T Nation

Elbow Pain After Squats and Overhead Press


#1

Yesterday partway through my squat sets, I started to experience elbow pain. I use a thumbless grip with my ring finger at the rings and “bend” the bar around my traps and delts. The pain feels like it might be the bicep tendon leading to the elbow.
Today when I worked on overhead press, the pain flared up again. This time from the bicep and tricep tendon. I stopped my workout and came to this forum.
Do I need to do curls or kickbacks to strengthen the tendons? Is it even possible to strengthen tendons?
Thanks in advance for your help.


#2

Do you squat high bar or low bar?


#3

Low bar. Think I should bring it up higher?


#4

Nope; just trying to diagnose what is going on. My questions are never rhetorical or leading; they are simply questions.

With low bar squats, there is a tendency for a trainee to try to maintain too upright of a posture due to a fear of a forward lean. When this happens, the bar wants to roll down the bar, which forces the trainee to hold the bar in place with their hands. This, in turn, places a GREAT deal of stress on the elbows of the trainee, as they are now effectively holding the full weight of the squat.

You want to have enough torso lean that the bar will stay in place on your back even without your hands on the bar. The hands should just be there to stabilize, rather than keep the bar in place. See if that helps.


#5

Thanks. Usually the bar is pinned firmly between my palms and my traps. But yesterday I went heavier after a while away from back squats, so my grip might not have been dialed in.
To clarify, you say the bar should stay on the back without the hands? Can you explain this further?


#6

Balance. If you have the right amount of forward lean, the bar will be balanced on your back. If not, it will roll down your back.


#7

I want to be sure I am understand you. You are telling me that when performing a barbell back squat with a standard bar, the bar will lie on your back, and your back will be at such an angle that, were you to remove your hands from the bar, the bar would stay in the same position on your back.
Do I understand you correctly?


#8

Negative; this is with an olympic bar. I can’t speak to standard bars.


#9

Okay. My question is the same except replace “standard barbell” with "olympic barbell"
What I am trying to understand is if you are suggesting that one does not need to use hands to lock in the barbell for a squat. In all my reading and studying I have not come across anyone else who teaches this. I do know we don’t want the weight to rest on the hands, and I understand why. But it sounds like you are saying the hands are unnecessary altogether. Is this correct?
After your post, I looked up No Hands Squats and found a few videos of some, but it seemed like more of a novelty.
Please understand I am not trying to be argumentative, I am only trying to understand.
Thanks.


#10

I think what he’s saying is that you do need to use your hands, but you should strive to have the balance that the people in those videos have.

Using your hands is important but basically just don’t try to rely on them too much to support whatever weight you’re squatting. Try squatting an empty bar a few times with no hands to get a feel for it, then squat again with the bar in the same position but with your hands on it


#11

Dude, you are still going to have your hands on the bar; they just shouldn’t be the thing that keeps the bar from rolling off your back. If they are, you are going to have elbow pain.