Eric Cressey | High Performance Training and Education

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  1. Eric Cressey
    May 17, 2013 • 2:39 pm


    If you’ve got a low shoulder, your upper trap is probably lengthened, not short.  It might just be levator scapulae that’s giving you issues.  “Tight” is a very general term.

  2. guy
    June 28, 2013 • 8:47 pm

    hey thanks for this, i actually get lower back pain the day after doing pull ups/chin ups – any idea why? my physiotherapist says there should be no relation between pull ups and lower back pain

  3. Eric Cressey
    June 29, 2013 • 5:25 pm


    Lats are a powerful extensor of the lumbar spine. Try engaging the anterior core and pulling the knees up in front so that you aren’t doing them with an arched lower back. It should clean things up.

  4. BenK
    September 13, 2013 • 4:22 am

    Hi Eric,
    This made fascinating reading, thanks for all the info, it covers issues I’ve been wondering about for years.
    As a rock climber who does a lot of indoor bouldering training, usually followed by pull-ups, dead hangs on finger tips, I am all too familiar with the elbow issues you mentioned. Though I was lucky enough to bring mine under control with lump-hammer pronation exercises… highly recommended!

    I still struggle with my pull ups though, I have a very long torso, it gives me most of my 6 ft 3″ height and I often experience a gripping pain/sensation in my mid back, and behind the shoulder blades, for a few days after pull ups.
    I have a feeling my form is not correct.
    What would be your top tips for tall guys and pull ups considering they are so specifically important to my climbing performance?
    And what would be your essential complimentary exercises to prevent any heavy imbalances etc?

    Thanks for your time, much appreciated!!

  5. Eric Cressey
    September 13, 2013 • 5:40 am


    I’d want to see how your scapular control is.  I’d be willing to bet that you’re very limited in scapular upward rotation.  You also likely have a lot of posterior shoulder stiffness/tissue density you need to overcome.

    A few exercises I’d incorporate:

  6. BenK
    September 17, 2013 • 9:54 am

    Hi Eric,
    Amazing, after years of the recurring pain these exercises seem to be easing it already after just a few sessions?! I’ve seen lots physios and had various treatments but this advice seems to be hitting the nail on the head so thank you again!

    My rotation was pretty limited and I can feel some serious stretching going on during these exercises.

    If there are any more you’d recommend then please do let me know!

    Thanks again

  7. Raylan Bowman
    October 31, 2013 • 3:29 pm

    Wow unbelievable I actually have some of this stuff going with me. For instance the ribs, but I do pull u

  8. Demetrios John Tsinopoulos
    December 21, 2013 • 5:36 pm

    Amazing post, I actually haven’t been able to execute a pull up for years since a cervical injury which got me into a lot of issues, on my right upper side. But now with a lot of corrective exercises and from what I’ve seen to be as one of the best things of all Deadlifts (if done correctly) I’m on my way, but still hanging from the pull up bar gives me a pinching pain in my armpits. Any ideas?

  9. Des Golden
    December 21, 2013 • 6:39 pm

    This is an excellent post. It sums up my own movement shortcomings. If you were to pick one exercise or stretch to lengthen the lats what would it be?

  10. Eric Cressey
    December 23, 2013 • 8:43 am


    I really like bench t-spine mobs with an exhale at the bottom.

  11. Fani
    February 19, 2014 • 8:24 pm

    Hi Eric,
    Great article.
    You haven’t mentioned anything about Behind-The-Neck (BTN) pullups, what can you say about this? I read one of your articles that you dont recommend Behind-The-Neck (BTN) pulldowns. Accdng to your article pulldowns are traction exercises as well as pullups. Is there any reason I should also ditch the BTN pullups ?, say for overall strength and safety

  12. Eric Cressey
    February 23, 2014 • 4:55 pm


    I don’t like them at all.

  13. Allan
    March 9, 2014 • 12:41 pm

    Excellent article, just what I was looking for. I experienced some shoulder pain 3-4 weeks ago that still lingers today after going through a few weeks of benching and weighted chin ups. Bodyweight chin ups still bother the hell out of my left shoulder on the posterior side. I saw a orthopedic surgeon and had a mri done earlier this week. If the mri rules out a muscle tear, what corrective exercises/stretches can I do to bring my shoulder back to 100%?

  14. Eric Cressey
    March 10, 2014 • 7:09 am


    It’s impossible to say without evaluating you.  I’d ask your surgeon for a physical therapist recommendation/referral.

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