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Low Bar Squat Shoulder Pain

Hey everyone just looking for some advice on the set up for low bar squat. For me its much stronger than high bar and ive watched endless videos on youtube etc and tweaked my set up countless times and no matter what I do i always end up with shoulder pain.

I have a forward lean with my upper back and try to get the bar down as low as i can. But once the weight starts getting heavier or im doing higher rep sets i start getting a dull ache in my shoulders (although quite often its only my left shoulder). Any tips for correcting this?

Spread your hands out farther on the bar. I hold on to the start of the collars. Helps a ton.

Spreading the arms is an option but I personally think that for most smaller lifters (IE <93kg) this is a poor idea. You dramatically lose tightness in the back and often people begin squatting almost humpbacked to prevent the bar slipping. I honestly think the best option is to learn to develop some mobility in the shoulders. Like you have hopefully been told before, check out KStarr/Sanfranciscocrossfit/MobilityWOD. Lots of great drills there.

I personally used to get some good elbow tendonitis and a bit of shoulder pain but with a bit of work I can squat low bar for huge frequencies/volume and have maybe had one workout with annoying elbow tendonitis this past year. This is how I squat:

Thank you for the advice guys. My shoulder mobility is generally pretty good; have absolutely no problems with front squats, BTN pressing etc etc. And i do a stretching routine on a regular basis but ill look in to doing some extra shoulder mobility work to help it.

@arramzy - your video is set to private :frowning:

Out of curiosity what do you guys focus on doing with your hands in the relation to the bar? Do you actively pull it down still even in low bar or do you more “cup” it just to stabilise it while it lies on your back (ive heard this mentioned in one or two places)

Ive gotten a lot of varying advice on this issue. When I first asked, I just listened to the people that were stronger than me, and thats still a somewhat reasonable way to go about these kinda things, but not always ideal. I used to always have a minor shoulder issue squatting, but I didnt care until it started affecting my bench/OHP training. What I did may or may not be the best route for you to take, but its a way of looking at it anyways. I found a hand placement width that was kindof moderate, not too wide to affect my upper back/core tightness, and then worked on shoulder mobility indirectly by just warming up my shoulders before squatting and eventually it worked itself out.

So basically, you can work at the problem from both sides.

I personally prefer to think squeeze the bar with my hands rather than pulling it down into my back, but the end result might be the same.

Video should be public now.

I like what mkral has to say. When you are warming up with lighter weights or even training in lower percentages, you can edge out your hands a little bit and focus on really tightening the entire rear chain without the benefit of squeezing the bar and pulling it in as hard. Then as you warm up and also get closer to competition period, you can start moving back in.

Thanks for all the advice guys. I also found this video by mark rippetoe that was quite helpful -

Also from watching arramzy’s video i think i was cranking my elbows to far back and high and i think that was also part of the problem. Shoulder flexibility isnt an issue as i can get the bar resting on my rear delts nicely with my hands really narrow on the bar (basically touching my shoulders) so i think it was then the fact i was driving my elbows as far up and back as they could go

Hey guys, just to let you know. I did a really light technique session this morning for the big 3 (im doing 3/4 sets of the big 3 5/6 mornings a week on top of my regular sessions) and did my low bar squats without any shoulder discomfort. Granted there was only 100kg on my back but did a 5-10 min shoulder warm up before hand, had the bar actually a little higher up my back so it was truly resting on my rear delts and used a thumb-less grip. The thumbless grip may take a little getting used to but other than that it felt so much better.

My left shoulder flared up a little after i did bench press but i think thats the damage done from previous sessions rearing its head. Hoping with plenty of band pull aparts and shoulder stretches thatll go pretty quick and hopefully i wont be getting the problem again. Thank you all for you help, thought i may have to stop low bar squatting there for a while!