Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General shoulder pain on ring dips & push-ups but no problem with presses, HSPU, or anything OH???

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    • #70493
      AvatarRobert Souza

      I’ve tried so many different mobilities but all they do is improve the things I do not have serious issues with, like better rom with all my OH stuff, loosening the shoulders for pull-ups, and warming up for HSPU. Those things are great, but none of those movements cause pain. I have severe shoulder pain and it seems my shoulders just won’t hold my weight when doing push-ups and ring dips. Sometimes the pain & instability is so great, that I cannot even hold the starting top position of either movement. Seems to be worse on LT side.

      (Note: I am Leonid’s wife.) I can press 103#, jerk 178#, OHS 150#, snatch 145#, do strict HSPU & kipping HSPU all without pain… but I can’t do push-ups or ring dips without pain. ??? I can’t figure this out. Can anyone help. Thanks.
      Monique (Leo’s wife)
    • #72838

      You are doing different mobilizations, but they are not hitting your trouble area. You may need to look up or down stream of the issue to uncover the root cause of the issue.
      Sounds like you could have a load ordering issue or a technique issue. There could be deviations in your technique that are causing the pain.
      Have you looked at these episodes?
      When Possible, Load Rotation First
      Episode 310: Load Ordering the Chesticles, Dipping and Pressing Part 1
      Episode 310: Load Ordering the Chesticles, Dipping and Pressing Part 2
      Pressing Mechanics and The Knee Pushup Up Disaster/Froning and Bailey Edition
      Movement Transfer Exercise: The Pushup & The Slingshot
      Episode 236: Overhead Wrist Dysfunction
      Episode 34: Bridal MWod: Bride/Operator Shoulders; IR Rotation/Scap Gliding
      Get organized first
      Episode 309: Getting Organized Before Squatting: The Two-Squat Squat

    • #72839
      AvatarHarry Palmer


      Search for internal shoulder rotation stretches on here, like the banded bully. Odds are your shoulders are translating anteriorly causing the issues.  Look at your shoulder position to see if they are rounding forward. Sounds like missing internal rotation and extension to me.
      You don’t have pain overhead because these positions are 2 different shoulder archetypes.  OH work falls into flexion & external rotation while dips & push-ups fall into internal rotation & extension.  
      Make sure your position and load ordering is perfect like Kaitlin mentioned too.
      Hope this gives you a place to start.
    • #72840
      AvatarPatrick McGuinness

      Thank you Cody & Kaitlin!!

      I am missing internal rotation and my shoulders are rolled forward. Pretty sure my shoulder capsule is forward but I can’t seem to set it back. I’ve done the sink, banded bully, triple bully, smashing the hell out of my pecs (15 years with implants & not paying attention to posture, I think has led me to where I am now), & kettlebell overhead to try to reset the shoulder capsule (and many many others).

      I am loading in order, but it’s still painful, less painful than when I don’t load-order (& just jump in). I’ve got the SP book and am following the info in there, so I know my set-up is perfect…

      Thanks Cody for confirming that it’s missing internal rotation & extension!! I think I have done every shoulder mob Kelly has posted or listed!! I will go over all the links Kaitlin posted to be certain I didn’t miss anything. So frustrating to NOT be able to do simple shit but able to do complex shit! Dipping out of a MU doesn’t cause the pain I get from JUST ring dips. I feel retarded!

      Thanks again, it’s a great start!

    • #72843

      Have you hit your t spine at all?
      If your shoulders are rolled forward your t spine is not in an optimal position which doesn’t allow your shoulders to be in an optimal position.
      Load ordering correctly could be painful from deviations in position.
      If you don’t have an optimal position this can impact the loading order sequence.
      The pain you are experiencing is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong.
      You can perform a dip out of a muscle up because your shoulder is probably in a better position when performing the muscle up vs performing dips.

    • #72855
      AvatarPatrick McGuinness

      T-spine- yes, always open it up 1st, def not the issue.

      Positive my position is correct, based off Kelly’s book for both movements.
      And yes, the pain tells me something is wrong, that’s why I am here asking for help 😀
      Update: today’s 1st wod had 2 deadhang pull-ups on the 1st min and then HSPU (3 strict + 3 kipping) on the 2nd minute for 20 min… NO PROBLEM. NO PAIN. 2nd wod: death by TTB, with a 5 Push-up buy-in before TTB. MOST painful shit ever!! Only did 2 rds, that’s a total of 10 push-ups & 3 TTB. Shoulders (mostly left) were not having any of it. Went for an 800m run instead. 
    • #72863

      Have you had anyone look at your positioning or video your positioning when doing theses movements?
      Video is helpful because you can see exactly what you are doing vs what it feel like you are doing.
      There could be smaller deviations in your positioning which are contributing to the pain.
      You can identify if there are any changes in your positioning throughout the movements.

