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Old 08-22-2006, 11:40 AM   #1
Dorie Ann Geissler
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After CrossFitting for about 7 months, I was still pretty weak at pull-ups. After attending the training seminar, I started to work on this weakness and can now do about 2 dead-hang pull-ups with either an overhand or underhand grip, I'm still working on the rhythm and grip strength on the kip.

However, when attempting dead-hamg pull-ups, I often get what I can best describe as a twinge in my left pec. Kind of an isolated non-chronic slight pain in what feels like just one part of the muscle. If I start the pull-up motion with my arms slightly flexed, this doesn't happen.

I've never really had a serious sports injury and don't want to start now. Does anyone know what this might be? I'm just worried that I could be risking tearing a pec or something.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:02 PM   #2
Jerimiah Childress
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It could be a pec strain, but I would expect that be a more predictable pain. My first thought when reading your post is wondering about your shoulder mobility and possibly some shoulder alignment issues or maltracking of your humerus. Are the pains getting more frequent, or increasing in intensity? What part of the pec is the pain? How long have you had this pain?
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:10 PM   #3
Dorie Ann Geissler
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Hmmm. No difference in frequency. Feels like somewhere in the middle of the muscle (I teach anatomy) best I can figure. I'm right-handed, could be something related to right-hand dominance and having more strength on that side. I guess I should ask a doctor, I just wonder if it is something I really have to be careful about.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:37 PM   #4
Jerimiah Childress
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It doesn't sound like anything immediately serious to me, with the information you gave, but I would recommend asking the doc next time you see one.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:04 PM   #5
Steven Low
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Try doing some rotator cuff exercises for the supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor. As you may well know the lat which is hit heavily during pullups is an internal rotator, so you might have a rotator cuff imbalance which can throw stuff off with the muscles around the shoulder. If this doesn't help, see a doctor and rest until it gets better.
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:45 AM   #6
Jim Lark
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Dorie,

I think it depends on if you do an overhand vs underhand pull-up. Overhand (palms facing away from the body) really works the lats and some muscles of the arms while the underhand pull-up works the lats but involves the biceps and the pecs at the end of the motion.

Just try simulating both motions while not on a bar. Doing the underhand, with hands shoulder width apart, as you pull up, the elbows come into the sides, the biceps flex, and the pecs flex to pull the elbows in.

With the overhand (and especially kipping), the pecs are stretched but not necessarily engaged to aid in the actual pull.

Hope this helps.
Jim
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Old 09-03-2006, 06:34 AM   #7
Lonnie Richardson
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Opposite for me.

I've torn my pecs a few times doing dips and neg. muscle-ups. When doing overhand grip chins I cannot keep the pecs fully relaxed and it will pull/hurt big time.

If i us an underhand grip and do chins slowly my pecs do not flex and there is no pain.

Now, keep in mind I can't do kipping pullups as I don't know how but I can do 20 straight with slow form. If I start to jerk my pecs will tighten and remind me to slow back down and relax.

I also had trouble with one pec(right) that would cramp because it's like a ball near the insertion from being torn a couple years ago. After a few months and getting into better condition the cramping subsided. I'm working on re-conditioning the left pec at the moment.

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Old 09-03-2006, 01:11 PM   #8
Mike ODonnell
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Sounds like a pull/strain like everyone already mentioned. Remember that the eccentric portion of a pullup or kip will generate much more force, so if the chest is tight and trying to activate it will end up taking on more load that it may want, and could lead to a slight tear. Keep your chest more flexibile and it should hopefully heal over time.
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