T Nation

Tweaks to Spare My Elbow


#1

How have you guys had success in alleviating pain in the elbows from low bar squatting? My squat feels good and my elbows don’t hurt during, but hurt the next day. Its causing a problem for my pressing days, and I am looking to fix or at least reduce the pain. My plan now is to improve my mobility through my upper back and shoulders, do some soft tissue work through my arms and forearms, and throw in sets of curls sometimes, for balance around my elbow joint (I do exactly 0 curls as of now). Would love to hear feedback about what’s worked for you. Thanks!


#2

Do high bar squats most of the time except when your close to a competition. Use the same form you would for low bar. Be sure to include plenty of P-chain work to make up for the difference.


#3

That plus SSB squats. This is probably the main reason why a lot of lifters only squat high bar during meet prep. Chad Wesley Smith even alternates between high bar and low bar from week to week during his peaking phase.


#4

Wider grip (at sleeves even on a squat bar) for all but heaviest sets; learn how to get your upper back tight without gripping the bar; SSB squats only for a month or two; if you’re doing pull-ups either drop them completely until the pain goes away or use neutral grip only.


#5

Thanks all for the tips! Gives me a lot to work with. @MarkKO, why drop pull ups? Is that your experience, that dropping them helped? Just curious, really appreciate the response


#6

@Mence97 my experience was that the combination of technically poor overhand grip pull-ups with a narrow, low bar grip absolutely annihilated my elbows. It took me a while to figure out why they were hurting so much, by which time I had no option but to stop anything even remotely irritating to my elbows.

Arguably if you’re good at pull-ups and you’re in the early stages with your elbows dropping low bar for SSB might work. I’d play it safe though, and do fatman pull-ups instead until things clear up.


#7

Got it, thanks for expounding on that! I always appreciate knowing the ‘why’


#8

It helps. I’ve seen mention of pull-ups being a cause of elbow pain in a Dan John piece (he recommends weighted for lower reps and ab wheel if I remember correctly), and I’m pretty sure Paul Carter mentioned it at least in passing.


#9

Input from weak non-power lifter guy who stumbles into reading this forum from time to time but seriously jacked up an elbow from low bar squatting: do your pull ups on rings if you want to keep them in, or at least find something the allow a neutral grip. The slight rotation and movement rings allow makes it easier on shoulders and elbows.


#10

Bit late and not really to do with the squat but something that could help is to reduce the extra things in your training split that cause elbow pain which could help your low bar pain. I swapped Barbell close grip Bench as assistance to Neutral grip DB press and its worked well. Also for Tricep movements like Pushdowns swap for Band Pushdowns.