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Old 08-29-2007, 12:06 PM   #1
Matthew Edwards
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Dips and shoulder pain

Hi all,

I know that CF puts alot of emphasis on dips, and higher level movements like muscle-ups that incorporate that movement. My question is, does anyone every have pain when doing dips, specifically in the shoulder? Through the years I have trained, I have noticed great benefit when using them, however, I separated my shoulder about 5 years ago, and since then, more than a couple workouts with dips and it flares up. Is it possible that my form is somehow putting too much stress on that joint? It is also worth pointing out that the way I separated it in the first place was doing dips between benches....with four plates on my lap. A stupid time and a stupid injury to deal with because of it but it is what it is. I love dips and hope that without all the other benching etc. that I have been putting my shoulders through it will not give rise to the same pain, but still wondering if others experience this and if they have any tips. I've only been doing this for 3 days so no dips yet (not yet doing the CFWU either, but starting soon), but am a bit apprehensive about doing them. Want to, just want to be safe about it.

Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:47 PM   #2
John Seiler
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

Matthew,

How did you rehab your shoulder? Unless you worked that movement in rehab, you probably have some residual problems specific to that movement. You'll obviously want to consult your doctor before you resume the movement. If he/she approves, I would start back with assisted dips and work your way back up to more challenging things. Get your stability, coordination, and strength back first.
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:01 PM   #3
Zach Even - Esh
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

this may not be the popular answer, but, through experience, dips done on a regular basis bother my shoulders so I do them sparingly, although they are awesome.

My wrestlers also experience these pains, and the compromising positions the shoulder is placed in on a regular basis for wrestlers doesn't help, so you have to listen to your body and do what it feels.

Also, if there is a certified ART Doc in your area get a visit and see how the treatments help.

Also, feel free to vary the pressing movement you use, doesn't have to be dips on a regular basis, simply cycle on / off from them as needed

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Old 08-29-2007, 02:00 PM   #4
Matthew Edwards
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

John - No I never did the movement in rehab. The AC Joint also became arthritic, and they told me that benching would always cause pain, but I have zero problems with bench or really any other movement except dips so shows that that guy knew. But I was thinking along the same lines, starting off with some assisted dips and slowly moving up. I am thinking of just doing bench dips with my feet on the floor, then graduating to feet up on a bench then finally trying the normal dips. In the past few years, I have never tried tha and just gone straight into the dips and I think you are right, the area is just not ready for that.

Zach - One step ahead of ya buddy Looked up an ART guy in the area this morning, both for that and I have some nagging lower back/hip issues on the right side. I think it is due to the excessive pronation in my ankles and am thinking I need to get some orthotics again. Wore them when I was very young, but then the doc said I did not need them any more. I am thinking the time has come for them again...I have alot of stability issues in squats and DL because of them rolling inward.

Going to have to take everything slow.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:15 PM   #5
David Aguasca
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

try and find a way to do them pain-free, but always consider the alternative of not doing them. yeah, dips are an AWESOME upper-body exercise, but no exercise is worth an injury.

for example...i can do pistols, but every time i've tried them in the last 5 years, my knees twinge sharply. mind you, i can back squat heavy with no pain at all. pistols are a great exercise, but they hurt-so i don't do them. i back squat.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:32 PM   #6
Chris Walls
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

Are the dip bars you use parallel or angled out? I find when I use the angled out stations my shoulders hurt like crazy almost instantly following a set, but if they're parallel I can do them pain free (well... the wrong kind of pain free. they still hurt so good )

Before I figured that out tho, I used to walk around with a medicine ball/kettle bell held 1 handed overhead, arm locked out. Seemed to help work my rotator cuff just enough to make it stronger and work the kinks out so the pain would go away. Keep in mind I never had any official injuries there so you may or may not want to try that, as I am not a doctor, not even close.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:44 AM   #7
Corey Duvall
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

Dips are a great exercise. I have heard them be called the "squat of the upper body" and I would whole-heartedly agree. However, just like any complex functional movement they must be done safely and with proper form; often the dip is not done so. The danger with the dip is allowing your shoulders to elevate and move forward. This moves your shoulder blade in a way that was not meant to support weight from that angle and puts your rotator cuff at a disadvantage. Just like Rippetoe's shoulder press videos lately, you must engage the shoulder blades to encounter the weight. However, with a dip the weight is coming from the bottom, so push your shoulder blades down and back, spreading your chest tall. A good rule of thumb, is with any pushing movement, push the shoulder blades through your hands at the end of the movement, and any pull movement pull your shoulder blades away from your hands. This is the way our shoulders were truly meant to work. Allowing the shoulders to rise is a common problem with the dip, especially they way Matthew originally injured it. His hands were behind him on the bench, making it easier to allow those shoulders to drift forward. I think this problem comes about by the misconception that the dip is a triceps exercise. A properly performed, full ROM dip works the entire upper body, and very well I might add. Good luck in your improvements.
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:46 AM   #8
Matthew Edwards
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

Thanks for the advice everyone, and Corey I think you are absolutely correct. For one, I know that I never thought about the shoulder blade aspect and that the shoulders were most definitely being pushed upwards , almost like when doing a barbell shrug. Also, again correct with how it was injured in the first place: doing dips as a tricep exercise, so all of the weight was essentially straight up the upper arm with no chest interaction at all, just pusehd the joint to high and popped one of the ligaments in the AC Joint. I will work back in slowly and make sure to work on proper form. Thanks for the tips on pushing the shoulder blades "through" the hands. You said there was a Rippetoe video on the proper form for SP, is there one for dips? I'll look on the exercise/demo list but if anyone knows of somewhere else that may have videos of good form, that would be much appreciated.

And I do not remember about whether the bars were parallel or not Chris. I have not done thme in awhile, but I believe that they were parallel...we have memberships to the Y, and though I prefer working out home if I have the equipment for it (still working on that, have very basic bar, weights and door pullup bar (suck)), I will probably head in this weekend and work on some Gravitron dips and just reduce most of the load and just practice dip form, using the shoulder blades correctly etc.

Once again, thanks for all the info everyone!
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:41 PM   #9
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

I have often found that if I haven't warmed up my shoulders and chest, dips are gonna hurt.

For example, about 2 weeks I hopped onto my friend's rings at his place at night and pumped out about a dozen ring dips. 2 weeks later and my suprinatus and rhomboid are still tight. Baring in mind that this tends to happen with my right shoulder ( because it is mussed up due to a shoulder seperation last year ).

If I warm up, no problems. I can do dips on parallel bars with some irritation cold but no way on rings.


Something to think about it.
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:27 PM   #10
Aileen Reid
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Re: Dips and shoulder pain

Dips tend to hurt my right shoulder. I had the left one tightened about 15 years ago. I manage the right one. For me I think the shoulder postition is really important but also keeping up my rotator cuff exercises, I think we tend to forget these unseen stabilising muscles that are so important.
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