T Nation

Squat Hand Setup - Attempt 2


I have been doing Starting Strength with my own small mods (addition of face pulls, curls, tricep pulldowns, pullups, and lateral raise). I have been having wrist and elbow pain during my squats. I think I have the hand position wrong so...I took a pic for anyone who has read/done SS or is just big into squatting's critique. It was a hurried pic, and I didnt have a rack near me as I was not at the gym, so bear with me. Thanks for the help and advice in advance.

The pain does not last, and is not an injury, but I dont think your wrists and elbows should feel strained during a leg exercise. The pain is like when you get chicken winged and as soon as the tension is off and I walk away from the squat rack it fades. Im not doing crazy amounts of weight either as the program slowly builds up, but I figured I would fix this now. Thanks again.

Dear T-Nation moderator who moved this thread the first time. This is not about an injury or rehabbing an injury and does not belong in that forum, as it has nothing to do with an injury or rehabbing one. The thread is actually about achieving a comfortable hand position during squats (training) in order that I may be able to grow my legs (bodybuilding). With respect, thanks for your patience and efforts in keeping the forums organized and clean.



You've got your thumb on top of the bar, which is correct (in Mark Rippetoe's belief). However, it's very obvious why you've got wrist pain: your wrists are bent back. It seems as though this is very common in "beginners" while they are squatting because they want to use their arms to push the weight up as they ascend from the bottom of the squat, so they bend their wrists to try to get some leverage on the bar. This isn't what you should be doing; in fact, I believe I once read Mark Rippetoe write that you should be pushing the bar down into your back, not trying to push it up. I've done this myself and it makes it easier to squat in the right groove, in my opinion.

You're going to have to straighten your wrists. The whole purpose of keeping your thumb on top of the bar is so that your wrist and forearm can be in a straight line. I used to have the same problem as you did, but after reading this section in Starting Strength I was able to just feel when my wrists were where I wanted them to be. If you're unable to correct it just by feel, get someone to check your wrists the next time you squat. If they tell you they're not "straight," keep adjusting them until they say that they are. Then make sure you remember the way this position feels so that you can get into it every time you squat.


A vid would be much more helpful

Because you are probably chicken winging yourself!

Try to keep your forarms perpendicular to the floor as you squat, directly under the bar. My guess (hard without a vid) is that your arms are closer to parrellel to the floor as you squat.


I just throw my hands over the bar and lodge it between my arms and back. This is probably not the optimal manner in which to squat but it is the best way I've found of managing my wrist pain.


I had the same problem. I got some wrist wraps from EFS and the problem was solved.


I dont really want to have to use the wraps. There has to me some kind of technical thing.



Rippetoe says to pull your elbows back and up so that your back flexes and makes a place for the bar to sit.



I'm guessing your glenohumeral mobility is slightly compromised.. Hence the pain in wrists / elbows because you're straining to hold the position.. Also as someone above posted you should be pulling the bar into your shoulders throughout the movement .. I'm guessing your pressing with your arms during your lift.. Look up Cresseys No-money drill for mobility stretches..


Rippetoe, in his book, says that shoulder mobility improves quickly but I dont see this going away anytime soon, and I feel like adding weight, as the program calls for, is only going to exaggerate things.

Ill be sure to look this up. Thanks for the advice and suggestion. Seems real legit.



Widen your grip on the bar 2 or 3 digits worth, then flex your wrists forward in turn pulling your elbows down locking down your lats. The pulling the bar down or bending the bar around the back cue is also something to think about. Also in SS Rippetoe suggests sticking a strip of athletic tape to the back of your hand as to tell if the wrist is in ext.


Went to the gym today to try to correct the setup. No dice, Im trying some types of mobility drills, but I just dont think theyre working. I tried moving my hands around a bit, but I feel like when I move my hands out, my traps dont flex and the bar doesnt have a comfortable place to sit. When I move my hands in, my wrists and elbows get all f***'d up.



IMO - your position is correct with the exception of the lay-back in your wrists. Straighten out your wrists, you should feel like you're pulling the bar down into the "groove" on your back.


I tried, and will continue to try to do that, I think I have poor shoulder mobility or something.