What adjustments can I make to squat without arm pain? What adjustments can I make to squat without arm pain?

starting strength gym
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: What adjustments can I make to squat without arm pain?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    111

    Default What adjustments can I make to squat without arm pain?

    • starting strength seminar october 2022
    • starting strength seminar december 2022
    • starting strength seminar february 2023
    Coaches,

    First off thank you for running this forum in your free time. It is a fantastic resource, which I thoroughly enjoy.

    I'm having tremendous difficulty taking a "comfortable" grip on the squat. I'm 36, 6'2", and ~210 lbs. I suffer from the gnawing arm pain that is described in many, many posts in this forum. I've done probably 6 form resets, all around 215 lbs. The pain affects my ability to concentrate on squat form and all the lifts for the rest of the workout, if I can even do them. I've done pre-medication, post-medication, post-ice, and bengay to help with the pain, but the pain persists.

    I've read the books, watched the videos, read the articles, been to camp, and seen an SSC. I have inflexible and slumped forward shoulders and forearms that are a few inches longer than my upper arm. I've tried narrow grip, normal grip, outside the ring grip, offset grip, wide grip, sleeve grip, sleeve + collar grip, and the "talon" grip. I've also tried the balance the weight on my back and then take a grip where the j-hooks are. This grip probably hurts the least, but I'm honestly too scared to do this. I can't maintain back tightness at all with the very wide grips and the slight rotation of the sleeve hurts my shoulder.

    If I go more narrow, my wrists overextend or are no longer aligned with my forearm, and it hurts. If I use wrist wraps, my wrists stay straight, but then my elbows move out of position and I end up leading with elbow on the ascent, which also hurts. I've tried lifting with straps, which is pain free, but I cannot control the barbell roll at workset weights. I can easily do the Paul Horn stretch. The last month, I have been religiously doing the doorway and pec stretches. There is a lot of improvement, but I'm still unable to LBBS.

    What are my options here short and long term? I'm considering the following for short-term: using a bent wrist setup or rigging an attachment to the barbell something like the OBB power handles/the Kirkham handles. Maybe high bar would work, but I have zero experience with it. For the long-term, are there additional mobility exercises I can try?

    Sorry to sound like a special snowflake, but I'm desperate to put weight on the bar.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Illinois-"Chicagoland"
    Posts
    4,078

    Default

    "I can easily do the Paul Horn stretch."

    If this is the case, you should be able to get the barbell in the right place. Are you keeping your wrists straight as you do it? I suspect this is the problem, that you're letting your wrist bend when you stretch, which means you wouldn't be stretching the things you need to stretch.

    I'd suggest you get yourself verified and post a video, and then we can help more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Karl,

    I don't bend the wrists, but your comment turned on a light bulb--I take a wide grip, so I'm not really doing the stretch. Thank you for the help.

    S

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Coach,

    Here is my first workset with a wide grip. I think I am leading with my elbows and that is causing the pain. This is trying to keep my elbows down, but they want to go straight up. If I point my elbows down slightly during the paul horn stretch, I can work the bar into the correct position after a few minutes, middle fingers on the rings.

  5. #5
    Brent Carter's Avatar
    Brent Carter is offline Owner, Starting Strength Dallas
    Starting Strength Coach
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    544

    Default

    Preventing Elbow Pain in the Squat | Nick Delgadillo

    You need a more narrow grip to tighten up your back. That way it's not the shoulder extension that keeps the bar up but your back musculature. See article.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Coach Brent,

    Thank you for taking a look. The pain is definitely from shoulder extension. I worked this week on a narrower grip (middle finger on rings), but I am having a lot of trouble setting the wedge. I'm having trouble getting my hands behind my back.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    111

    Default

    I deloaded to 160 and spent the last two weeks narrowing my grip and trying to keep my upper back tight. The narrowest I can get my left hand is two fingers outside the ring. My right hand is on the ring, and I can probably bring it in a little more. I am still getting arm pain on the left side but not as bad as before and does not last as long. No pain on the right. The bar does not feel secure on the left delt.

    Some additional info in case it is helpful: pressing helps decrease the pain, benching hurts on the negative, I have trouble with a supinated grip, I have difficulty getting my elbows up to rack a pc, if I put my back flat against a wall and try to do a dumbbell press type of movement, my left arm is at a 30 degree angle to the wall (the right is maybe 15 degrees). I warm up with presses, hanging, Paul Horn stretch, and 4 empty bar squats. The left shoulder feels inflamed after squatting.


    YouTube

    YouTube

    Am I on the right track? Thank you for any advice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    111

    Default

    SOLVED by using chest fly machine to stretch prior to squatting.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Uk
    Posts
    1,467

    Default

    starting strength coach development program
    This bit of Nicks article helped me:

    "As your back comes in contact with the bar, take the pressure completely off your arms, hands and elbows".



    This is critical because it is somewhat automatic to interpret 'get tight' as 'engage every muscle in the upper torso including the arms'. I found it counter intuitive to relax the arms whilst holding the upper back tight (I attack the lift as if I'm getting in the ring with Tyson). Once I spotted what I was doing, it was a matter of practising letting the arms relax throughout the movement-occasionally I forget, but I'm getting there and the pain isn't as bad as it was.

    Took me 18 months to get to this point sorting out each form problem. Think I about have it sorted now, in that I know how to do it and therefore when I'm not doing it right and can apply correction. Slow learner I guess.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •