high bar squat spine pain
Many experienced lifters, coaches and all-time record holders will tell you the importance of squeezing your traps as hard as you can. A lack of shoulder mobility can cause pain during the squat. It is not a good idea to use the bar pad, especially if you are a powerlifter or an athlete that needs to compete without using the bar pad. There is a range of technical errors that will cause neck pain while high bar squatting, including not engaging the muscles of your upper back, having the barbell move while squatting, and not placing your head in the correct position. By looking up, you are straining your neck and changing the dynamics of your high bar squat. Keep your neck in line with your thorasic spine. If you’re interested in how powerlifters train back then check out my article that gives you a sample routine. While switching to low bar squats, and experimenting with your bar placement more generally, can be one way to alleviate neck pain while squatting, there are several reasons why you might be getting pain in the first place. Read my article on the top 9 squat cues to improve strength and technique. Your spine should never be sore after squats. But if you are high bar squatting, it does not make any sense to not take advantage of using your traps. When doing a high bar squat, the bar should be placed on your traps. | All Rights Reserved. When you switch to a low bar squat position, you’ll place the load (hopefully) on a part of your back that has more musculature, which provides additional cushioning. The bar should be rested on your rear delts (the back of your shoulders)--not on the top of your shoulders, and not on your neck/cervical spine, which will feel terrible (this is a high bar squat which has different mechanics). A miro movement is a shift in the barbell’s position after you’ve already placed the weight on your back. A post shared by Jim Benson (@warriorelite49). There’s a certain activation process that you want to go through as you unrack the weight, which I’ll explain later. Perfect squat form is rare. 3 reasons why you should run the starting strength program, Two questions you must ask to decide which diet is best for you. Intro: 0-4:52High Bar: 4:52-8:32Low Bar: 8:32-13:35Depth Rant: 13:35-18:15Why you can't squat low: 18:15-23:45Back Pain: 23:45-end 2. One of the easiest fixes to alleviating neck pain while squatting is to experiment with where the barbell sits on your back. However, if you are avoiding high bar squats because of muscular weakness or bad form, it is better to check your ego and learn how to do a proper high bar squat. The C7 vertebrae is usually pretty obvious to spot as it’s the large boney structure at the base of your neck. © 2017-2019 It also may limit your desire to load more weight to the barbell because with more weight, the more pain you might get. I’m confident at least one of these tips will work for you! Another common error is having ‘miro movements’ on the barbell while squatting. What this means is that squatting hurts your neck because of the position you’re in, but it’s not the position that originally caused the pain. One possible explanation for why you are experiencing neck pain from high bar squats is because you are placing the bar too high. If you are an Olympic weightlifter, high bar squats are your bread and butter. Does the squat bar hurt your neck? The high-bar squat has the bar lay on top of the shoulder, just below the C-7 vertebrate. That’s the next question you need to ask yourself. PowerliftingTechnique.com also participates in affiliate programs with Bluehost, Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites. Your head should be positioned neutral, not tilting up or down. If you are a squat beginner, we suggest you to start with low bar to achieve better leverage before you can lift more weights with the high bar. Nevertheless, you have sustained neck bruises from high bar squats. If you are, that is why you are experiencing neck pain. ... and previous history of pain and dysfunction. Elbows— Another common error occurs when the lifter proceeds to roll the shoulders forward and jack the elbows up high, even after establishing a tight bar position out of the rack. Usually, inexperienced lifters will invite these injuries to come due to issues with strength, form, and stability. It’s not normal for your neck to hurt while high bar squatting. Any extra movements will waste your energy. Make sure that the barbell is not sitting on this bone or above it. High bar squats should not cause you any neck pain, or any pain in that regard. If this is the case, you’ll need to address the problem from multiple angles, which may take slightly longer to correct. If it does, great. What is likely happening is that you are moving your neck while you are squatting. Find out several ways to prevent injuries from taking over your life! Once you develop more upper back hypertrophy, you’ll notice the barbell sitting more comfortable on your back and the weight feels ‘lighter’. Your eyes should be fixed on a position on the ground; It shows