T Nation

Dips Are A Problem


so today i was doin day 5 of abbh1 and i had lat pulldowns and weighted dips lined up. on my third set of dips, with 50 lb. dumbbell between my feet, i felt something twinge in my left pec by my armpit. after that it started hurting quite a bit. i probably tore some fibers, nothing too serious. however, this is not the first time ive had trouble with this exercise. it seems to me that every time after i do dips, my rib cage stretches out and my sternum hurts for at least a week. so i was wondering what a good replacement exercise would be for the dips. any suggestions?

part II of the question is what should i do to make my pec heal as quickly as possible, i would like it to be ready for day 9. do i need heat or cold? take ibueprofen? any advice is welcome. thanks.



Stick to dumbbell presses (or even barbell presses if you are a rank beginner) until you build up the strength in your connecting tendons. Your tendons get stronger much SLOWER than your muscles do. This is why pec tears and biceps tears are believed to be less common in natural trainers...the growth in muscular strength is usually slow enough to allow the tendons to catch up before any injury.

I hate giving advice like that over the internet because it could be much more serious than you described.


ive been lifting for about a year and a half, seriously, so im not really a beginner. and im trying to shy away from bench-like workouts because i do that on the first day of the week, i want to mix it up a bit. it seems that the only time i have trouble with the dips is when i use heavy weight added on, like 60lbs. thats when i feel stretching. normally i can do about 35 dips. idk. i guess dumbbells would be fine.
the only time i feel pain is when i move my arm straight up into a lat pulldown position. otherwise i wouldnt notice, except if im using it :. ill just ice it and take a nap for now. thanks for the help


Doom, I had/have the EXACT same problem. A few weeks into ABBH I my left pec/armpit area freaked out on me. I've heard that the sternum pain can result from going too low. As for the chest injury, I've pretty much decided to lay off of chest stuff until it gets better. The soreness/tightness has progressed from directly under the armpit to slightly more onto the pectoral muscle itself, but that's pretty much the only change.
Did you have slight shooting pains down your arm after it happened? I know that's what freaked me out initially. I didn't have noticable swelling, but I feel you should play it safe and work on horizontal pressing stuff. Heat before workouts, icing any other time. Ibuprofin can help if it's swelling/irritated. Mine's still bothering me ~2 weeks later, but maybe yours isn't as bad.


a year and a half is not that long a period of time. Also being able to do a great number or dips means nothing, what it depends on is how much you weigh. I have alot of skinny friends that say wow you can bench 225 pretty easy, but I can do just as many dips as you... Well I am dipping my bodyweight of 225 as well.. But its usually not thought of as 225 its just your "bodyweight". I dont know what your program is like but performing dips or any exercise above 25 reps or so strength gains are almost non existent. When you are better get used to doing dips with less weight, and dont go too deep. If you get hurt again even with lighter weights, I would forget dips altogether. Also, may want to check out Poliquins 5 elements training article in the archive, sounds like you are a more endurance based athlete. Be very careful I must say because I know many people that have injuries from dips, alot of musculature is in a very vulnerable position.


I used to get injured everytime I did dips too. Then I began doing dips on a rack that was more narrow, so that my hands were closer together. I have not had a problem since!


How narrow are we talking? Shoulder-width?


What angle do you hold your body at? If you lean forward a lot, try to hold yourself vertical. The strain will be transferred from your pecs to your triceps more, and might help alleviate your issues.


Pretty narrow, as I recall it is something like 23".


I don't think it means he's more of an endurance athelete because it hurts when he does dips like that and stuff?. He could be an endurance athlete, but I highly doubt because of that one reason.