T Nation

Love to squat but can?t

My shoulders are getting old and I can?t hold the bar without pain. I gather that this is quite a common problem. I would be happy if I could get some tips on performing the squat without shoulder pain. I saw that Dave Draper had the same problem and had invented some kind of junk to hold the bar. I don?t feel like buying some contraption. I?m interested in Zercher squats. Are they as good as regular squats?

Front squats.

Do you place the bar across the back of your shoulders? Try putting it down further along your traps, below your rear delts. This will take some getting used to, but you shouldn’t aggravate any shoulder injuries this way. I’ve never squatted with the bar anywhere else but along my traps.

Zerchers will work until you start adding plates.

Fred Hatfield sells a “safety squat” bar that puts the load forward (somewhat like a front squat) but doesn’t require you to use your hands at all. Might be worth checking out.

I feel your pain. I’ve been doing fronts lately, but I don’t like them nearly as well. Not as natural a motion as back squats.

get a safety squat bar, you will be able to beging to squat normal again after a month of its use…Big Martin

Get a safety squat bar. That’s the reason I bought mine.

Dumb Questions that I haven’t seen addressed:

  1. is the pain from where the bar rests on your shoulders/traps?

  2. is the pain from holding the bar - ie the position of your shoulders/arms/elbows/wrists?

  3. are you dead set on not buying any bars or accessories to help?

having the pain more clearly defined would be a big plus in getting the help you need.

Hip belt squats would work too.

I used to squat pretty heavy, but back pains and a big ass have changed my thinking. Lately, I do extensions first, then squats on a smith. I don’t need to go as heavy, don’t have to worry about balance as much, and get a great pump without having to go excessively heavy due to the pre-exhausting effect of the extensions.

Try a Manta Ray.

For me, it’s where the bar rests on my shoulders.

Sorry but there must be something wrong with the way my computer is displaying your post. At my end it looks like you’re saying you use the smith machine for squats and something about getting a great pump.

The mighty stu should get flamed.

now I’m not gonna flame him unless I have to.

My problem is the twisted motion when you are holding the bar, not that it is resting on the shoulders. I?ll try to learn front squats because I miss squatting (sob).

Twisted motion? My shoulder pain with squats is just holding the bar up there. Your shoulders rotate back to some degree to hold on to the bar and my poor ol’ shoulders just don’t like it. Putting the bar lower on your back only complicates the problem. I grab the bar as far out as possible (all the way at the end) to minimize my discomfort.

Lars, I’m confused as to your problem. Where do you put the bar now? What do you mean by twisted motion? How will front squats help you if you have shoulder pain? The bar is still resting on your shoulders. Please give us some more info on exactly what you think the problem is.

I’ve recently started squatting. But if like ‘The mighty Stu’ says it causes your ass to grow huge I think I’ll cut it out of my routine cos my ass is big enough as it is.

I’ve been doing Zercher squats (and good mornings) as part of my Renegade Powerlifting program for the past eight weeks. They are damn good! Once you get used to the pain in the crook of your arms, you will love them.

The first time I tried them (eight weeks ago), I used a measly 100lbs. I can now do more than 200lbs. That’s in eight weeks. Just think of how much stronger I’ll be in the near future. It just took a little time to get used to them. They have also helped strengthen my legs and glutes and regular back squat.

Do them!

I had problems with my elbows and shoulder alignment.

After reading: http://t-mag.com/html/body_120squat.html I realized a lot of my problems in poor alignment and mechanics and now I can squat.

Well… some