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Old 01-16-2009, 06:06 AM   #1
Victor Putz
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Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Since actually being able to do pullups, I have now begun the seemingly inevitable process of finding new ways to injure my shoulders.

In this case, though, it's a bit weird. My shoulder is fine in almost every way--I can do ring dips, OHS, all kinds of stuff with no issues whatsoever.

I can pull up no problem. But on my right side, about halfway up through a pull (or the same movement at no weight) I can feel a "click" when my upper arm is about 90 degrees (I'm doing this motion at my desk and looking a bit silly). During pullups, I can't feel this, but when coming down at about 90 degrees, I'll get a little twang of pain at about that point.

It's only when coming down, only on right side, and only when vertical. If I have enough "layback", I don't feel it at all (which means if I kip well enough, I don't feel much, but if my kip gets lazy and my body rotates so that I'm lowering with my arms more vertical, TWANG!).

I have a hard time localizing the pain, but it does make me cautious about pullups, particularly kipping. And it only seems to come into play with pullups. Any suggestions on what this could be, or how to stretch/reduce troubles? I looked at impingement, and I'm not sure this is it; there's no pain except in that once instance, no trouble reaching or lifting, no trouble with arm behind the back--no trouble pulling up (although that's where the click happens). Only lowering under load seems to do it.
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
Justin Lascek
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Hard to give advice without knowing the exact location.

But, some things that you could do to prevent future problems may include:
- Getting strong in the fundamental lifts (deadlift, press, squat, bench)
- Getting coaching pertaining to the pull-up (including all variations, kipping or not)
- Getting strong with the pull-up

My first inclination is that you may have a form issue if you are flaring your elbows out to the side at ninety degrees, if I read that correctly.

Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:29 AM   #3
Victor Putz
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Quote:
Hard to give advice without knowing the exact location.
Fair enough; problem is it's hard to describe a location. The "click" I just sort of "feel"; I can't point out where it is. The pain is a sharp twang located--well, I can't tell terribly well, but it looks like around the pointed position of the lesser tubercle in this pic (just random "grab a pic and point at the position" job here based on no anatomical knowledge):

http://www.utdol.com/online/content/...ant_muscle.jpg

Keep in mind that the upper arm is pointed straight out when this happens (like I was pointing at something in front of me with my elbow, sorta), so it's as if something in that area is clicking under something else as it rotates (??)

Quote:
My first inclination is that you may have a form issue if you are flaring your elbows out to the side at ninety degrees, if I read that correctly.
While I'm probably not a prince of perfect form, elbows are in fairly tight (hands slightly inside shoulder width; limitation of my doorway bar I'm afraid) and rotated down toward my chest, not flared out to the side at 90. Not a champion at the basic lifts, but have gone through a SS cycle with decent results and no injuries. This is just puzzling me.

Hm.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:15 AM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Wait, so is it a click pain or a twang pain? Also, how much tension to you release in your lats or pulling muscles in the descent? If you dig in there with your fingers can you feel any swelling? Is there any large muscle difference between the posterior and anterior sides of your shoulder?

It seems to me that either the long head biceps tendon is moving which could be the "twang" or something like the subacromial bursa is impinging against the acromion (which is why I'm asking about tension).

Do some cross friction massage on the whole shoulder especially the area up top near the bone where the supraspinatus and its tendon are. Sometimes (at least for me), the muscle or tendon get bunched up and thus give some shoulder pain in dynamic movements.

Other thing I think you should do is some external rotation exercises to strengthen your infraspinatus and teres minor. Tennis ball/foam roll these two muscles (on the posterior side of the scapulae). Then do some side lying external rotations and cuban presses or something like that. Most other shoulder pain is caused by muscle imbalances so I want to eliminate that.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:31 PM   #5
Victor Putz
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

As others have said, good to have you back, Steven. In fact it was one of your threads about impingement that had me wondering about this.

Quote:
Wait, so is it a click pain or a twang pain?
Heh. My explanations could obviously use some work. It's a "twang" pain, in that it has a sharp onset which fades fairly rapidly. I only feel the "twang" (pain) when descending under load; I only notice the "click" (no pain) at about the same position when pulling my arm down without load, as if I was doing a pullup. I get neither click nor twang on my left arm.

