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Old 04-20-2009, 05:50 PM   #1
Gabriel Goodwin
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Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

I have been doing CrossFit for seven months now with tremendous gains in all areas of fitness, however lately I have noticed instability in both shoulders that was not there before I started CrossFit. Before doing CrossFit I had been doing a traditional bodybuilding bodypart split routine. I notice this problem specifically with kipping pullups. In a workout that involves a lot of pull ups, I am fine for the first 20-30. However, after that, my shoulders start to pop and it feels like something is shifting. If I continue doing pull ups after this point, the joint starts to get real sore, real fast. A couple weeks ago when I was running an obstacle course as part of my training for the Marine Corps, I felt my left shoulder pop out of the socket for a second and then pop back in while doing a college boy roll, essentially a very exaggerated pull up.

I don't want to stop CrossFit, I love it and the tremendous fitness it has afforded me. But, can anyone shed some light on why it is making my shoulders unstable? Does everyone have to just take a break every now and then? Maybe the human body cannot tolerate movements as intense and explosive as the kipping pull up over and over, for months at a time. I can't continue doing crossfit if it is causing instability that results in dislocations.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
Brian Bedell
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

I think it is more like your BB routine gave you weak shoulders and now you are realizing it b/c of CF. Scale your workouts more, esp. kipping apparently, and take more fish oil.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:15 PM   #3
Benjamin Goodale
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

maybe post some video to analyze your kipping form? it could be that you are landing too hard at the bottom of the pull-up and have not developed adequate shoulder stabilization to control your kipping swing. many people don't realize that you need to keep a strong active shoulder at throughout the swing, especially the bottom. if you are crashing into the bottom with a loose shoulder, you are just asking for trouble.

i'm not a physio-therapist, or a gymnastics expert...but maybe rest it for a few weeks...then when you come back to it,work on some slow controlled deadhang pull-ups to develop local strength.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:41 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

Do some specific external rotator cuff work + more horizontal pulling + stretch out your chest + GOOD POSTURE all the time

This should fix most stuff.... CF is not the problem... generally, it's the traditional BB that focuses on mirror muscles that is problematic.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:23 PM   #5
Gabriel Goodwin
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

Thanks for the replies. I don't think it has anything to do with my routine before I started crossfit, as I have been doing crossfit for seven months now and did not experience this shoulder instability until recently. Steven, I will try and follow what you said and do some external rotator work, however I don't think the problem is my form. I keep my shoulders active in the fall portion of the pull up and I still experience the "popping" I mentioned before. I think I will sub dead hangs for kipping pull ups for the next few weeks, then come back to kipping and see what happens.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:09 PM   #6
Cormac O'Connor
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

It could also just be, you know, an injury that has nothing to do with kips at all. If my shoulder started dislocating, I think I'd go get it checked out rather than try to figure out what might be causing it. (no reason you can't do BOTH of course... )
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:23 AM   #7
Shane Skowron
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

Take a week off from upper body work?
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:24 AM   #8
Ryan Whitley
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

Maybe focus on the eccentric portion when doing kipping pullups...if you are just letting yourself fall from the bar your body weight is going to try and pop your humerus out of socket. I have had similar experiences, which is why I do more dead-hang pullups than kipping pullups these days. Regardless of the cause, taking a few days off would definitely be beneficial.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:52 AM   #9
Gerhard Lavin
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

Pullups work the lats which act as a major internal rotator of the shoulder. If you already have internal rotation issues due to lots of benching they will further exasperate the issue.

Take Steven's advice. Strengthen the external rotators and stretch the chest. Also stretch your lats. I guarantee they will be very tight. Google "Diesel crew shoulder rehab" for a really great routine for shoulder rehab
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:20 AM   #10
Bob Guere
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Re: Shoulder instability as a result of CrossFit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
Take a week off from upper body work?
This is good advice, as is Steven Low's advice. I have similar issues with my shoulders (though I don't dislocate) with popping, soreness, stiffness. This creeps back in when I DON'T do a good warm up with dislocates, external rotation stuff... like dumbbell work, etc. etc. It's maintenance. We ask a lot of our shoulders in CF, if we want them to be happy along the ride, we better keep them tuned up.
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