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Old 06-17-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
Grissim Connery
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Default Correcting exercises for shoulders

So I'm in the process of rehabbing my shoulders, and in the meantime, i'm trying to reevaluate my form on a lot of exercises and find where i was aggravating my shoulders. although i'm figuring many of them out, i'm having trouble evaluating my L-hangs and L-pullups as well as dips.

The problem in both these movements for me has something to do with how i am moving my shoulder blades and spine. I notice that when i do L work, i tend to round my back very hard, especially in thoracic area. getting my feet to raise up to the bar for a russian leg lift is quite easy. L-pullups on the other hand have been very iffy. they were easy for a bit, but i think this was temporary since i was using my shoulder incorrectly. to describe the feeling, i would start in an L-hang that would feel decent, but in order to start ascending from this point, i would feel my shoulders move in a somewhat uncomfortable manner. then they would get in a position from which i could pull up. i feel as though in order to pull up, my elbow would come in front of me, like when you're holding a barbell in the FS. when i would descend into a full L-hang, my elbows would being to point outward to the sides.

now when i try to get into what feels like a solid L-hang, it feels as if one of my shoulders slides up towards my ear, and i feel a pinching feeling in the acromium/impingement area.

in terms of dips, i feel that my upper back would tend to round really hard during the whole movement. another issue i noticed is that preceding my shoulder issues, i began feeling dips less and less in my pecs. i feel now that if i can concentrate hard and put a squeeze in my pecs, the shoulder gets some alleviation. the problem though is that i feel the position feels completely unstable when i flex my chest. it appears like when somebody first gets on the rings and looks all wobbly. when i control the motion and straighten out and look all nice, my shoulders start to feel like crap.

when should the shoulder blades come together, and when should they separate while you're doing dips?

i tend to notice that when my shoulders are starting to feel bad, folding my legs back and squeezing my hamstrings, gluts, and spinal erectors helps things feel a lot better. my sports therapist said that i don't seem to have mobility issues in my thoracic spine. the problem is more the strength/coordination to activate it. i'm wondering if by contracting all the rest of the posterior chain just automatically makes the thoracic erectors activate properly as well. could this correlate to the fact that i can hold a full back lever, but my front lever is hardly even straddled?

obviously since these hurt, i'm not really working them. i am playing with them just for a few seconds every once and a while to try to figure out how to correct them. my sports therapist made it sound as if i shouldn't every do dips again. he may be correct, but i'd rather make sure that i try to get perfect form and see what happens before i abandon them. i love dips and muscle ups, so i'm not likely to accept that these are over...

the problem with my right shoulder lies int he AC joint. my right shoulder is really loose. i can't remember exactly what he said was wrong with the left shoulder, but i think the muscle patterns are firing incorrectly or something. i dunno, i gotta ask him again cause i need to understand it. my right shoulder normally gets pain in the posterior side, especially when i press out sideways like in a side plank. my left shoulder gets pain in the anterior, impingement area.

i am evaluating other motions as well, but figuring these 2 out seems like they could answer a lot of my questions.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:52 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Well, dips are fairly complicated movement for the shoulder, so it could be any of a lot of things that could be going wrong. Same with the L-pullups and such.

A vid of you doing them (dips and L pullups) would help clarify them a lot. Both the side angle and the back/front angle (with bare chest).

What you can be doing to help your shoulders obviously is rotator cuff work... mostly external + thoracic mobility and shoulder flexibility stuff. Ice and massage to the whole area to help alleviate any lingering inflammation and tightness.

That tends to clear up most stuff unless you have imbalances.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:54 AM   #3
Grissim Connery
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I'll try to get some videos up. i don't know why i didn't think that an exercise form question might be benefited by a video hah.

i just found out about the eight point pose in yoga. this pose is ridiculously intense on my upper back, and i feel that it has a lot of correlation to my shoulder issues. i think i need to work on the dolphin pose a lot as well. i always do a good bit of downward dog and didn't realize how dramatically different the dolphin pose can feel from the downward dog.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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steven - i just checked out a bunch of your youtube videos. those are so sick! the slapping thigh l-pullups are intense.

when you do your weighted dips, why do you put the backpack on the front? thinking about it, it makes sense in a way. it seems like you would actively keep your spine erect since the weight would be pulling you forward. is this the reason why? i wanna try the weight around the neck because i have a tendency to droop my head forward when i do dips.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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If you've got A/C joint injury history, you might really want to reconsider/avoid weighted dips--tons of stress on the A/C joint with that movement, weight won't help.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grissim Connery View Post
steven - i just checked out a bunch of your youtube videos. those are so sick! the slapping thigh l-pullups are intense.

when you do your weighted dips, why do you put the backpack on the front? thinking about it, it makes sense in a way. it seems like you would actively keep your spine erect since the weight would be pulling you forward. is this the reason why? i wanna try the weight around the neck because i have a tendency to droop my head forward when i do dips.
When I had two backpacks (other strap broke.. this one is breaking too b/c of the 60 lbs in it) I put one on back and one on front. I like putting it on front (1) because it's easier and (2) because it feels better.

I would speculate that yes it helps me engage my posterior musculature better which is conducive for pushing heavier weights. Leaning forward a bit helps me activate more musculature as opposed to upright where it would be more of a pure triceps push as well.

Don't put TOO heavy a weight around your neck. Most I put is ~20 lbs at max. Can be dangerous especially if you get enough shear force to cause spondylolisthesis (anterior slippage of a vertebral disk). Correct posture is good overall though.


Also, what Garrett said.. if you're having AC joint issues I would advise against dips for a bit. I have a lax right AC joint, BUT my body and musculature is strong enough to handle heavy dipping without it being a concern. If you're weaker around the shoulder, and dips are giving you problems with your AC joint I'd avoid them for now.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:26 AM   #7
Grissim Connery
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yesterday i tried hooking the weight around my neck and performing various exercises. my shoulders felt dramatically better on just about every exercis i did. i also felt like i was approaching a more proper body position on each exercise.

one of the most dramatic differences i noticed was in front lever work. i used an old bjj belt to drape the weights around my neck and hang them through my crotch. because of all the grappling i do, my body has a tendency to ball up into fetal like positions. this is ideal for BJJ, but it sucks when i'm trying to do things like front levers and i can't tell my spine to straighten. anyways, the weight around the neck made my erectors automatically fire, and thus the hold felt a ton better. i tried it with a lot of stuff including manna work, and it all made my shoulders feel great.

i guess my problem lies somewhere in the fact that i probably droop my head down. i used to hurt my neck all the time grappling. it hasn't gotten hurt in a long time, but i think my shoulders got more iffy as my neck avoided injury. i guess this is related.
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