T Nation

Squat/Shoulder Pain Problem

So I had a little problem squatting yesterday… I grabbed the empty bar and held an ATG squat for 20-ish seconds just to loosen everything up. Apparently, my shoulders didn’t quite get the memo though, and when I loaded up 135 for another warmup (my squat was 185 on tuesday), I hadn’t even gotten past standing with the bar before my left shoulder EXPLODED in pain, enough to make me rerack the bar fast enough that I actually cut my middle knuckle on the left hand. I did as many in-situ shoulder stretches as I could think of, and tentatively tried out that damn 135 again.

No dice. No new cuts, but no dice. Go into the machine area, crack the pec fly machine as far back as it goes and put on 85, then 120 lbs to try to warm up my shoulders a little bit more. Worked, but after incrementing to 200 lbs, I could only bang out 1 set with even parallel legs and my shoulder STILL couldn’t quite handle it. The pain is centered around the joint, and stretches maybe 2 inches in either direction from it.

To describe my form, I was keeping my shoulder blades tight, hands up like I was surrendering, elbows down, hands maybe 1 ft from my head.

My right shoulder was perfectly fine, but not my left. I dunno if I just slept on it wrong and didn’t have time to naturally correct it, but since I plan on going to the gym in the morning all the time, is there any SUPER stretches for the shoulder/rotator cuff? Was my form wrong, at least in theory? (at least how I described it… I had the free-weight room all to myself, so nobody to take a picture)

Search for some articles about shoulders by Eric Cressey.

I think the point you should probably take away from this experience is that it might be worth your time to warm up your whole body before a session–even if it’s just squats.

Things like YTWLs make my shoulders feel awesome.

You could also try widening your grip a bit and see what happens. Experiment.

Thanks a lot for the video link, I’ll definitely start off my next workout with those.

I blew my right shoulder about a little over a month ago, and I’m sure that part of the problem was back squatting without warming up my shoulders. My current warm up hits upper and lower body with a mix of high rep/low intensity prehab stuff, and static stability stuff…example

1x12 band dislocates
1x12 band behing the neck presses
1x12 band pull aparts
1x20x30lb one hand face pulls per arm
1x20x50 two hand face pulls with rope attachment
1x20x25lb plate halos
1x3x10lb medicine ball bottoms up press and hold per arm
2x5 body weight squats
2x3 overhead squats with light bar or one handed with medicine ball
I’ll also add some one handed Sots presses with the medicine ball when I’m on the last overhead squat.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great warmup.