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Syl

Wrist pain during squats

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Yeah the title pretty much says it all, I had an odd wrist pain in both wrists today while doing squats and I'm not sure if it's because I was using the actual squat rack versus the Smith machine or if it's because I hadn't been to the gym in two weeks (I was sick and then lazy). At my gym there are two of each station and they're pretty much busy at all times and you just get on whatever becomes available first. I used the same amount of weights on the squat rack as I did on the Smith machine last time but it just hurt like nobody's business today. I lowered the weights a little and that seemed to help some, so I guess it could just be a weight issue but I figured I'd stop by here and see what others have to say on the topic.

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It's really going to depend on how you are holding the bar as this is the most likely cause of your pain.  A picture tells a thousand words.

 

Using the smith machine for squats and proper bar bell back squats are NOT the same exercise so don't use the same weight for each. Progress through each of them if you must but I would suggest not using the smith machine.  It's more trouble than it is worth.

 

Plus you were sick for two weeks and decided to start at the same weight as last time rather than easing back into things.  Not surprising.

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Well I was really only sick for like a couple of days and then was lazy for most of the rest of time time. >_> It's sad and there's just no excuse but that's the truth. So basically (without the ability to take a pic of myself doing this), just try to stick with only one method of doing squats and don't use the same weight for each as it's not the same thing.

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Yes. Avoid the smith machine even if you have to wait longer. When you grip the bar you want your wrists to be as straight as possible rather than being bent backwards.

You should be able to ask someone to take a photo for you.

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It should be pointed out explicitly that your wrists are not there to actually support any of the weight on the bar. They're there to pull that bar into your meat shelf and stabilize it there.

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It should be pointed out explicitly that your wrists are not there to actually support any of the weight on the bar. They're there to pull that bar into your meat shelf and stabilize it there.

 

 

Yep, try to bend that damn thing around yourself. Perhaps you have mobility issues? I do so I have to get a wider hand placement on the bar.

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Thanks for the advice and I'll definitely have to take a better look at my wrist placement the next time I'm at the squat rack. Although I'm fairly certain that they were bent back and I will try to do better about wrapping a stiff steel bar around myself next time. Haha I can already begin to see the issue with the Smith machine from just that alone as I know for a fact that I didn't care as much about my wrist placement with that because the bar really wasn't going to go anywhere without me...

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One test I always used back when I had to think more about set up (it's become automatic now) was "If I take my hands of the bar, is it staying where it is?". The answer should be yes, the hands should not support it at all, they're there just to clamp it down in case you stand up or something wonky happens so it doesn't roll off your back.  If they are part of the support system all the time, you're doing it wrong.

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So then where exactly should the bar rest? The first time I did it, it was high up on my shoulders and was more or less pushing down on the top of my spine which hurt. So then a friend suggested that I rest it across my shoulders but more on the back side instead of top side, which doesn't hurt at all, but going by your hand removal method would totally let the bar just roll and crash to the ground.

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Corey, do you LBBS or HBBS? Because i'm with Syl - if I let go of the bar when high bar squatting, that shit's gonna roll off my back. Syl: here's a picture of what your WRISTS should look like. This person is doing a low bar squat where the bar is placed lower on your back. Personally I find this to be uncomfortable and according to jdanger high bar squatting (putting the bar more where you're describing) is MOAR better. But check out the neutral wrist position - that's what you should strive for.

cf-toronto-back-squat_6491-550x365.jpg

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I do a spot that is comfortable for me that is about half way between high bar and low bar. See where that lady's deltoid (the curve is just over the top of the bar, the deltoid is the ball of your shoulder above your bicep and tricep in case anyone here doesn't know) curves up and meets the upper trap muscles (the vulcan pinch muscle)? My bar goes right across that shelf the top of the deltoid makes and it provides a nice horiztonal shelf so that I don't have to hold it much, my hands just clamp it down.
 
Another explanation is that typical low bar position in the gif below typically runs across where the bottom of the red is.  High bar is across the top of the orange section that is across the shoulders. My bar position is in the red, but very close to the top of it if not in the orange on the outer parts.
220px-Trapezius_animation_small2.gif

Lastly, here's some real pictures.
 
High bar (ignore the x, it was just a good picture)
small-high-bar.jpg
 
Edit: A high, Low Bar. This is what I do, I carry slightly higher, but not much.  You can see the difference between this position and the girl above's as you can't see the ball of this guy's shoulder above the bar, the bar is sitting on it.
LowBar.jpg

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These also offer good do's and don't for wrist position.  The woman's wrists in Mir's post are great. The bottom wrist position in mine is the most bent you probably want to go.  The top picture in my post has a wrist position that is a definite no no.

