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Instability and wrist discomfort in high-bar position

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  • Instability and wrist discomfort in high-bar position

    For some reason I can't place the bar in the high-bar position. When it's on my traps, it always starts to roll down and off my back, at which point my wrists bend back to stop it, causing strain in my wrists. If I try to place it higher, then it feels like it's on the bones of my neck and is so uncomfortable I can't tolerate it. My wrists bend back in every case, including if I use a thumbless grip. This is really confusing for me because I can keep them straight when the bar is very low like in low bar, but I don't "feel" a stable surface for the bar to rest on when the bar is on my traps. It's either up on my neck or trying to roll off entirely.

    Any advice would be appreciated. No one else on the internet seems to have this problem. People only talk about strained wrists in relation to low bar squats.

  • #2
    I have a few questions and also a few ideas. First the questions:
    1) Can you comfortably squat low bar? That is, do you have no similar problem with low bar or just a little bit but not enough to be a real issue?
    2) Does it happen at all weights with high bar? Is it uncomfortable/weird with just the bar, the bar + a bit of weight, or only at work sets?
    3) Does it feel uncomfortable from the start or at a certain point during the lift? Meaning - when you take up position and un-rack the bar
    do you feel unstable/uncomfortable pretty much right away or only when you start the descent or at some other point?

    A few ideas
    1) If you're at a gym, they might have a velcro wrap foam sleeve that you can wrap around the center of the bar. That might
    allow the bar to sit in a more comfortable position or make it a little less likely to roll. If that's not available you could place a folded
    towel under the bar (you'll see this in some old bodybuilding photos from the 70s.)
    2) Have you tried really changing it up with your grip width? If you have a grip width that works for low bar and are trying to use
    the same one for high bar you might want to experiment with some different grip widths - both wider and narrower looking for
    something that feels stable. Note - not something that feels the same way as your grip with low bar but just something that
    where the bar feels stable. This may involve changing the position of your hands and the placement of the bar as well.
    You don't have to be dogmatic about how high the bar rides. Perhaps your high bar position is just a little bit lower.

    Perhaps some combination of varying your grip width, adjusting the placement of the bar (possibly a little bit lower than
    a textbook high bar), and cushioning the bar may provide some relief. If the problem was so concerning that you never
    loaded any weight on the bar (i.e. because the bar itself immediately felt wrong you never added weight) you might
    put some weight on the bar and see if say, 95 - 135 lbs (total) feels like it settles in a better position after un-racking.
    And finally, you could shoot some video of your low bar to see exactly where the bar sits on you back and how your
    hands are placed and then gradually kick the bar up higher and higher each week slowly moving from low to high.

    ​​​​​​​

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    • #3
      Your arms are not supposed to hold the weight in a squat, just stabilize it. Your arms do not stop the bar from sliding down your back.

      I recommend posting a form check video to the facebook group, but without seeing you squat I would guess you are standing too upright. Lean forward more.

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