Fixing Shoulder Pain During Dips

‘It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.’

– Julius Caesar

Fixing Shoulder Pain During Dips

Pat Casey – the first man to bench press 600 lbs; image via: bodybuilding.com;

The dip may be a very effective upper body exercise, but it often causes shoulder pain. To prevent this from happening, you could try the following:


a. reduce your range of motion to parallel or slightly below

There’s no need to go super deep. If you have the flexibility, you may be fine, but very few can handle ultra-deep dips.

– stick to high reps instead of adding a lot of weight and doing low reps

There’s no need to max out. What are you going to get out of it? Stick to higher reps to avoid unwanted pain.

– progress methodically and patiently

In general, dips progress relatively fast. However, you first need to build a base before moving to advanced variations or adding weight. Add weight only after you can do 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps.

– give enough time to your body to recover between sessions

If you are doing a lot of dips frequently, your shoulders won’t have enough time to recover. When you plan your workouts, listen to your body’s feedback.

– don’t do wide grip and Vince Gironda style dips

Wide grip dips will kill your shoulders in no time. Gymnasts can do wide grip dips without pain, but they’ve been training since babies and have the needed flexibility.

– avoid bench dips completely

Bench dips are shoulder destroyers. They are even more shoulder unfriendly than the parallel bar dip.

– work on your active shoulder flexibility

You can do a variety of shoulder mobility exercises to improve the active flexibility of the shoulder girdle.

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