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Old 10-19-2005, 10:09 PM   #1
Eric Cimrhanzel
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My right shoulder has been bothering me for a few weeks now, even after I took an off week, and the ONLY time I feel it is with kipping pullups.

It's a small sharp pain (which means Stop Doing Pullups You Idiot), but it's nonexistent unless I'm coming down on the bar after the pullup. I first felt it the night I completed the 5 rounds of 45lb dumbbell Thrusters and 15 Bar Muscle-ups, and has been acting up ever since. I didn't even feel it today until I was trying for a PR. I got up to 20 before I felt that specific pain again. I then tried a slow L-sit pullup, and my shoulder started hurting again, so I just terminated the set.

It only occurs on the downphase, but usually only if I'm not actively slowing my descent.

However, it stops immediately after I stop doing the pullups. There is no lasting pain at all, and it doesn't affect any other movements I do. Or workouts, for that matter, unless they involve pullups or bar muscle-ups. So I can lift kettlebells any which way, do Overhead Squats for sets of 5 and 15 just fine with a barbell and with added weight, and any other bodyweight PT I want to involving my shoulders, but it's just the pullups on that sharp downward phase.

I do Joint Mobility a la Steve Maxwell nearly every day and have a PVC pipe to do shoulder dislocates, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

Just curious if anyone had anything on this. Obviously, none of my NSCA or other academic journals even pretend to address this type of pullup.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:12 AM   #2
Brian Hand
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Eric, are you in the mood for a half baked theory today? Here you go.

When you're coming down fast, the stabilizers have to kind of hold the joint together in a good position, then kick in fast at the end to slow and stop your descent. If you don't get to the bottom in a good position, or the muscles don't act fast enough to slow your descent, the joint itself is going to have to catch you. This is not a good way to keep happy, healthy, shoulders.

Now for a half baked idea to resolve the problem. First, you'd have to make sure the shoulder is essentially healthy, no tightnesses or weaknesses preventing proper function. That is in itself a big can of worms, but if the shoulder is fine with everything else you do, maybe everything really is fine. I'd try all the basic tests I could think of though, not just the functional exercises you do. As you know, the body is a genius about finding functional workarounds.

If the shoulder is okay, it's a matter of retraining the motor pattern, learning to decelerate properly. For example, you could do pullups with a jumpstretch band (at least a purple, maybe a green band) paying special attention to keeping good position and smooth motion as you reverse at the bottom. You could gradually build back your speed and go to a lighter band, then no band.

The tricky part would be paying attention to good position with the lightened work. It's possible you've just gotten sloppy, you're letting the elbows turn in a little, one side is holding harder than the other, etc. etc. The lightened work doesn't help at all if you don't correct the bad habit - in fact it would just reinforce it.

I guess you could use a Gravitron too if you're man enough. I know you'd probably prefer to show up for PT in a ballet tutu but injuries are nothing if not humbling.
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