Squatting and shoulder injuries

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Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby Goob » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:06 am

I'm just getting over a squatting related shoulder injury and worried about reinjuring myself from starting back up. I liike squats the most of the lifts I am doing, so definitely want to continue with them, but am having some issues determining the best way to get back into it safely.

I'm not exactly sure what caused the problem, but I think it is from the bar slipping after a few reps and putting stress on my shoulder joint instead of keeping the weight on my back. Right now I set the bar across my rear deltoids, which I guess is the low bar position, but I'm not sure how there is another place it could go.

Everything I have been reading seems to say that closer is better with grip, but I am not very flexible in that direction. I can touch my elbows together with my hands under my arms, but putting my grip even just inside the rings is so tight it is almost painful on the shoulder blades. I have been stretching tons this past month and it doesn't seem to have gotten any better.

Really, I am just looking for suggestions on where to go with this next.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby vegan hal » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:02 pm

hopefully someone with more experience will chime in here. As I feel that a failed box squat last year is what caused my initial shoulder issue too.

what I can say since getting back into it this January, is focusing on a narrow grip. getting the back tight and elbows back seems to be key. and of course driving through the heels. and It's the one lift that I've just taken my time with and focused on technique.

i'm not sure if I'm a high bar or low bar squatter. i tend to think high.

bring on the experts....
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby baldy » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:37 am

vegan hal wrote:bring on the experts....

I am no expert at all. From my own experience, I would say broadly speaking there are the two different squat styles.
As you say there is the low bar, arms as close as possible, elbows up position.
The other is the high bar position, which allows you to take the weight off your arms a lot. So bar on your traps, just find a comfy spot, handles a comfy distance that allow your elbows to be under the bar. Think about keeping everything upright. This position also takes the load off your wrists and lets me squat deeper.

This is now I talk my mind through it, hope it helps!

What exactly was your injury, if its shoulder related you can maybe do some direct work on it to improve your strength in that area? In other words what did a physio say?
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby Goob » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:16 pm

baldy wrote:
vegan hal wrote:bring on the experts....

I am no expert at all. From my own experience, I would say broadly speaking there are the two different squat styles.
As you say there is the low bar, arms as close as possible, elbows up position.
The other is the high bar position, which allows you to take the weight off your arms a lot. So bar on your traps, just find a comfy spot, handles a comfy distance that allow your elbows to be under the bar. Think about keeping everything upright. This position also takes the load off your wrists and lets me squat deeper.

This is now I talk my mind through it, hope it helps!

What exactly was your injury, if its shoulder related you can maybe do some direct work on it to improve your strength in that area? In other words what did a physio say?


I don't think I even have the place that oly lifters put the barbell when squatting :cry: Friday I will have to mess around with trying to get the bar to set some other place because I think that would be the best way to keep from having the same injury again.

And, I don't really know what the injury was exactly because I can't afford to see a physio or anything like that. I have been following a shoulder rehab routine 5 days a week for a few weeks and ~3x a week for a few weeks before that which has really helped a lot. Also, I will keep doing some of the exercises that seem to have helped the most as a precaution. But, I don't think that will keep me from having the same injury again.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby baldy » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:40 am

Goob wrote:I don't think I even have the place that oly lifters put the barbell when squatting :cry: Friday I will have to mess around with trying to get the bar to set some other place because I think that would be the best way to keep from having the same injury again..

Of course you do :), oly people normally do front squats anyway. Just try loads of different combinations until you find a comfy place that doesnt hurt your shoulder.
Dont stress if you have bruises the next day from the bar, that is very common when you start squatting and goes away very quickly.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby Goob » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:40 pm

baldy wrote:Of course you do :), oly people normally do front squats anyway. Just try loads of different combinations until you find a comfy place that doesnt hurt your shoulder.
Dont stress if you have bruises the next day from the bar, that is very common when you start squatting and goes away very quickly.


I'm not worried about bruises or pain. Really, I just don't want to break anything.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby chewybaws » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:27 pm

I use quite a wide grip when I'm squatting and having no problems with upper back. Ring finger on the rings.

If you feel the bar slipping down then I reckon the bar's too low. You should be able to stand completely straight (hips locked) and feel the weight on your back. If you find yourself leaning forward excessively in the top position to prevent the bar falling down onto your wrists, the bar's too low.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby Goob » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:41 am

chewybaws wrote:I use quite a wide grip when I'm squatting and having no problems with upper back. Ring finger on the rings.

If you feel the bar slipping down then I reckon the bar's too low. You should be able to stand completely straight (hips locked) and feel the weight on your back. If you find yourself leaning forward excessively in the top position to prevent the bar falling down onto your wrists, the bar's too low.


Will keep that in mind tomorrow at the gym. I did notice on Monday that I am gripping the bar very tightly while squatting. This could be related I think. Could be gripping tightly because the weight is rolling back. I never realized it before, but my hands were sore still from friday and it was pretty obvious I was squeezing the bar that day.

I definitely feel the weight on my back when I am standing up, or maybe I only think I do because I have been doing it wrong all this time :? This is one of the things that sucks the most about my gym. Usually, I am the only one there and when there is someone else they seem only to be interested in supplements and invisible board pressing, so they wouldn't know if I was doing it right or not.

It's pretty ridiculous that I paid a guy hundreds of dollars for a months worth of sessions to show me how to do things properly and now I think I was better off learning from youtube videos :x
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby Goob » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:21 pm

So, it seems Chewy is right. After lots of testing I think I have found that the bar was a bit too low. Now I am putting it more on top of the rear delts instead of across them, with traps bunched up between my neck and the bar. Feels more on my back and is easier to get my hands into position, but still a bit wide with ring fingers at the rings, elbows can go a lot more back too. The only other spot that doesn't seem like it will slip is all the way up on my neck, but that just doesn't feel safe at all and would rather just front squat if that is where the bar is supposed to go.

The new spot is tricky to stay upright though. Going to have to start over a lot lighter than I thought I would. Tried 135 lbs because I can generally get ~8 reps at that even when I am tired, but was lucky to get 3 today. It's a completely different lift now, but I am a lot more confident I am doing it right this time, so at least I have that. Also, it seems I can get even deeper without losing the arch in my back, so I have that to deal with as well. ~2-3 inches below parallel was deep before, now it feels like a mile at least :lol:

Anyway, things looking good and shoulders feel amazing, better than ever even :mrgreen:
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby baldy » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:25 am

Goob wrote:.... top of the rear delts instead of across them, with traps bunched up between my neck and the bar. .....elbows can go a lot more back too...

In this position I would try keep my elbows "under the bar" rather than back. Will be harder for your core but allow you to stand more upright*.

* that is what I find, your results may vary.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby Goob » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:00 pm

baldy wrote:
Goob wrote:.... top of the rear delts instead of across them, with traps bunched up between my neck and the bar. .....elbows can go a lot more back too...

In this position I would try keep my elbows "under the bar" rather than back. Will be harder for your core but allow you to stand more upright*.

* that is what I find, your results may vary.


Hmmm, will work on that next time to see if it helps, maybe mess with grip width some more to get it right. As it is, I am falling forward with not very heavy weight, which is ridiculous and needs to be worked on.
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Re: Squatting and shoulder injuries

Postby XkillerX » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:48 am

After 3 months of rest failed to help I caved in and went to a physio to confirm that I have blown my left rotator cuff. It is probably a partial tear but will take too long to heal anyways :/

I am still unsure if it was due to my squatting 4x a week or dumbell benching, or strict pressing, or a combination of all. Beh.
Next time, I'll spend the money on drugs instead.
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