Elbow pain in the low bar squat
Elbow pain is a common complaint amongst powerlifters – and a likely culprit is your squat.
The pain might not initially manifest while squatting. Very often we have trainees first complain of elbow pain/symptoms while bench pressing. One of the first places we look for trouble, though, is their squat. If left long enough, elbow pain can fester into a very troublesome and chronic issue. Most likely to be diagnosed as tennis elbow, golfers elbow or some kind of elbow or bicep tendinopathy.
There are a few key points that we will evaluate when looking at how your squat may be causing issues:
1. Your wrist position/angle
You can try various grips to take pressure off the wrists. Your back should be supporting the weight, not your arms and wrists. Possible grip variations include the full grip, false grip and talon/monkey claw grip (with which you will develop a very manly inner pinky callous).
2. Your back tightness/setup
As mentioned above, your back should be taking the weight of the bar. We do this by ‘tightening’ the back muscles and providing a shelf of support for the barbell. A simple way to cue this is to do a reverse pec dec motion, followed by a lat pulldown motion. Doing this without a bar on your back should help you feel the muscles that should be tight.
3. Don’t let the bar roll down
It’s not uncommon for the barbell to slip or roll slightly down your back, especially during reps. This will compromise your upper backs ability to support the weight, making you rely on your arms and wrist to prevent the weight rolling off your back. Help prevent this by using your wrist/grip to roll the bar FORWARD, very slightly, thus preventing it rolling down your back.
For more info, check out this handy dandy video!