T Nation

Elbow Pain from Squats


Hey all, first post in this section. I've been lifting for about a year (SL5x5), I think that still makes me a beginner.

In the last 3 months or so I've been getting fairly serious elbow pain, both during and after workouts, and at other times as well. I have a physically intensive job and that seems to aggravate them as well.

I do low-bar and I have long arms and somewhat inflexible shoulders...I can just barely force my wrists straight while in a low-bar and I always feel the strain on my elbows. I've tried a few position tweaks but none solve the issue. A couple of nights I've woken up at 3AM and had to pop a motrin to get back to sleep, so I'm not willing to ignore this anymore. I feel that damage is being done.

My question is, what would be the consequences of switching to high-bar squats? Am I just moving strain to a different bodypart? Is it really that inferior of an exercise? Is there anything wrong with trying it out and seeing how I feel? It just seems like everything I read insists on doing low-bar, but I'm starting to conclude that it's just not an option for me with my joints and body type.


You likely have tendonitis in your elbows. I had the same thing which made squats a painful bitch to do for several months.

You are going to need to change things up for a bit until your elbows get sorted out. If high bar is the answer then do that. If you need to switch to front squats then do that. Do a Google search for treating golfer's elbow for some rehab ideas.


Move your hands out, thumbs over not under the bar, rotate your hand counterclockwise to keep your wrists straight, and most importantly, stop squatting low bar 3x a week. But keep low bar as your main form if that's what's most advantageous.


Thanks for the tips, all of you. I have actually done all those things you mentioned; my hands are about 2" from the pins and I force my wrists straight. It seems to help, a bit, but I still couldn't manage my 3rd set today even after popping some motrin (I know, why haven't I stopped doing them already if they hurt so much.)

I may also omit squats on my mid-week workout as you suggest.

I'm gonna try front squats next workout, we'll see how that goes. I'll obviously have to start with not much weight but it's worth a shot. Thanks again guys.


....go to a doctor?


I gave my elbows a break from all squats for this week (just leg press), elbow stuff cleared up and now benching of any kind isn't a pain anymore either.

Idk if high bar would fix the issue for me, probably make the weight drop way too low due to a bunch of weak knee issues.

Front squats are the SHIT. Do them "arnold" style if you don't have the power clean flexibility.


Your elbow pain was caused from squats, or it only hurts when you squat? Any other exercises that hurt?

Ever try elbow sleeves?