Warm Up Series: Pull Ups and Toes to Bar

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Avoid Shoulder Pain During Pull Ups: Mobility

Avoid Shoulder Pain During Pull Ups: Activation


To avoid shoulder pain during Pull ups and Toes to Bar, use this Movement Pattern Warm Up

Key Points:

  1. Get hot and sweaty
  2. Perform mobility techniques for the positions of stress in both the strict pull up/Toes to Bar as well as for kipping.  You will need to mobilize the overhead and press shape for the shoulder and the braced spinal neutral and global flexion/extension for the spine. Perform at least 30 seconds of soft tissue or sliding surface focused mobility for 2 minutes after your workout, and 2 minutes minimum for all joint mobilizations.
  3. Perform drills that facilitate a similar movement pattern that gradually allows you to increase the stress on the movement. The majority of problems with the shoulder pain in the pull up/TTB movements are due to decreased muscular endurance in the shoulders, decreased mobility, and performing workouts beyond the capacity of your own mobility and motor control.

Mobility Drills:

    1. Barbell Lat Smash
    2. PVC Pipe Pass through- unloaded and loaded
      • Start with hands in a snatch position
      • Keep spine neutral
      • Pass PVC pipe over your head with the goal to touch your butt and bring it back around to the front of your pelvis- repeat 15 reps
      • Bring your hands closer together- 15 reps
      • Add weight (2.5/5 lb)and perform pass thoughts in the most comfortable but challenging position 15 reps
      • Perform ½ reps where you only bring the PVC pipe and weight just past your hair line then back to the front of your pelvis
    3. Monkey Bar Hang from the Pull-up Bar (see video for scaled version)
      • Hang on one arm for 3 seconds and then switch arms for 15 reps per arm.  This is to help improve your range of motion and place your joint and soft tissue at a point of restriction
      • This does take a lot of strength so try the scaled version first if this one makes you uncomfortable

Motor Control Drills- Goal: Switch it up from your usual warm up and provide gradual stress to the pulling motion and spinal postures these 2 movements require! Your athletes will thank you!!

    1. Kipping Ring Rows with feet on a box (as seen in Carl Paoli’s Free Style Book) are an excellent way to properly stress an athlete for a pull-up/T2B type workout.  Performing this kipping motion slowly helps the athlete sequence the loading of the shoulders and spine during a pulling workout.  Perform 20 reps, with the concentric and eccentric aspects of the motion should at 2 seconds. The ascent and descent of the movement total is 4 seconds
    2. Next practice proper pull-up  or TTB progression on the rig  Now that your tissues are warm, mobilized, and stressed sub maximally,  you can increase the stress on the tissues even more from the rig in a more open chain position (feet off the ground).

To learn more about this topic, click HERE