T Nation

Joint Pain With Cleans

So im starting to get into olympic lifting, and today after a number of cleans and front squats, i began to notice some discomfort in my wrists, I also later felt some pain in my elbows. Is this normal? I feel i have pretty good form, could it be wrist flexibility? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated, thanks.

My best guess is that you aren’t racking the bar properly across your shoulders. The weight should be across your clavicles with only the finger tips touching the bar for balance and control. Your elbow should be about close to parallel to the ground. You should not have the bar grabbed in your entire palm. If you do, you will be putting pressure on your wrists and your elbows since you will be in a position similar to the bottom of a military press.


Here is a good front squat.

Do you see how the wrists bend back in the photo above? Well…that’s not good for a wrist…But keep doing them…who cares right?

I’m not sure what you mean Zeb. Just sitting here I can bend my wrists back that far without any discomfort whatsoever. I did have some pain and tightness in my wrists when I first started Front Squatting, but that has gone away as my flexibility increased.

-Fireplug

Hey hey…I’ve found that trying to control the bar with it in my hands when I’m doing cleans or front squats is uncomfortable, but not when I use my hands/wrists as little as possible and rely on the bar resting as it does in the photo. Looking at the photo, it looks like the bar is really stable on her shoulders without having to be held or controlled by the arms/hands. In other words, getting a secure shelf/platform for the bar to rest on and not using your hands will help with the wrist pain. Maybe. Hope that’s helpful.

[quote]fireplug52 wrote:
I’m not sure what you mean Zeb. Just sitting here I can bend my wrists back that far without any discomfort whatsoever. I did have some pain and tightness in my wrists when I first started Front Squatting, but that has gone away as my flexibility increased.

-Fireplug[/quote]

Yes, I too can bend my wrists in many directions (hey whem you are bored you are bored…). But the difference is this, 250lbs. are not sitting on my wrists. Sure you can stretch them and build them etc. However, some people are not going to have the wrist structure to support such a movement. And over all I’m not sure that long term damage will not take place over a period of time. Again…if you don’t (or the lifter) does not care…no big deal.

Zeb is wrong

And in terms of the OP

get a decent bar is a good start. a shit gym bar will screw your elbows and wrists

ok thanks for the respsonses, but im confused. what does the bar have to do with it? theyre all just straight pieces of metal no? I think ill just keep it up and hopefully the pain will lessen, and if not, then im gonna have to stop i guess, or get some expert advice.

There are those who do not practice Oly lifts for these very reasons. It is said that the speed of movement and weight being moved, cause too much stress on the joints, tendons and muscles.

There are, of course, others who practice Oly lifts and do not feel any of these effects. In certain cases of soreness, technique may be the issue. You really should have a trained coach monitoring you as you begin, so as to ensure proper technique.

Tyler

[quote]Deathroe wrote:
what does the bar have to do with it? theyre all just straight pieces of metal no? [/quote]

There’s a big difference in how well the ends of the bar rotate - a bar that rotates well is much better and easier on your wrists than a bar with stiff/no rotation.

Stretch your wrists, tri’s, shoulders, lats, and pecs well and there will be no pain and it’s completely safe - ZEB is wrong here. Your wrists aren’t supporting the weight in the rack position, they’re just bent back a bit in a normal ROM. The weight is resting completely on your delts/very upper chest. You’ll get a lot more out of your leg drive this way too, as your delts won’t have to work isometrically to keep the bar from falling off your shoulders in the dip phase of the jerk.

-Dan

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Yes, I too can bend my wrists in many directions (hey whem you are bored you are bored…). But the difference is this, 250lbs. are not sitting on my wrists. [/quote]

They’re not supporting 250lbs (or more) in a good clean either. The load is supported on the shoulders/upper pecs - if your wrists are doing any work in a front squat or a racked clean, you’re doing something wrong/need to improve flexibility.

-Dan

[quote]buffalokilla wrote:
ZEB wrote:
Yes, I too can bend my wrists in many directions (hey whem you are bored you are bored…). But the difference is this, 250lbs. are not sitting on my wrists.

They’re not supporting 250lbs (or more) in a good clean either. The load is supported on the shoulders/upper pecs - if your wrists are doing any work in a front squat or a racked clean, you’re doing something wrong/need to improve flexibility.

