Tricep Pain when Squatting? Tricep Pain when Squatting?

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Thread: Tricep Pain when Squatting?

  1. #1
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    Default Tricep Pain when Squatting?

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    I am getting a pain in my tricep, up toward my armpit, when I low bar squat. It's like the feeling of hyper-extending a finger, so sharp and unpleasant that I barely make it through my set. It gets worse when I take a breath and "set" my back.

    As I progress through my warmups the pain lessens. I tried the "low bar back stretch" between sets but it brings tears to my eyes. I feel the need to do the opposite, that hugging-yourself stretch or hanging from the pull-up bar.

    Is there something wrong with my form or am I just horribly inflexible?
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  2. #2
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    Sounds like it might be a lat. Try some lat pulls before you squat and see if that helps.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I will try that.

    FWIW I do have terrible posture and my back is full of knots.

  4. #4
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    You need to get your elbows down and your chest up, too. You’re carrying the bar with your arms.

  5. #5
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    Tried a bunch of stuff today. It all felt bad.

    All the pictures I see of low bar placement are on muscular people, so it's hard to tell where I should put it on my scrawny body. If I put it below the spine of my scapula and try to stand more upright, it rolls down my back until my triceps "catch" it. I was carrying the weight of the bar largely with my arms.

    I thought that perhaps the bar was too low down my back, contributing to my problem, so I tried moving it up, more or less in line with the spine of the scapula. I felt it was easier to keep my back tight and took some pressure off my triceps, but my balance and the rest of my form fell apart.
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    I do think you're right about the problem originating from my lats though, after tracing the tightness to its source, which is a huge knot between my armpit and scapula. I don't have access to a lat pulldown right now, but did my best to replicate warmup sets with a band.

    I have terrible posture in my daily life, with my shoulders slumping forward and my humerus resting much ahead of the centerline of my body when viewed from the side. I have previously wasted good chunks of money on chiropractors who say my spine is curved but fail to fix it.

    Is there anything I can do if I can't force my back/shoulders into that perfect squat carrying position yet?

  6. #6
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    It's hard to see exactly the positioning in your videos at the angle you filmed at, but yes, those with not a lot of back musculature will find it hard to hit the right spot and then hard to keep it in place. You can usually generate more muscle support by narrowing your grip. Your grip is very wide and your elbows very high up here. If you cannot get into a narrower position naturally, the low bar stretch is the way to go, but you need to be gentle with it. Make sure you narrow your hands a bit more than usual, keep your wrists straight and slowly push under the bar. You might not be able to get it to touch your body at all initially in the stretch. If it hurts too much when doing the stretch, don't stretch as hard into it. I generally recommend people who are very sensitive to the stretch to do it after they squat so it doesn't ruin their session. You might need to take that approach. If the over all pain levels have gotten too out of hand, you can temporarily do some high bar squatting while you work on the low bar stretch. But again, easy does it with the stretch. For muscle tightness pain I have found that head and massage can help.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden-William Courtland View Post
    Your grip is very wide and your elbows very high up here. If you cannot get into a narrower position naturally, the low bar stretch is the way to go, but you need to be gentle with it.
    Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I find it virtually impossible to take a narrower grip and keep my elbows down. Maybe one or the other with a lot of pain, but not both. Is there one aspect I should prioritize?

    Unfortunately I live in communist Russia (aka Connecticut) so massages will probably be banned for another few months yet. I used to get them a lot and it helped with my shoulder tightness.

    I will try a less extreme low bar stretch.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elle View Post
    Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I find it virtually impossible to take a narrower grip and keep my elbows down. Maybe one or the other with a lot of pain, but not both. Is there one aspect I should prioritize?

    Unfortunately I live in communist Russia (aka Connecticut) so massages will probably be banned for another few months yet. I used to get them a lot and it helped with my shoulder tightness.

    I will try a less extreme low bar stretch.
    Start with the grip you have then and focus on elbows down as you do the low bar stretch gently, again, just to a point where pain is bearable in the stretch.

    There are various tools you can buy and use to massage on your own (hyper ice ball, heated massage pillows, etc.). They have helped me get back into training much more quickly when I had severe pain.
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  9. #9
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    Great, thanks!

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Trying to take advantage of my paleness here to show you where the bar has been resting... Does it look like it's in the right spot?

    Shared album - Danielle Noir - Google Photos

    I did a heating pad this morning followed by some dynamic shoulder warmups before lifting. The pain was less but I don't know that the form was any better. It's amazing how it can feel like I'm making tremendous effort, and not actually look any better. I also loved noticing in tbe video how I seem to confuse "arching the lower back" with "setting the shoulders" sigh.

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    PS sorry about the attire. I know cotton shirts are better but I was trying to see my shoulder un-muscles.

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