Shoulder flexibility for older trainees in the squat Shoulder flexibility for older trainees in the squat

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Thread: Shoulder flexibility for older trainees in the squat

  1. #1
    shabu is offline Starting Strength App Developer
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Default Shoulder flexibility for older trainees in the squat

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    Rip, I just started training my father who is 72. He's a masters athlete in table tennis and plays at a pretty high level (ranked in top 10 australia) and will compete at the worlds in june.

    He did his first set of squats yesterday, his issue is with the grip, particularly on his left side (he is left handed) as i assume that side is quite a bit stronger due to hitting a million shots over the years.

    Getting the bar into the low bar position caused quite a lot of pain on his left side there was no chance of getting his palms over the bar so I ended up adjusting to the high bar position (which was still difficult but manageable).

    He has had no shoulder injuries and generally he is in pretty good shape.

    I watched your video here about this issue - YouTube

    What's the best approach is for this? My plan was for him to continue to do high bar squats for a few weeks and then try low bar again to see if flexibility has improved.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Murphysboro, IL


    Some thoughts on this subject:

    I've had this same problem and none of the stretches have really solved it to the point I can get a satisfactory low bar position. Not that the stretches didn't help, they did. Just not enough FOR ME.

    When I quit competing in powerlifting in 2016, I quit back squatting for the most part, subbing leg presses and hip belt squats. But since I decided to start competing again last Spring, I went back under the bar, with the same only semi-satisfactory results. In a powerlifting meet, you can request the squat stand uprights OUT or IN. OUT, meaning perpendicular uprights, and IN meaning the uprights slanted at slightly acute angles inward toward the center. IN allows the lifter to take a wider grip on the bar. The really big guys with wide shoulders need it. Mine are just old and don't like to move. I always picked IN.

    Every power rack I have seen has the uprights roughly 48" apart, right about where my hands like to go on the bar. So what to do? I have the good fortune of lifting in a gym that has Powerlift free standing upright squat stands that can be moved separately from each other since they are not connected to each other and I move them in to where it allows my hands the spacing that works for me. I use Samson lifting platforms as my safety rails under the plates in the event of missed lift. Hasn't happened so far.

    If you can find or otherwise rig a similar set up, it might be the solution to his needs.


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