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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 10-05-2007, 08:42 PM   #1
Carl Israelsson
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Can't do dips.

Hey everyone,

I can't do dips because of what I fear is an injury to my sternum. I'm new to crossfit so the first time I ever did dips seriously was a few weeks ago. My sternum has caused me trouble for about 6 months on and off (nothing serious). It bothered me a little bit but I didn't think anything of it. A few days ago I did some dips during my warmup and the exercise turned into more of a sternum-pain endurance exercise than a tricep, shoulder, and chest strengthening movement. I tried a smaller ROM too and that didn't seem to help. Bottom line, dips are not for me, a least for now.

Needless to say, I have been trying to find a substitute. The first thing that came to mind was pushups with your hands touching in the middle while keeping your elbows close to your sides, as these seem to work the same set of muscles in about the same ratio.

Let me know what you think would be a good sub. for dips. I hope leaving out dips and consequently ring dips and muscle ups won't take much away from the end result I get from CF.

Thanks a lot,
Carl
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:55 AM   #2
Fabiano Burzacca
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Re: Can't do dips.

Why don't you try to find a way to heal your sternum ache instead? Maybe seeking for a good physician or physiotherapist? I too can't do dip right now, 'cause my right shoulder is aching from an old time work injury, aggravated by the restart of swimming season. My plan of action is let the shoulder recover, treat it with the help of my physiotherapist and then get back to dips, of course with a slow but steady pace (even only a dip a day at the beginning).
(And yes, this seems a good candidate to be moved to injury forum maybe)
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:59 AM   #3
Gorm Laursen
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Re: Can't do dips.

A good guess would be that the dip station you're using has the handles too wide apart. Even though I'm a big guy with long arms and a wide chest, I find the handles are too far away and I get these sternum pains aswell when I haven't dipped in a while. Shift to close grip puhups instead. Almost the same impact on triceps.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:57 AM   #4
Brandon Oto
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Re: Can't do dips.

Rings are really a good upgrade as far as this goes.
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Old 10-07-2007, 03:39 AM   #5
Alex Rosch
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Re: Can't do dips.

I found that when I started CF dips could/would hurt. The cartilage where my sternum meets my ribs would ache, and was sore to touch. I should say that the Costal cartilages articulate. So moving these under a load would be something that you would/should feel the next day, so to speak.
When I dip, I find myself leaning forward onto my hands...if you change the line of action and the load by, for example, putting your feet on a chair/bench and dipping like that, you may see some relief. Or, if you have access to a graviton (there isn't one for 100km from my house), that could work too. Try the flex-band elastic tubes that one would use to assist pull-ups. Or, do negatives.
FYI, it took me close to a month to get to where my 'sternum', really my costal cartilages, didn't hurt. Mind you, there was also 'pain' (soreness really) in between the manubrium and the body of the sternum (the upper 1/3rd and the lower 2/3rds...not including the Xiphoid process).
I'm not a medical doctor, but I say change up the load and angle, and take ibuprofen (advil) and ice it. If that doesn't do anything for you, stop and go see someone. Obviously, if it hurts like hell when you're dipping, you need to take a day or two (or three) off and start fresh another day.
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Old 10-07-2007, 03:57 AM   #6
Matt Fargen
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Re: Can't do dips.

Check out costochondritis. Other conditions could mimic this. It tends to be chronic. Your doctor could diagnose this. Antiinflammatory medications (which I would use very sparingly like 1 Alieve every other day or so) and range of motion with very low load could help. I'd suggest chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. I don't see that it could hurt. I already take this myself proactively as I am starting crossfit from total sedentary history. make sure your diet is very well balanced too. Good luck. Consider a complete examination, and ruling out other forms of arthritis like rheumatoid, lupus as well. You wouldn't necessarily know if you had these conditions without blood tests.
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Old 10-07-2007, 08:57 AM   #7
Carl Israelsson
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Re: Can't do dips.

Thanks guys,

I actually have done a lot of research about sternum pain and am going to see a doctor later this week. I hope it's something that can heal. I'm not a doctor either, but from what I have been experiencing, I don't think that it is the kind of injury that will get better as I work through it.

I tried narrower grips and using the gravitron (taking some load off my sternum, which feels better) but both of those options are really far from where I live.

In the meantime, while I am resting from dips, I was looking for something that works the same groups to sub... any ideas?

Thanks
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:17 AM   #8
Conrad Schaefer
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Re: Can't do dips.

Jumping ring dips may be good. I have some sternum pain on some dip stations. I don't feel this on the rings with ring dips and I think there would be even less doing jumping ring dips.
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