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Waking up with numb arms; bench or squat related?

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  • Waking up with numb arms; bench or squat related?

    Once I get a few weeks into a training cycle, I start waking up with numb arms in the morning unless I sleep in very specific positions. If I take a few days off lifting, this goes away completely.

    I'm pretty sure it's either related to squatting or benching. I'm currently squatting 2x per week and benching 4x per week. I'm going to cut out one movement at a time to try and isolate what the issue is.

    I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem, and, if so, how did you remedy it? I'm sure it could be related to my form, but I feel like I have very good form. Maybe my body doesn't agree with the straight bar on specific movements? Maybe there's some movements I could incorporate to alleviate this issue as a preventative? I'm open to suggestions.

  • #2
    Take everything I'm about to say with a grain of salt but I have had a similar thing happen to me. I would wake up most nights of the week with part of my fingers/hand numb/asleep normally on the side I'm sleeping on (so right hand if I woke up laying on my right side and vis versa). For about a month or 2 now I've been massaging my traps with a theracane and holding an upper trap stretch with pressure on a sensitive spot right before bed. I tend to get a cavitation or crack afterwards when I gently side bend my head towards my shoulder as much as I can and my neck feels much more relaxed afterwards. I also started sleeping with one pillow instead of 2 under my head. I haven't had any of the numbness in my hands since I've been doing both of these things. If I had to guess, I think muscle tightness and poor sleep positioning was causing some nerves to get irritated in my neck which caused the symptoms in my hands. Do both of your arms go numb and is it your whole arm?


    • #3
      Varying degrees of numb/asleepness. Usually just the hand or hands. It can be just one or both, depending on how I'm sleeping.

      The crazy thing is, I can sleep in some weird positions right now with zero problems since I've taken a week off of lifting due to being covered in poison ivy. I just started back lifting today, and I'm subbing out Squat with Front Squat and subbing out Bench with OHP to see if it alleviates the issue.

      I'm definitely going to try the trap stretch you're talking about. I have a similar thing where I can pop my neck for some alleviation.

      Anyway, hopefully this clears it up. If it does, I think I'll stick to variations and try using some specialty bars like SSB for Squat and a Football/Swiss bar for Bench. I don't compete. I just lift to feel good and look good. And the numbness isn't making me feel good lol. I would love to just fix the issue via some prehab exercises, but I don't know what they would be. I do a lot of hanging from a pullup bar to try and get my shoulders loosened up and stretched out.


      I also only use one pillow when I'm sleeping. I switched from two to one for the same reason. Sounds like we do have a similar situation going on.
      Last edited by Austin DeShazo; 05-15-2020, 01:44 AM.


      • #4
        Personally I don't think changing your exercises will have a huge impact on it but it may be worth a shot if you feel like those exercises are contributing to it and you aren't training for a competition. I do think that massage and gentle stretching of the neck could help alleviate symptoms a bit but if it really bothers you it might be worth seeing a good ortho doc or PT to get a more definitive diagnosis. Good luck!


        • #5
          99% certain those exercises (squat and/or bench) are contributing to it, because not doing them returns me to "normal" with no issue of hand/arms falling asleep when sleeping in odd positions.

          Another reason I'm fairly sure is that I tried doing squats every day for 30 days a year or two prior to this, and I had the same issue only more intense. It got to the point that simply putting my arms on the bar in squat position caused them to instantly lose feeling.

          Would it be smart/safe/the politically correct thing to go see a doctor? Yes, but I don't have health insurance, and I believe I have this under control; I hope!

          Anyway, thanks for chiming in, I just wanted to know if anyone else had run into something similar. If I thought it were a really serious problem, I would certainly find a way to go see a doctor. Right now I have it narrowed down to a pretty certain cause and effect.


          • #6
            3 week update:

            I've been completely fine except for when I Bench, Dip, or do Push-ups. If I do any of those exercises for a good amount of volume, I wake up the next day with some degree of hand numbness.

            OHP has been completely fine for me. I'm still Front Squatting instead of Back Squatting. I would like to get back to doing Bench variations without whatever is happening (shoulder impingement maybe?). Will continue to trial and error my way to a solution. Currently started doing more pulling movements and shoulder prehab.