-26-2006, 09:21 AM   #4
John Seiler
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Thanks guys. Before I started Crossfit (approx 2.5 months ago) I did most of my pullups with a neutral grip for that reason. I changed because it seemed harder to kip that way. I'll have to play around with it some more. I'm also going back to doing some one-handed barbell presses. My shoulders really seemed to like those, presumably due to all the stabilization necessary. I'll work on the stretching as well. Any specific stretches you've found to be helpful?
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Old 03-26-2006, 10:32 AM   #5
Garrett Smith
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Some basics (note they don't have to be done kneeling at all):

http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/stretch.asp

This is always in conjunction with proper OHS work and full ranges of motion throughout all WOD exercises. Cheating ROM not only cheats one out of strength, it cheats one out of flexibility as well.

One of my favorite stretches:
Set a bar at shoulder height. Facing away from the bar, reach back to grab it with both hands (one hand at a time), slightly wider than shoulder width, palms facing down. This may be a significant stretch already. Pull the shoulder blades together to open the chest and shoulders. To continue in the stretch, walk the feet back until they are directly centered under the bar. Keeping the heels on the floor, start squatting down until the desired stretch is achieved (it won't take long to get there). This is a similar stretch to what the back lever accomplishes. I use contract-relax (PNF) techniques to get an even deeper stretch. Hope that helps!
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Old 03-26-2006, 11:38 AM   #6
John Seiler
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Very cool. Thanks Garrett!
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:28 PM   #7
Dallas Hartwig
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John,
I actually have a friend that asked me a very similar question this past week. What I figured after watching him was that his "kip" wasn't really a "kip" at all but basically a ballistic pullup, where he "bounced" at the bottom position, which forcefully pulls the humeral head up into the acromion, causing a pinching (impingement). A good kip involves "pushing the bar away" at the top of the movement so you don't drop forcefully straight downward and cram your humeral head into your acromion, impinging (primarily) on your supraspinatus tendon. A kip isn't just a "cheating pullup" but a whole-body coordination movement. I've struggled with this myself - watch Eva T.'s kipping tutorial video (again if you've already watched it). Like Matthew said, you could do more supinated/neutral grip pullups, but I'd work back towards regular pullups as soon as your symptoms subsided. I'd also continue with strict, slow, full-range, dead-hang pullups to strengthen through the entire range of motion and prevent that "ballistic impingement." Best of luck!
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:06 PM   #8
John Seiler
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Thanks Dallas. Man, life's a funny thing! I was thinking about my kipping style during todays workout. I had to resort to some OH grip pullups today to finish and observed what I thought was a difference in the way I was coming down today, slightly softer. I also changed the way I kip; more vertical leg movement, less swing. Before, I was having difficulty pushing away from the top without disrupting what little flow I had. I'll continue to experiment/refine. Thanks again to all.
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