Shoulder Pain in Straight-Bar Back Squat Position

Not a bulky person but agony when reaching back to this position, mostly felt at the base of the delt between bicep and tricep on the right shoulder. Done some of the tests but can’t decide what it is. Side lateral raises ain’t so good, but other movements not affected, benching is no problem, Diagnosis? Rehab? TIA

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Diagnosis: lack of external shoulder rotation


Step your bicep

Do a little mid-back move to get your shoulders stable

Try putting your pinkie under the bar. Or your pinkie and your ring finger under the bar.

Don’t be one of those clowns with the ultra destructive, ultra low bar position.


Great work. Thanks so much for the comprehensive answer. I’ll get on to this tomorrow.

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Anytime! Good luck.

How narrow is your grip on the bar?

I think about 1 to 1.25 hand widths away from my shoulders, but struggle to get that narrow at the moment because of the pain.

Try widening them out slightling.

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Do these and don’t start squatting until you feel a substantial reduction in pain when you have the bar in position.

Okay, will do, thanks :+1:

All banger advice.

If you aren’t already, consider utilising behind-the-neck pressing in your training. Start light with reduced ROM (pressing from bar at scalp height to full extension) and gradually build up load and range of motion over time. This will help you maintain the range of motion required for low bar squatting.

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Okay. Got it thanks :+1:

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So an update on this, because the other day I got under the bar without wincing. About ten sessions of physiotherapy including massage, some kind of magnetic machine and some discussion. A list of exercises to get range of movement back. ‘the pain won’t go until you get movement back’. I did these exercises thoroughly.
And they helped. But in discussion with one of the physio’s, when he realised I knew a bit, he set off talking…I asked about sleeping position. I spend 20 minutes exercising, getting the shoulder in the right place, what about sleeping position? If that’s wrong I get 8 hours undoing the 20 minutes! He said ‘It’s very important.’
So looking at my position I realised I was kind of hunched, ironically from a position I adopted to nurse lateral epichondilitis. I started lying awake with my arm thrown behind my back with external rotation. couldn’t sleep like that to start with. Then I could. And this has been the greatest help in recovery
I never stayed like that all night, but I could stay like that and sleep for several hours. So check your sleeping position, and try correcting it , just for a few minutes. when you feel things improving that’s the motivation to give it some more.
And part of the cause was sitting in a bad position at the pc. That’s why one shoulder more than the other. Constant tension pulled things out of position.