Shoulder Pain From Dips

Ask strength and conditioning questions or share your knowledge.
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:29 am

Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby vilyuy » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:36 am

Hey guys,

I just recently started getting quite a bit of pain in my right shoulder when performing dips. It's not so intense that I have to take a break from all movements, but certainly overhead presses or snatches can't feature in my routine for a few days after as a result.

Do you think it's likely to be a form issue? I only do the movement unweighted, so its not like I'm 'cheating' to push back up, and experience no pain whatsoever in my left shoulder.

Any input would be appreciated.
Knoxville wrote:But now I can choose between awesome abs and insane abs. I just don't know which to choose.

Log: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=60609

Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:23 am
Location: Ireland

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby irishgymjunkie » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:42 am

Does it hurt straight away or like after your second set of doing them?, one alternative would be to do it with a weighted vest and do less reps...or it could be that you are leaning too far forward thats what i use to do and i had serious pains in my shoulders i actually recorded myself doing them and realised how wrongly i was doing them... or maybe you are going to low and putting strain on your shoulders get a mirror or record yourself to see your form man.

Hope i helped at all! :)
Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” - Lance Armstrong.

Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:12 pm

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby jch6565 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:17 am

This happened to me about a month ago with weighted dips. Ever since then I have stopped doing them, but however I have tried them maybe 2-3 times since and my shoulder would hurt/feel different for 2-3 days afterwards. I also took some some advice and do military now only with DBs and my shoulder doesn't bother me.

In my own experience I think it's the way the shoulder is during the dips.

I do weighted skull crushers now as a replacement for dips and even though they aren't as good, they are just a tool to train the triceps and it beats having a screwed up shoulder.

User avatar
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby Lokilani » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:38 am

After 2 seperated shoulders I can't do bar dips yet b/c it bothers my shoulder but I can do weighted bench dips (feet & hands each on a bench w/ a plate reseting on my outstretched legs)- maybe that would be an option for you as well (I am assuming you're doing bar dips).

After checking your form as recommended above, I might give your shoulder a break b/c you may have strained a tendon or otherwise traumatized the joint or surrounding muscle.

You may need to strengthen that shoulder w/ some re-hab/pre-hab exercises as well as in your scaplua, such as some foam rolling and/or bird/dogs or something like that.

People often don't understand that shoulder health/stability depends on your scapula sitting correctly & being strong, which often isn't the case for people who lift vigorously w/o mindful attention to their posture & muscle recruitment.

User avatar
Posts: 1496
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:26 am

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby FeelGood » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:01 am

Here is the link to the latest Shoulder Health article (in the member article archive) a bunch of us RT members contributed to: viewtopic.php?p=793707#p793707

I recommend trying a bunch of the drills there to get the shoulder in line.
RT Log
Log updates, GPP info, music, fight stuff...motivation..artsy.. and whatever else it morphs into >

User avatar
Posts: 933
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:14 am
Location: Kuwait

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby jfriley » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:06 pm

You won't want to hear this but you really need to rest it until the pain goes away. Your body is telling you something, you should listen to it. After it heals up you can hit it again and adjust form, hopefully you don't feel anything.
“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

- Eddard Stark

Posts: 916
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 7:58 pm

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby david__001 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:08 pm

vilyuy wrote:Hey guys,

I just recently started getting quite a bit of pain in my right shoulder when performing dips. It's not so intense that I have to take a break from all movements, but certainly overhead presses or snatches can't feature in my routine for a few days after as a result.

Do you think it's likely to be a form issue? I only do the movement unweighted, so its not like I'm 'cheating' to push back up, and experience no pain whatsoever in my left shoulder.

Any input would be appreciated.

I too have experienced this recently. In my own case, it was due to me experimenting with different styles of dips, as opposed to the style I had always done.

Here is what I think:

Short Answer:

Quick tip for dipping: do not dip with the shoulders "hunched forwards". You are putting your shoulders in a position which increases probability of injury if you are doing so. (Connectedly, I fundamentally disagree with the concept of "hunched forwards dips for greater chest emphasis". Some call these "chest dips". I have found them injurious, and would not recommend them. Kudos to those who can do them without injury -- I certainly do not belong to that small group of people.)

Instead, try this: contract the lats, upper back, and shoulders very tight. In terms of mental cues, keep the shoulders "contracted + down-and-back".

Long Answer:

Here are some cues for "shoulder-pain free" (or, at least, "lowered shoulder pain") dipping.


* Climb up to dipping position.
* Place hands on bars.
* Inhale and tighten the body.
* Grip the bars tight and straighten the arms.
* Let legs hang straight -- in fact, press the legs perfectly together, similarly to a gymnast. By this point, my guess is that you will be surprised at how stable you are.


* Lock-out *upwards* first of all. This might seem strange to you, but try it. Press the shoulders "down and away" from the ears (a Pavel cue) by tensing the lats and pecs *very* tight.
* *Then*, lower yourself *under control*, keeping the legs straight and together.
* Get to *your natural* bottom position, and *do not go further*. Stop at that position for a short moment (i.e., there will be no "pre-stretch" or "bounce" out of the dip under this way of doing dips).
* Press-out, back up to the top again, exhaling under control (think "tsssss"). Again, be sure to contract the shoulders "down and away from the ears" via tensing the lats and pecs *very* tightly. At the top, you should be fully exhaled, but still tight, and ready to inhale and repeat.

The aim is for "perfect reps" -- to build basic strength throughout the movement -- before ending the set, perhaps a rep before muscular failure. The aim is *not* racking up numbers of reps at the expense of "perfect reps". (In sticking to this aim, the chances are that your rep numbers will decrease, if you are counting them.) Needless to say, the above cues mean that you are *not* doing explosive dipping, which lots of people, in my experience, cannot do without "cranking-up their shoulders" sooner or later, via as little as a second or two of unmindfulness/lack of concentration on each set. Over time, that can become a big problem.

If you still cannot do the dips without pain inside the shoulder, I'd bin them and focus on shoulder stability work. At the very least, focus on movements that are known to enhance shoulder stability instead of the movements -- and the means of performing them -- that have taken you to this point.

In addition, investigate shoulder prehab and rehab. Some of the best sources I have seen on that are youtube videos from Diesel Crew, "Slizzardman" and Ido Portal. Links to these are in the link posted by username FeelGood (above).

Just my opinion of course.
Last edited by david__001 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 837
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:32 pm
Location: New York

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby jhashey » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:54 pm

I love the dips, but if they are hurting your shoulder - and they can often do that - step away from them and strengthen the shoulders and address weaknesses for awhile. No need to force an exercise.
J. Hashey, CSCS
Free Training Reports


Anyone else Facebook?

Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:19 am

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby Rusi » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:12 am

What's your goal with the dips? I mean there are good alternatives to dips such as bench press, overhead press, push-ups and stuff. But if you are a gymnast for example I guess dips would be essential for rings and parallel bars and you will have to spend time developping flexibiliy and mobility and strength in order to perform them correctly and without pain. If I were you I would probably skip dips if I'm not a gymnast ( or something similar) but if they have important carry-over to my sport performance I would try to get my body in condition for them. Also you can try straight bar dips they seem to be kinder to the shoulder than the regular parallel bars. Here's a demonstration:

I just want to have a lot money and bigger biceps. I know you have the same goal but you will never admit it.


User avatar
Posts: 3769
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Shoulder Pain From Dips

Postby leeroy » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:29 am

Have you tried doing them on rings? It might be your shoulders disagree with some part of the ROM using the fixed angle of the bars.

Return to “Strength and Conditioning”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users