T Nation

Delt Mobility and Squats

I am getting elbow pain while squatting from having poor delt mobility.

If i put my hands further outside it doesn’t bother me but every rack I have available this is where the J-Hooks are…so smash city for my fingers.

Please tell me all of your tricks and tips for this!!!

Maybe try and build a custom rack. I do/did front squats instead (bb style) so I don’t hot the sides. I am also very inflexible. You could try a Safety squat Bar or get someone to weld handles on an Olympic bar so you can squats as normal or try a Dave Draper style top squat.

IS it just on squats or on ther exercises too . Good luck.

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It is only an issue for Squats not bench.

I was ignoring the pain with Squats but today i felt it with bench so it is time to fix it.

I am pretty sure the issue is me getting fluffy so worst case scenario I slim down a bit. Trying to post pone that though.

And thank you.

I used scaffolding to make a rack with cut scaffolding clips to hold the bar. There is a video of it on here somewhere.


SSB, Bow and camber bars all help relieve shoulder and elbow stress. I’d invest in one to give your elbows a break. Of those, I really like the SSB. . . for some reason many struggle with it but my numbers are close to the straight bar, and you get the added bonus of working your upper back.

And rehab. I’ve had great luck with AIROSSTI. Graston, ART, Rolfing all can work well.

Foam roll your biceps, tris and forearms and obviously work on shoulder mobility. I’ve really made strides in shoulder stability and mobility from just doing hangs. . . just hang like a monkey for 30 second intervals and relax the shoulders and let them extend up to your ears.

Other tips here

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Some people simply can’t do anything about arm pain from low bar squatting, that is the reality. The solution is to minimize actual low bar volume and do most of your squatting with specialty bars like SSB, cambered bar, duffalo/buffalo, etc., as well as high bar (an obvious choice) plus other things like belt squats or front squats. You could also not use low bar squats at all until peaking for a meet, that’s not my personal choice but it works for some people.



Thank you everyone for your help.

Specialty bar isnt an option and I am already squatting high bar LOL.

Custom rack is what I will do short term. Normally it gets better as the workout goes on so I will make a custom rack out of plyo boxes at the crossfit gym. Long term I will probably have to buy a Squat Stand I can adjust.

Dislocations just dont work but it gave me an idea to do as wide of Pec Dec Flys as possible as kind of a weighted stretch and stability exercise.

I am also going to do the foam rolling on my arms etc. I used to do that for Front Squats but stopped front Squatting.

Having just squatted with a buffalo bar… this would be my option. I was surprised by how much more comfortable this was.

A few hundred bucks outlay is better option than banged up elbows/wrists and you have an awesome variation.

If you squat at a gym, then just ask the owners if you can keep it there.

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The cheapest option is to move your hands in/out before re-racking…

Am I missing something here? Lol


You’re fucked.


One muscle that was contributing to my issues was serratus anterior. Working on it didn’t solve the problem, but it lessened the pain. Scalenes (sides of your neck) too. It might be a good idea to start front squatting again if you can’t use any specialty bars.


Shot in the dark but are you already squatting with wrists bent?

Because I don’t think it has been mentioned in this thread, and because I hate to see someone completely re-arrange their training over something that can be really easy to fix, let me ask a very simple question:

Have you tried changing how you grip the bar? If you currently grip thumb around the bar, try a thumbless grip. Or vice versa.

I experienced severe elbow pain 4 months ago during low bar squats (my only back squat). Changed the position of my thumb and BAM! instant fix. Try it.


I always have elbow tendinitis from back squatting unless I damn near hold the collars when I do it. It sucks man. I high bar as well and when I low bar, my elbows ache for days. If you find a solution ever, hit me up. For reference, I can do dislocates with a broomstick about 2 inches outside shoulder width all the way back, and imo have pretty good mobility from my understanding. Sometimes (again from my understanding) it just happens to some people. It can get better, but not completely eliminated

Unless my hands are on the collars this is where the Jhooks are and then I have to finesse fanagle my arms around the Jhooks…personally I kind of dont feel comfortable moving my hands under load.

Added to the foam rolling list

As bent as bent can be. Tried straight too, that was brutal.

Yes to both.

Done these for months and I guess it didnt work.

TODAYs PROTOCOL (and I think it was progress)
When I woke up I laid on my back no pillows and retracted my delts and rotated my shoulders in and out of the rack position (as far as I could go).

At the gym I warmed up by doing a bunch of the below pec dec machine light but enough weight to stretch me further and further back. This in itself was painful on the elbow but it got better and I think it helped a ton.

(forgot to foam roll)


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I second the serratus anterior thing. I have never had elbow pain before and over the past few months I haven’t been able to curl without pain . Roughly right around the time when I developed this wicked knot in my upper back. I told my chiro about both and he did some active release stuff on my back and I’ve been rolling it out a few times a day and already I can feel a difference even though it’s only been since like Friday he adjusted me . Could be coming from a different place you never know. Pain is weird that way , where ever it stems from is often a mystery