Squatting with only one hand Squatting with only one hand

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Thread: Squatting with only one hand

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Squatting with only one hand

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    Hello Rip,

    I have recently been trying to help a friend of mine learn how to squat. The trouble is he only has one hand, his right hand is essentially a "ball", I believe due to a congenital defect. It isn't sensitive or anything (he can do dips with the ball supporting his weight on the one side), as well as machine-bench presses.

    Now, the issue is that when we were trying to set up the squat his bad hand can only hold the bar beneath the ball, essentially at the wrist. If we then try to use the good hand "properly", it creates a notable asymmetry as on one side the bar is at the wrist and on the other side it is close to the fingers. Beyond that positional game, it also causes an asymmetry in back tightness. The most intelligent way I could think of to deal with this would be to place the bar at the crevasse of the wrist on both sides. We gave this a shot with just the bar, and he said it felt stable. We only went as far as to slap on 10lbs to bring the weight to 55lbs and he said it felt okay.

    The take home question is: do you see anything objectionable about attempting to squat like this? I thought that, since the arms don't really support the bar, if he was able to use his wrists to drive the bar into the musculature on his back, it shouldn't ultimately be a problem, but would like to hear your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
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    43,198

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    This guy has already solved a lot more problems than learning how to squat. If you're training with him, get him under the bar and tape his hand to the bar if it slips off. But I'll bet he can learn to balance it just fine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    This guy has already solved a lot more problems than learning how to squat. If you're training with him, get him under the bar and tape his hand to the bar if it slips off. But I'll bet he can learn to balance it just fine.
    I really appreciate your answer. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3

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    My younger brother has exactly the same problem and I also recently taught him to squat. While it seems to be a little more difficult to secure the bar in a stable position, I also think the best way to do this is to place the normal hand on the bar a bit closer to the wrist, so that it is at the same heigth as the other side. He still has a slight asymmetry in elbow position, but as long as the bar remains even (to the greatest possible extent), I think that is okay.
    He squatted 160 lbs yesterday at a bodyweight of 143 lbs, so it seems like itīs working for now.

    By the way, he can even press, although itīs a bit more difficult to find a balanced position. We set the safety pins right below the rack position just in case the bar slips off his right hand, but that didnīt happen until now.

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