-Dan[/quote]

Exactly, at any time in the front squat the athelete could completely remove the hands and the weight would still be supported.

[quote]Deathroe wrote:
but im confused. what does the bar have to do with it? theyre all just straight pieces of metal no? [/quote]

A Olympic bar is far more than a straight piece of metal. If it was just a simple piece of metal they wouldnt cost so much for a good one.

It has the actual bar, which is more flexible than a PL style bar (except a Deadlift bar is usually more flexible than the ol bar… )

Then there are the sleeves where the weights go, they are fixed to the bar with bushings and in good cases bearings. On a good OL bar, the sleeves will spin extremely freely, and smoothly around the actual bar (oh how I love Eleiko OL bars). This is important during the lift.

If the sleeves are like they are on a normal gym bar, they will turn, but they are in general sticky and slow. Definately not what you want during a high speed movement.

What happens when you clean the weight is there is rotational forces from the plates to the bar. If the sleeves do not spin, all these forces are applied to the bar and you.

These are what will injure you, and also cause you to lose lifts.

PL bars and normal gym bars are no alternative to a proper OL bar.

You know I took another look at this thread and I’m thinking you guys are right! It is very safe for your wrists to support a weight in this manner. In fact now that I have fully read the responses I think it might even be healthy for the wrists. The heavier the weight the better. I have no idea what I was thinking of with those prior posts.

I do have over 30 years experience but heck anyone can make a mistake. I think I might be in good company however. I guess the world is full of folks who got this one wrong. (what the heck are we thinking of?)

“Dr. Squat” Fred Hatfield (first man to Squat 1000lbs.) who has over 40 years in the iron game clearly states that you should always use wrist wraps when performing any sort of Olympic movement. According to his web site he thinks that you can damage your wrists with such movements if you do not wrap them appropriately. But keep in mind he does not know as much as the posters on this thread.

Over on Jeff Eversons web site (Bodybuilding Champion Mag publisher and trainee for over 35 years) he states that this particular Olympic movement is a very difficult exercise to perform properly. And it can jam the wrists and cause a great deal of compression. Again I’m sure Mr. Everson has not yet read this thread.

There are probably a list of well qualified experienced men who have years and years of experience who caution others about certain Olympic lift. I want everyone to forgive them as they have probably not had the unique opportunity to view this particular thread.

Again…I apologize, please proceed with that particular lift as I am now sure that it will do no damage to your wrists.

Enough with the sarcasm. The wrist wraps are for the overhead portion of the lift (jerk, top of snatch).

Squat with the bar like this

Also, any advantage/disadvantage between this and the other way

[quote]WhiteLable412 wrote:
Squat with the bar like this

Also, any advantage/disadvantage between this and the other way[/quote]

How am i supposed to clean the bar into this position? I used to do it this way, but i need to practice a clean grip for olympic lifting purposes.

[quote]Deathroe wrote:
WhiteLable412 wrote:
Squat with the bar like this

Also, any advantage/disadvantage between this and the other way

How am i supposed to clean the bar into this position? I used to do it this way, but i need to practice a clean grip for olympic lifting purposes.[/quote]

BB grip is very awkward, much more that clean grip, and in my case, was very hard on shoulders. And as you noted, it’s pretty much useless as you can’t clean the weight that way.

Now, as far as the OL lifts go, I’ve done only Power versions and with small weights. But, even with those, as others stated, the kind of bar you use makes a world of difference and you’ll feel it in shoulders and elbows.

Furthermore, do you use bumper plates? It you’re “uncleaning” the bar after each rep, that can place a lot of stress on shoulders and elbows, too.

And another thing. You can try holding the bar with just 2-3 fingers in the front squat position. This is, of course, only possible if you take the bar out of a rack. I had a video of Rezazadeh front squatting 800lbs for a double, and holding the bar with just 2 fingers - clearly proving that you don’t hold the weight with your wrists in a good front squat.

Finally, check out this article:

http://jva.ontariostrongman.ca/FS.htm

if you just started doing this movement, it’s going to be similar to doing anything strenuous for the first time!

if you never do sprints, go sprint, your legs will be sore from your ass to your calves.

if you never ride a bike, go on a long uphill ride, your legs will be sore as shit.

do you see where this is going?

give it some time, odds are you’re only experiencing what I call the “nooby pains” and they will go away after a couple weeks…

or you’re totally screwed