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Yeah my wrists were way off on where they should be and how far back they should be bent. I'll definitely be switching it up next time. Thanks for all of the pictures.  :rapture:

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I am super conscious to squat with open palms- I ONLY press the bar into my back. 

 

you should never need to really GRIP that sucker. waste of energy actually.

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You'll notice in the 'good' pictures that the thumbs are not wrapped around the bottom of the bar.  This is a good idea for squats (bad idea on the bench or overhead press) because it opens up your hand position.  It also keeps you from reflexively trying to press the bar when the weights get heavier (trying to press the bar while squatting leads to wrist and elbow pain).

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you should never need to really GRIP that sucker. waste of energy actually.

While you should never need to it isn't a waste of energy to do it. When things get heavy and we start talking about things like systemic tension it can definitely help to squeeze the living bejesus out of the bar.

It also keeps you from reflexively trying to press the bar when the weights get heavier (trying to press the bar while squatting leads to wrist and elbow pain).

We cue both pulling the bar against your back and pressing it up to help build systemic tension. Different ways work better for different people. I'm not saying it's not possible but I've never heard of people complain about pain related to either. I don't know why it would be any different than any other isometric, which as long as you're used to it, isn't really a problem.

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While you should never need to it isn't a waste of energy to do it. When things get heavy and we start talking about things like systemic tension it can definitely help to squeeze the living bejesus out of the bar.

We cue both pulling the bar against your back and pressing it up to help build systemic tension. Different ways work better for different people. I'm not saying it's not possible but I've never heard of people complain about pain related to either. I don't know why it would be any different than any other isometric, which as long as you're used to it, isn't really a problem.

 

^This. On the heaviest I'm almost trying to bend the bar with my hands, pulling it that hard into my shoulders. It works for bench and press too.  Although the grip isn't used, gripping the hell out of the bar helps a lot.

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While you should never need to it isn't a waste of energy to do it. When things get heavy and we start talking about things like systemic tension it can definitely help to squeeze the living bejesus out of the bar.

We cue both pulling the bar against your back and pressing it up to help build systemic tension. Different ways work better for different people. I'm not saying it's not possible but I've never heard of people complain about pain related to either. I don't know why it would be any different than any other isometric, which as long as you're used to it, isn't really a problem.

I've never found it to be all that helpful to squeeze the bejesus out of it.  It's more a side reaction and I personally try to avoid it. 

 

One of the guys at my gym actually had us to open palm bench presses- knocked my friend down from a shitty 225 to like 135.  He could have done more but he wasn't comfortable yet with the form.  Said guy is a HUGE propoment of open palm- little to no grip holds.  

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Get into the 2.5-3x bodyweight neighborhood and your opinion might change. They often do, or at least should. Technique and "what's proper" evolve for each individual over time.

 

To each their own and all that but the point remains that it isn't a cut and dry issue and as far as the open palm bench thing well.. we always have to ask the question why? If you're benching any kind of f*ck you up weight I wouldn't want to be the guy telling you to do it without being in full control of it.

 

People do silly shit all the time, hell I do my own fair share, but that doesn't mean it's good advice.

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I've never found it to be all that helpful to squeeze the bejesus out of it.  It's more a side reaction and I personally try to avoid it. 

 

One of the guys at my gym actually had us to open palm bench presses- knocked my friend down from a shitty 225 to like 135.  He could have done more but he wasn't comfortable yet with the form.  Said guy is a HUGE propoment of open palm- little to no grip holds.  

 

I use to use a false grip on bench and found I lifted more. I do more of a half grip with my thumbs pressing on the bar. Kind of gives me that "trying to bend the bar" feeling. I was told it's not safe, but it always felt fine.

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It's not safe because the bar can roll off your hands. Feel has nothing to do with the safety of false grip.

Sent from my iPhone- please forgive length and autocorrects (yes, I'm blaming it on the phone).

The bar doesn't just fall out of your hand. You can feel if it's trying to roll.  That's what I mean by feel.  Lately I have been practicing hook grip though. Just is case ^ the heroin kicks in and I nod off during.

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The bar doesn't just fall out of your hand. You can feel if it's trying to roll.  That's what I mean by feel.  Lately I have been practicing hook grip though. Just is case ^ the heroin kicks in and I nod off during.

 

I imagine once it starts rolling the timing for being able to stop it is small. I've seen some horifying youtube videos.

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