Quote:
Also, how much tension to you release in your lats or pulling muscles in the descent?
Hmm. At the point when it happens, I've tried it both ways--I think. Hmm... (running upstairs to try a few). Weird, couldn't replicate the pain this time, although I can sit here and replicate the click at will. I do seem to have more trouble with it at speed (if I am slower and have tension in my lats/pulling muscles I seem to be more "laid back" and don't get it). Curiously, though, I also didn't get it during jumping pullups when exhausted. Hm.

Quote:
If you dig in there with your fingers can you feel any swelling? Is there any large muscle difference between the posterior and anterior sides of your shoulder?
I can't feel any swelling (at the moment the area on both sides is suffering from a little DOMS but I don't notice any difference in tenderness or size between the sides). I feel like there is a little more muscle on the front (anterior) side, not a massive difference but I think it's there.

For what it's worth, I have what I think is "snapping triceps syndrome" on my right arm as well (click over what I think is the right part at about 90 degrees flexion when doing lots of pushups), and the "click" feels similar (although have another "click" in my left hip when lowering an extended leg from an "l" position to the ground... very clicky body I have, it seems, but luckily not much pain).

Quote:
Most other shoulder pain is caused by muscle imbalances so I want to eliminate that.
Wouldn't surprise me if this is the case (old programmer, now a grad student in physics, so lots of time spent hunched at a computer, a constant battle to retract scapulae and bring head back).

Good feedback; I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:38 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Have you done the rotator cuff tests for external, internal and supraspinatus to see if anything hurts. That would give a good indication if something is wrong with the RC as well.

I do think that there's something loose in there.. at least it sounds like it. Either probably tendon or nerve going somewhere it shouldn't.

Docs got nothing to say on this?


Found something on loose transverse humeral ligament.. which would allow the biceps brachii long head to move around but.. apparently associated with some subscap instability too. May or may not be helpful.

wfs
http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/34/1/72.full
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Last edited by Steven Low : 01-17-2009 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:36 PM   #7
Victor Putz
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Minor update on this (from a while ago)--

The pullup bar I'm using is one of those door-gym things with "hammer-grip" (palms facing each other) bars sticking out about where I want to put my palms-away grip. That means when doing pullups, my hands are a bit inside that. I tried with my hands outside the "hammer grip" bars and didn't feel the same twanging, but the actual metal bar is a bit small for comfort.

However, "palms facing me" pullups don't seem to cause the pain with the closer grip; I did several kipping pullups that way with no bad effects.

So--doubt the problem is fixed, and I'd rather do palms-away pullups, but I'll take what I can get. Eventually I'll have a proper bar, which may help.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:53 PM   #8
Brett Dartt
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

my shoulder does this as well but im thankful for it because its the *** end of a nasty impingement. gets better every week. for now only thing that really hurts is the bottom of pullups, doing dips and the bottom of overhead squats when your arm/shoulder tends to slightly rotate out.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:55 PM   #9
Brett Dartt
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Re: Twang in shoulder lowering from pullup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Wait, so is it a click pain or a twang pain? Also, how much tension to you release in your lats or pulling muscles in the descent? If you dig in there with your fingers can you feel any swelling? Is there any large muscle difference between the posterior and anterior sides of your shoulder?

It seems to me that either the long head biceps tendon is moving which could be the "twang" or something like the subacromial bursa is impinging against the acromion (which is why I'm asking about tension).

Do some cross friction massage on the whole shoulder especially the area up top near the bone where the supraspinatus and its tendon are. Sometimes (at least for me), the muscle or tendon get bunched up and thus give some shoulder pain in dynamic movements.

Other thing I think you should do is some external rotation exercises to strengthen your infraspinatus and teres minor. Tennis ball/foam roll these two muscles (on the posterior side of the scapulae). Then do some side lying external rotations and cuban presses or something like that. Most other shoulder pain is caused by muscle imbalances so I want to eliminate that.
youre so awesome dude. im glad your back here posting again
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