Continuing in our warm up series, this week we are looking at the press archetype. Specifically, we are looking at the position and stabilizers involved in the bottom of the dip, which is also the transition position of the muscle up.
This position can be potentially problematic if the athlete lacks sufficient internal rotation and extension of the shoulder. Additionally, inadequate support from the muscles about the scapula will put the athlete into a less than ideal position. To avoid injury, we want to optimize the position by increasing mobility and strengthening supporting muscles so that the athlete isn’t hanging on the tissues that aren’t meant to be load bearing.
Step 1: Warm up your tissues
As always, get hot and sweaty. Perform a good general warm up to raise your body temperature and get the blood flowing. Then spend some time specifically warming up the shoulders.
Forward Xiaopengs are a great exercise to warm up the shoulder because it takes the shoulder through external rotation into flexion, switches to internal rotation and comes all the way through in a smooth arch. No more than 10lbs will suffice for this exercise. Do 5 reps each side. Do them slow and with control.
Step 2: Mobility
The bottom of the dip requires extension and internal rotation of the shoulder. The modified banded bully simulates this position and will help open up the lats, shoulders, and pecs to optimize this position. Spend 2-3 minutes per side taking care to keep your shoulders down and back with elbows in tight. Rotate your torso body away from the band. Contract/relax through particularly sticky corners.
Step 3: Stability
The muscles about the scapula play a very important role in stabilizing the position of the shoulder in the dip. Spend some time activating these tissues so they can do their part in keeping your shoulder in a strong and safe position. Specifically, we want to keep the scapula depressed and retracted. To activate these tissues, use a thin band and perform 10 reps of band pull downs and 10 reps of scapular retractions and protractions.
Step 4: Get comfy in the bottom position
Another great drill to develop the dip position is to spend some time in the position while maintaining active tension. Similar to Kelly Starrett’s 10 minute squat test, a good way to strengthen stability in the dip is to spend time in the bottom position, taking care to maintain solid midline as well as keeping the shoulder blades down and back. Perform 3 reps 10-15 second holds on either a dip bar or on the rings. Stay active in the bottom and don’t let your shoulders roll forward.
If you need a scaled option, you can place a box slightly behind you, jump up to support, rest your toes on the box to take some of the load and perform the same drill. Reduce the time under tension to 3-5 seconds, taking care to maintain good position. Don’t sacrifice position just for the sake of putting in the work. Slowly (over several weeks) build up to 10 seconds and then attempt the drill without the box.
Step 5: Have fun, let us know how it goes!