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Old 07-20-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
Matthew Lorig
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Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

I am trying to learn to dip properly. However, as of yet, I have not found any of the videos on the main site, or any of the previous posts on dips to be helpful.

My problem is the following: every time I do a dip, I feel an immense pressure on my sternum. It almost feels as though my sternum is about to break. And, in fact, I did crack my sternum two years ago doing dips. I'd rather not repeat the experience.

Has anybody else felt this sort of pressure before? If so, how did you correct it? My current thinking is that I am curling my shoulders inward as I dip. And, this is what is causing my chest to feel as though it is caving in. But, so far, my efforts to correct this have not been productive. I've tried messing around with my grip, varying both the width and angle of my hands. I've tried keeping my elbows in tight, and flaring them wide. I've tried leaning forward more, and also experimented with trying to stay upright. So far, no luck with anything.
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:22 PM   #2
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

Matthew, I get that pressure too, but only with bar dips. Try ring dips to see. Also try full range of motion HSPUs and ball planche push-ups on parallettes. They're more difficult and they don't hurt your sternum like you described. At least, I've never felt like they do.
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:45 PM   #3
Steven Low
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

Yep.. if it gets painful back off a bit and let it heal then build up volume slowly.

Common problem
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

Very common as Steve said.

They will hurt more on rings than bars more than likely.

Try starting off with bar dips as a negative, no positive or just a jumping bar dip. Take it slow.

This is one of those things that seems to take a long time to heal.

Ball planche pushups? I'd say start easier with pseudo planche pushups or deep pushups on paralettes then playing with support on rings in a pushup position or pushups there ( be careful ).
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:53 PM   #5
Matthew Lorig
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

I want to make certain I understand what is being said here. Feeling immense pressure on one's sternum while dipping is common? And, even cracking the sternum is common? I would very much like to do dips instead of bench press. But, if going through physical pain (i.e. pain in my sternum...not in my pectoral muscles) is normal, and if I can expect it to continue, then I'm going to give up on dips. I am perfectly willing to work hard in the gym. I just have no desire to continue with something that is physically painful. I can still do pushups and bench without pain. So, maybe I should just concentrate on that.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:35 PM   #6
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

It's not super common but it's a common complaint of dipping and it's expected.

Right now, I think my sternum is pretty much healed but some things still irritate it. Holding a lot of weight bracing against my chest does it ( spotting a kid in mid air or holding them ). Butterfly kipping pullups did it as well and I suspect because the chest is arched and quickly snapped to. I don't feel it in ring work anymore for the most part.

When I was recently getting back over that sternum pain I did very short ring support holds or pushups on rings and support work on stable surfaces ( parallel bars/single rail ) though pommel swings irritated the hell out of it.

I figured a little poison would help the healing process so long as it wasn't a lot.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:54 AM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

For people who are not used to working out with an extended ROM like dips provide it's common for the sternum and rib cartilage to be a bit "weak" thus leading to increased cracking and pulling feelings.

As long as you back off when it gets painful and build up volume slow you should be able to build into it. I did.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:52 AM   #8
Graeme Howland
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

I experience pain on bar dips (narrow/close grip) in my left shoulder/clavicle/upper sternum area. I feel the pressure usually as I come off the bars an it feels like a huge relief and returns to normal quickly. Strangely, I do not get this as much on ring dips. I broke my collarbone in that same area a few years ago so I'm sure it has to do with that. I read somewhere that trying to keep a "long neck" during dips helps, and it does make a difference for me. If the pain gets very intense, I just back off.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:00 PM   #9
Chris Patterson
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

I used to get sternum pain alot after doing dips. I would even get to the point where my sternum would pop on a big inhale or if I arched ny back. I'm not sure why the pain left me. ring dips like the others have said seem to take the shoulder pain away.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:13 PM   #10
Michael Ingley
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Re: Dips: feeling pressure on my sternum

its common when starting dips. The only reason you feel it is due to a lack of flexibility, it goes away pretty quick.
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