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  • painful elbows where biceps and forearms insert while squatting

    I've been low bar squatting for aprox 1.5 years now and recently-last 3 weeks my elbows have been excruciatingly painful during my work sets (315).
    I'm comfy under the bar and have the flexibility to get in position and do my warm-up with no issue whatsoever.But about 30 seconds after a work set I get a gradual ramping up
    of pain that is best described as a severe ache.It weakens my grip and makes doing pull ups and bench difficult because my grip is compromised.
    Could this be a nerve compression? It responds well to nsaids afterward and now I am taking them before my workout -which helps.
    Your thoughts?

  • #2
    It doesn't sound like a nerve compression, but it sounds like the way you're carrying the barbell on your back is suboptimal.
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    • #3
      I had the same problem. I widened my grip on the bar and it went away. Don't know if that will help you or not.

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      • #4
        I've had similar symptoms at times. In my case it always ended up being that I was hearing "low bar" squat, but actually setting the bar TOO low on my back - and as a result my arms were carrying the weight rather than just stabilizing it on my back.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2tyOLvArw0

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        • #5
          I widened my grip yesterday and it helped a great deal on my 320 work sets.

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          • #6
            I had the same problem but went the other way with my arms, I brought them in closer and that helped me tighten my back. Forearm pain has so far gone away.

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            • #7
              I had this same issue for about 6 weeks. It was terrible. I changed from a "thumbs over" to a "thumbs around" grip. This changed the position of my elbows and made a world of difference. I also have to consciously think about not pushing up on the bar during the ascent. I found myself doing that a lot with heavier loads.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Snafu View Post
                I also have to consciously think about not pushing up on the bar during the ascent
                This, pulling down on the bar, and carrying a significant amount of weight in the arms (vs. on the back) are the most common reasons for this elbow pain issue. It can take a bit of experimentation to get it fixed.
                IG / YT

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                • BobFitz
                  BobFitz
                  Junior Member
                  BobFitz commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have been getting pain in my elbows and humerus after doing 3-0-3 tempo squats. Possibly due to pushing up with my arms during the slower ascent.

              • #9
                All great cues listed here...

                Another I found helpful while dealing with the same issue was to really focus on keeping my rear delts flexed and consciously let my hands relax as much as possible on top of the bar before each rep. (I stayed thumbs on top).

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                • #10
                  i'ma have to try all of the above, plus Austin's "Squat Errors" on
                  Alan Thrall
                  Junior Member
                  Alan Thrall 's youtube site, coz my arms are in agony after completing my Squats these days

                  i had to cut my workout short on Monday coz i had nothing left in my arms

                  if i can't sort it, i'll have to move Squats to the end of every workout and just endure the pain till i can get home and neck some ibuprofen
                  The Lie of Freedom - Just another Straw Pulled at Random

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by DoubleJ View Post
                    i'ma have to try all of the above, plus Austin's "Squat Errors" on
                    Alan Thrall
                    Junior Member
                    Alan Thrall 's youtube site, coz my arms are in agony after completing my Squats these days

                    i had to cut my workout short on Monday coz i had nothing left in my arms

                    if i can't sort it, i'll have to move Squats to the end of every workout and just endure the pain till i can get home and neck some ibuprofen
                    You definitely need to sort it out. It's not a great training or pain management decision to move your squats and tough it out. Even if you need to deload your squat weight a tad to fix the bar position, your elbows, and your upper back position, do that now, not later.

                    I speak from personal experience. :-)

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Leah Lutz View Post
                      You definitely need to sort it out ... Even if you need to deload your squat weight a tad to fix the bar position, your elbows, and your upper back position, do that now, not later
                      Thank you, Leah - that make a lot of sense!

                      There's a lot of good advice ITT - Any advice on what to focus on first? Or any cues that you found useful from your experience?

                      I've not had a real problem with this until I started on The Bridge and squatting frequency went up to 3x a week. I don't know if that's significant. Bar weight hasn't gone up significantly

                      another thing i'm suspicious of is the height the bar is racked at; my gym only has power racks with quite widely space, non-movable, pins. This means i'm unracking the bar in quite a "tall" stance before walking it out. any thoughts on this?

                      Thanks again!
                      The Lie of Freedom - Just another Straw Pulled at Random

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by DoubleJ View Post

                        Thank you, Leah - that make a lot of sense!

                        There's a lot of good advice ITT - Any advice on what to focus on first? Or any cues that you found useful from your experience?

                        I've not had a real problem with this until I started on The Bridge and squatting frequency went up to 3x a week. I don't know if that's significant. Bar weight hasn't gone up significantly

                        another thing i'm suspicious of is the height the bar is racked at; my gym only has power racks with quite widely space, non-movable, pins. This means i'm unracking the bar in quite a "tall" stance before walking it out. any thoughts on this?

                        Thanks again!
                        We're all happy to help! I'd try setting the bar lower in the rack given your situation. This will mean that you might have to semi-squat to get under it, but that should allow you to move around the bar position with come confidence and consistency So you'll be lower, but then you can really get the bar set right under the spine of your scapula, tighten your upper back HARD under the bar, and keep your elbows set down (or triceps glued to your lats) while you're setting up. If you try to make these elbow and upper back adjustments after you walk out, it's too late.

                        So I'd start there and cue yourself ELBOWS DOWN when you squat, especially on the ascent so you aren't jacking them up.

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                        • #14
                          Thanks for getting back to me on this, Leah. Much appreciated

                          Originally posted by Leah Lutz View Post
                          I'd start there and cue yourself ELBOWS DOWN when you squat, especially on the ascent
                          Will try this on Monday, and let you know

                          Originally posted by Leah Lutz View Post
                          tighten your upper back HARD under the bar
                          could you just clarify what you mean here, pls? as in ... pull the shoulder blades back and together?

                          The Lie of Freedom - Just another Straw Pulled at Random

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                          • #15
                            Mini update after today's workout:

                            I focused on pinching shoulders back and keeping elbows 'glued' down, When combined with an exaggeratedly wide grip, there was no re-occurrence of the muscle pain around the elbows

                            i did have trouble finding the right hand position; thumbs-over worked the best, but i did have to rotate my thumbs up to relieve some pressure. WIP

                            Lowering the rack position was problematic, as i couldn't unrack the bar without it banging into the next pin up, and throwing the bar off-balance. Prolly need to experiment a bit here

                            Thanks everyone for your assistances
                            The Lie of Freedom - Just another Straw Pulled at Random

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