Wonky Pull-Ups

Hello all.

I come to you with my crooked upper back issues

So i filmed a couple days of pull ups.
My first rep= fine. Second rep looks like my right side does most of the work
Second attempt = same thing
Third i used a band and angles 90 handles and it didn’t go weird until rep 3.

So a few things: i have a chronic knot on my right side. I was getting dry needling done, but it only ever fixed my issue for a few days. I went consistently for 9 weeks and never improved for any reasonable amount of time.
I try to do a lot at home. Use my lacross ball, foam roll, tens machine, you name it. I put a lot into my recovery.

But why is my body being all crooked and weird like this, and how can i improve it?

I was thinking there was maybe some issue in my left with a muscle not firing or a ligament that is loose(?) It feels like it’s popping out of place and then my pull-up goes weird.
It doesn’t hurt, but sometimes gets sore with too many poppings lol.

My knot hurts sometimes though. It’s like unable to relax. I’ve had a lot of massages and adjustments and the only thing that even worked a tiny bit was dry needling.

I am looking for some advice because i know with a crooked upper body, everything else gets affected as well.
Presses and squats, etc.

Thanks in advance

Edit: sorry for the crazy barking dog, lol, she’s insane.


I can share with you my personal experience - I have a bone lump in my right clavicle as a result of a slightly wonky fracture healing. This resulted in some weird nerve damage that manifests itself only the moment when I unrack a bar during front squats.

My right shoulder is slightly off so that when I do high rep pullups after five-six reps I get this weird feeling - not actual pain - that I have “something” in my right shoulder blade (not the actual bone lump, it’s higher that the feeling).

What helped me and alleviated the symptoms were regular high rep band exercises - face pulls, YWTs, pull aparts, no monies etc. I guess the additional hypertrophying of surrounding muscles helped. I usually do a couple of sets of each during the day even on my off days.

Disclaimer: I’m just some guy on the internet espousing some very spurious bro science stuff.

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Before you start the pullup you do a great job of Depressing your Scapula. Like pulling your shoulders “down” to get into a good starting position and really load up your lats.

But then when you start the pull, your right shoulder Elevates and pulls “in,” towards your neck. Like your upper trap and neck muscles are pulling or “shrugging” your right shoulder up.

You’re losing tension on the muscles that pull your shoulder “down” and the work is going to the muscles that pull your shoulder “up.” That right side stays high, so it feels like the right side is doing more work. And that “knot” your feeling is probably over-worked, over tightened, over shortened upper back and neck muscles. And you feel crooked because that tightness and shoulder elevation is only one 1 side. So it feels like you’re being “wound up.”

Here’s a video of some dude having a similar problem. The Upper Traps are over-powering the Lower Traps, and dude’s shoulders are uneven in the pullup.

Then therapy guy does some tests to determine what muscles are lacking. Then some moves to strengthen the lower traps.

Here’s a longer one with a strength coach for fighter working with a boxer. The boxer has the same right shoulder elevation, upper trap dominance issues. In this vid, Coach takes athlete through some planks, a TRX suspension trainer move and some rows. Throughout the moves, coach cues athlete to keep tension on lats and low traps. He doesn’t always explain the technical stuff, but he does a lot of hands on cueing and stuff. It might be useful.

If you really, really want oto get into it, this guy talks about how your breathing and rib position can make you crooked and wonky. He shows some stuff to get straightened out and even. Then shows some exercises that take your scaps through a full range of motion, lined up in proper positon. Instead of trying to focus on 1 muscle at a time.


This is so helpful dude! Thank you!

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