that you are focused and will not be easily distracted by other gym variables. You should know that it’s very rare for a barbell to fall completely off the back. Squeeze the shoulder blades together. If the Trapezius muscles are not developed the bar may dig into the cervical spine and cause pain. As you squat down, your back remains upright. Then, I’ll dive deeper into these fixes so you can start working your way toward pain-free squatting. One of the main differences between the low-bar and high-bar squat is bar placement on the back. There are several different factors that can cause lower back pain: First of all, your back might be pained because it was not in the neutral and flat position while squatting. Strength coaches and elite lifters will only touch on the topic lightly since it can be avoided with proper form. If you have back pain it’s typically best to do a high bar squat. Lastly, if an athlete has pathology in in their knee, then high bar squats may provide too much anterior force and result in knee pain. You could also try increasing hypertrophy of your upper back muscles, reducing your squat frequency, or tucking your chin/finding a neutral head position while squatting. A post shared by Jim Benson (@warriorelite49) on May 18, 2015 at 11:35pm PDT. Barbell Back Squat (High Bar Position) Place the bar on the Trapezius muscles. For example, if you have knee pain with front squats, try switching to a low bar squat for 4-6 weeks to allow the knee to calm down. Most often, the fix is simply moving the bar a bit lower on your back, engaging your upper back muscles prior to unracking the barbell, and making sure your head is in the right position. The next step is to get the bar into the correct position on your back. A typical low bar squat will force you to rest the barbell around your shoulder blades. Tucking their chin will naturally draw their head into a more neutral position. Neutral Neck Hold the “Apple” Under your Chin. It’s not uncommon for elite-level powerlifters to get bruising on their back from the pressure of the barbell. When doing a high-bar barbell back squat lift your chest as high as you can. If you’re lower in bodyweight and don’t have much upper back musculature, the barbell may start to hurt the neck under heavier load. However, if you have a history of neck issues, especially around your C7 nerves, which are responsible for straightening your elbows, you may get some more lingering neck pain when performing high bar squats wrong. Do not proceed with doing any more squats as any spine pain is not normal. Many of these misconceptions come from the extremely high prevalence of back pain as discussed above. Analyzing the Low Bar Squat A low bar squat requires an athlete to have a more horizontal position in regards to their torso, which produces a more acute hip angle so that the hamstrings will be under tension at the bottom of the squat. Unless you are a world-record holder for squats, there should be minimal or no bruising on you. If you are looking up, this may explain why you are experiencing neck pains. Placing the barbell incorrectly on your traps will cause neck pain. What you want to avoid is a situation where the barbell is sitting on relaxed muscle that hasn’t created any tightness. When doing a high bar squat, the bar is placed on the “shelf” of your traps. As the name implies, in a low-bar squat the bar is placed on the back across the spine of the scapula. So regardless of what you read online or how you’ve originally been taught, you should move the barbell around to see if there’s a reduction in pain, even if the position is somewhat counter-intuitive or the opposite of what’s considered a ‘best practice’. Anterior and lateral hip pain being the most typical. Lower back pain after squats usually results from repetitive lumbar flexion under load. While getting bigger traps is one way to fix neck pain while squatting if you don’t have a lot of upper back musculature to cushion the load, there are several reasons why you might be getting pain in the first place. Again, make sure to place the barbell on your traps instead of your neck. You shouldn’t just loosely place the barbell on your back with relaxed muscles. There are many high bar squat alternatives that can be done. Usually, many lifters will experience neck pain from doing high bar squats? If high bar squats are giving you trouble, there is no shame in switching stances for a couple of days and revisiting the high bar squat. Always getting injured each year? Unrack the bar By pulling your shoulde… For a lot of lifters, high bar squatting will just always feel slightly uncomfortable on the neck/traps. Generally, low bar squats will be your stronger stance since you are able to load more weight. Not all of these tips will apply to everyone equally though. When you have neck pain, it can distract you from thinking about other components of your technique, or applying maximum force to the barbell. Seated rows, pull-ups, and other sites the base of a strong squat to learn stances! 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