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The Position: Part 6—The Bar Dip by Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli - CrossFit Journal

The Position: Part 6—The Bar Dip

By Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli

Video Article

This video series provides a fresh look at skill-transfer exercises and midline stability, combining the powers of Kelly Starrett and gymnast Carl Paoli. Both San Francisco CrossFit coaches add their expertise to refine basic CrossFit movements with the aim of improving power output.

In Part 6, Starrett and Paoli coach the bar dip. They prepare using “The Position,” the same foundational form used for movements from kipping pull-ups to bench press.

Paoli demonstrates getting organized and spinning his “elbow pits” forward, just like the externally rotated arm used for overhead movement.

“If he’s not organized, he’s already preloaded this tissue and put the shoulder into a bad position,” Starrett says. “So he started from a bad position; he enters the tunnel of movement in a bad position.”

Starrett’s cue for the proper dip position is “turning out,” which spins the elbow pits forward and creates torque. For movement set-up, he looks for that turning out and an organized, unbroken midline. That is The Position.

“If I want to protect my athletes and unwind the nervous system, I have to get into a good position,” Starrett says. “I know that this position facilitates the safest, strongest shoulder.”

He adds: “The most effective way to generate force is also the safest way.”

For more information, instruction and videos, check out Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD and Carl Paoli’s GymnasticsWOD.

6min 10sec

Additional reading: Dips: The Forgotten Shoulder Exercise by Bill Starr, published Jan. 14, 2011.

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6 Comments on “The Position: Part 6—The Bar Dip”


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Carl & K Star rock, I often feel K Star makes these videos just 4 me, ha ha!

These little cues have helped me BIG time, I had some major shoulder pain and consulted with K Star a TON and quickly got better!


wrote …

"the position" videos are some of the best in the whole journal library. i'm a coach at a box and they cause some controversy with myself and other coaches including the owner who have the typical crossfit mentality of as long as it gets done it's all that matters. i thought they taught "mechanics, consistency, THEN intensity" at the level 1 cert?! if u train yourself in "the position" you will be much more efficient then you would ever be if you trained yourself out of it. thanks again for such great videos!


wrote …

Practising the concepts in these videos should be the first thing anyone does before participating at any gym, CrossFit or otherwise. Daniel, you're spot on with your comment. Zach, I know exactly what you mean! Peace x


wrote …

When KStarr says "the most effective way of generating force is also the safest way," he is explaining why "good form" is considered to be good form. It's not just some textbook version of the exercise that should be discarded in the pursuit of heavier weight or faster time (or both).

Take today's WOD (relatively quick and heavy deadlifts) and it's accompanying demo video -- somebody points out that an athlete in the video is rounding their back from the first set. Others inevitably respond with "you can't expect to maintain perfect form when you're lifting heavy," or "so what, he/she didn't get hurt and besides, let's see YOU lift that weight," etc. I don't agree with either of these responses, and I think KStarr is correct.


wrote …

Phenomenal video. We have seen great success by starting our athletes w/ a focus on "la posicion" by doing hollow hold and hollow rock on a daily basis in their warm-up and then transitioning to hollow push-ups, hollow pull-ups, hollow burpees, hollow double unders, etc.

My question and maybe someone could point to some previous videos or if Carl and K-Star could address this in the future is the concept of stacking espcially in regards to the snatch (depression and retraction of scapula and showing armpits) vs a handstand (active shoulder and elevation of scapula) and how it relates to the position. I know Greg Everett teaches the stacked scapula in his books and DVD on the Olympic lifts but I've seen others talk of an active shoulder during snatching (I believe recently there was a burgener video that addressed this but further detail would be appreciated).

any help would be appreciated and keep up the great work!!!

P.S. I think they should make a cartoon of K-star and Carl called "Mobie Trick and Captain Rehab."


wrote …

Love to see the position in the context of jumping. I think a lot of people (including me) go into overextension when jumping or landing.

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