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How can I prevent shoulder pain when squatting

+2 votes

When I squat my shoulders are notably sore. Sometime the pain is nor more than an ache but lately the pains has become sever enought to begin to effect my squatting.

I've tried using a rolled up towel but this doesn't really hlep much. I really son't want to buy one of the 'squat pads' (I'd be laughed out of the gym).

What can I try to help alleviate the pain?

asked Nov 8, 2012 in Diet & Nutrition by Kal Rookie (200 points)  
0% Accept Rate

edited Nov 12, 2012 by RobConnor
Have you tried using a wider grip on the bar? I know people advise against this but I've found that a narrower grip hurts my shoulders. Maybe that's your problem?

I agree with the post by Ryan Law & Rob Conner, you should widen your grip when doing squats with the bar. I suggest you also include exercises to strengthen your rotator cuff and surrounding muscles in your warm up routine. Do some medial and lateral rotation exercises and internal and external rotation exercises in your warm up. These exercise help strengthen the underlying muscles that maintain the stability and integrity of the shoulder joint.
You will find examples of these below.


2 Answers

+2 votes
It's likely that what you're experiencing is rotator cuff pain. The rotator cuff is a band of small (and very vulnerable) muscles that facilitate the rotating movement of the shoulder, and holding a barbell behind your shoulders is a very easy way to put the rotator cuff into its end range of motion. Spike is on the same wavelength here, as an easy way to reduce the load on the cuff is to widen your grip - the closer your hands are to your shoulders, the more stress you place on the rotator cuff, likely worsening your symptoms.
It's important to be proactive, because unattended rotator cuff issues can become extremely serious, and require corrective surgery. Thankfully, if you catch it early, simple warmup exercises performed before squatting and benching can strengthen the muscles to the point of preventing injury. This slightly old school diagram illustrates the most effective exercises for targeting the rotator cuff, so regularly performing these with low levels of resistance should (hopefully) clear your shoulder pain right up.

If you choose to squat with a wider grip, just be careful that isn't too wide - you don't want the bar slipping down your shoulders and causing serious damage. If you think the trade-off between alleviating pain and risking the bar security is worthwhile than give it a go - but hopefully some consistent warm-up should solve everything!
answered Nov 15, 2012 by RyanLaw Iron Addict (1,280 points)  
edited Nov 26, 2012 by RobConnor
0 votes

I think The squat may be the king of all lower body exercises, but if you’ve ever squatted heavy, you know that it’s extremely taxing on the upper body too. So taxing, in fact, that many people experience shoulder pain during squats at one point or another.Pain kills force production, so it’s nearly impossible to perform at your best when something hurts. And it’s rarely something that will go away on its own, so you’ve got to be proactive if you want to get rid of the pain

I suggest you improving thoracic spine (upper back) positioning
Improving scapulohumeral (shoulder blade and arm bone) motion


answered Dec 27, 2017 by edqarpp  
edited Dec 27, 2017 by RobConnor
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