      Your shoulders may have been tired from the 1st wod which may have impacted your active shoulder position for the 2nd wod. Are your elbows in close to your body when doing pushups?
      If your elbows are away from your body this internally rotates the shoulder which is not a good position.
      Nate Helming has a good video that goes through positioning and transfer

    • #72866
      AvatarPatrick McGuinness

      Tired is not the issue, since this is a recurring problem, not just today. The wods & my training are always different. Ands yup, the elbows are pinned against my body. If I don’t do that, I can’t do the movement at all. Pinned = I can do the movement for several reps until the pain stops me.

      I am going to diligently keep trying to figure it out 🙂
    • #72870
      AvatarHarry Palmer

      I deal with a very similar issue in my right shoulder so I will layout what I have done to help it.  It will never be the same as my left shoulder, a broken collar bone in the right, but I have gotten back to where I can bench full range, pushup and dip without pain most of the time.

      1.  Identify where the pain is.  Is this a deep shoulder pain or is it located in the front of the shoulder.  If it is only the front you could be looking at some inflammation in the biceps tendon.  Have your husband dig his thumb into the origin of the biceps and you will know right away.  If so, you need to modify movement to keep this area from getting worse.  If the pain feels like its deep in your shoulder you might be looking at labrum issues and need to see a Dr.

      2.  Check your sleep position.  10 years of sleeping on my right side definitely made the shoulder situation worse.

      3.  Modify range of motion and train pain free.  I had to modify the bench press by pressing off boards or a 1/2 foam roller for 6 months before going through full range again.  By avoiding the last 3″ of the movement I could still train the movement without the pain.  Pushups were done elevated with rings.

      4. Hammer on your technique.

      As for Mobs I do them in this order:

      1. T-Spine Double Baseball
      2. Shoulder Capsule Mob (pg 210): doing this before training helps me a lot
      3. Sink Mob (pg 271)
      4. Anterior Compartment Smash (pg 264)
      5. Barbell Shoulder Smash (pg 266)

      I also attack the upper traps and scapular ridge with these guys

      1. Overhead Rib Mob (pg 242) bridging onto the ball makes this even better
      2. T-Spine IR Smash (pg 244)
      3. 1st Rib Mob (pg 246) With this I use a Lax ball and doorway/power rack upright like Jill teaches in this episode (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i463R5HGdVg)

      This will get everything back into place usually. 

      Now I am adding in banded ER work with my wife holding the scap in place so there is no anterior translation.
      1. Arm Adducted to 90 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqkErY_Z2Dg)
      2. Arm Abducted to Ribs with towel between elbow and ribs.
      – Doing these once the shoulder is positioned well feels great, 3 quick sets of 12-15 and the nice pump in the shoulder feels super stable.  Eric Cressey is a wealth of knowledge on the shoulder.  He works with pro baseball players and has a great site filled with info.

      I know how annoying this is and it will take some time for it to heal up stronger, but in the meantime do everything you can that is pain free. It will help to flush out the inflammation.  Hang in there, it took me 1yr to clear up my anterior hip problems and 6 months for the shoulder. 

      Good luck.

    • #72878
      AvatarPatrick McGuinness


      Thank you! That was a WEALTH of info and I think I will try out your mob stuff in order 🙂
      Answering questions:
      1) yes, the pain is NOT deep, feels like it’s in the front of shoulder;
      2) used to sleep on my back, but in the last year I sleep on my side… can’t believe that sleeping on my side may be the #1 problem, but sometimes I awake because of the shoulder pain, BECAUSE I am sleeping on my shoulder. Don’t know why I even started but I need to force my sleepy self to stop <— tricky;
      3) oddly, I can bench press too, never a problem, never pain. even incline ring push-ups hurt sometimes… so I just need to go back to 1 hour of mobility & see what happens.

      I do almost all of the mobs you do, but not in that order, so I’ll try it out & watch all the vids that you & Kaitlin posted. Again, thank you both!!
      I’ll check back in next week-end with an update 😀 Thank you!!
    • #76089
      AvatarKyle Hackman

      Try subscapular release through the armpit. It sounds gross and unpleasant (I guess it is), but it helps me with ring dip/push-up/bench pain. You can use your hand but I prefer something like a broom handle (it works!). Try with your hand first, keeping it close to your rib cage, push into your armpit into the underside of your scapula. It’s a strange sensation but if it’s anything like mine, your shoulders will start to clear up.

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