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Thread: Squat bar position (I know, I read and watched videos, hear me out)

  1. #1
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Squat bar position (I know, I read and watched videos, hear me out)

    Ok, so I have never done a squat in my life and I'm having a bit of trouble finding this "shelf". I watched Sensei's video and read about positions and they make sense in theory, but I can't see to do it even with only 115lbs without it hurting my traps. I could do a bunch more than that if it weren't for that, but I'm sure I just have to find the sweet spot since this is literally the first time I've tried. I started with the bar just to get the form right and set the spotters on my rack, then I threw two 35s on and it started hurting. I know there have been tons of threads about this.

    I don't think I need to build my traps up more, they seem good enough to create the shelf. Maybe I just have to man up and get used to it.


    Here is a picture with my shoulder blades squeezed and another with a quick placement of the bar, which didn't feel that right. It wasn't on my vertebrae but still hurt the traps.





    Do I need to work on them more or do I just need to keep experimenting until I find the spot? I don't know if my traps are half decent or if they are girly.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KoolDrew's Avatar
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    The bar is quite a bit lower on my back when I squat than it is in that picture, and I'm perfectly comfortable with any amount of weight I've ever walked out with.

    So try placing the bar lower, rather than right on top of your traps.

  3. #3
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    I tried that before I read anything about the two different types "high bar and low bar" and it felt like my right shoulder would get ripped out of place again, I think I have a rotator cuff injury and I don't trust myself being able to stop the weight from rolling off my back. It seemed to my that the high bar position was what newcomers to the squat should try, that they'd be safer.

    Do my traps at least look good enough to provide the "cushion"?

  4. #4
    THUNDER THIGHS! Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Your traps look fine.

    Ive always had decent traps to, but got alot of pain, jjust make sure the bar is sitting on top of the shelf and not on your neck.

    You mie bruise a bit, but tough it out, evnetualy, you become used to it
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  5. #5
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Ok, I guess I'll just keep trying to get comfortable with it. I'll probably end up posting a video of my form some time soon too, just to make sure it's decent.

    EDIT: Is this a good spot for the "low bar" position? I can do it that way with little pain other than maybe some in my shoulder after I put the weight down, but my grip might be doing that.


    Compared to:
    Last edited by berfles; 10-06-2007 at 11:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tomv's Avatar
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    I would still say that's pretty much high bar... In my opinion.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Eh maybe, it's late so I'll try again tomorrow some time. I guess I could go lower, I just tried it with my shirt on and it seemed a little slippery and I was worried about it sliding down. I don't think it's right to be pulling forward with your arms pretty hard to make sure that doesn't happen, is it?


    EDIT: Well I think I got it on my traps and actually did a few squats to test it out and the pain wasn't so bad, I think I was flexing them too hard before, if I flex them just to start and then relax they kind of squish down and don't hurt so bad.
    Last edited by berfles; 10-07-2007 at 12:00 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member deeder's Avatar
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    I'd go with the lower bar placement that you posted a pic of. My only other comment is you need to get your elbows pointing at the ground.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deeder View Post
    I'd go with the lower bar placement that you posted a pic of. My only other comment is you need to get your elbows pointing at the ground.
    I'll keep that in mind for tomorrow, I'm going to stick with the lower hold because I tried the higher one again and felt a twinge like I pushed on a nerve, so I don't want to deal with that right now.

  10. #10
    Yeah, I know.....Its huge Ockhams_Razor's Avatar
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    i use the lower bar postion compared to what you are using, and i understand where you are coming from. you really just have to tough it out, i've been doing them for longer than i can remember, and i still get bruised or scrapped up once in a while. eventually you don't even notice it.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ockhams_Razor View Post
    i use the lower bar postion compared to what you are using, and i understand where you are coming from. you really just have to tough it out, i've been doing them for longer than i can remember, and i still get bruised or scrapped up once in a while. eventually you don't even notice it.
    Maybe, but having that nerve get tweaked when I just tried the higher position annoyed me, I don't want to have that happen if I put the bar an inch too high or low or something. I'll try the lower of the two I posted here for two weeks and see if it feels decent, if not, I'll try the other one.

    Is it normal to kind of have to pull the bar forward for the lower placement so it doesn't roll down and snap your arms off? Or is it just supposed to stick there?
    Last edited by berfles; 10-07-2007 at 12:43 AM.

  12. #12
    Hulk Smash! LouPac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berfles View Post
    Maybe, but having that nerve get tweaked when I just tried the higher position annoyed me, I don't want to have that happen if I put the bar an inch too high or low or something. I'll try the lower of the two I posted here for two weeks and see if it feels decent, if not, I'll try the other one.

    Is it normal to kind of have to pull the bar forward for the lower placement so it doesn't roll down and snap your arms off? Or is it just supposed to stick there?
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  13. #13
    Senior Member 1mmort4l's Avatar
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    The lower bar position looked ALOT better to me. The high bar you showed, looked as though you need to relax your traps a bit, to spread the load over more surface area.
    I would have definitely recommended senseis vids as a cure for your prob, but since you have watched them, i cant.

    You may want to look at trying a thumbless grip, i found GREAT results with this.
    As for pain, i think i had a bit the first few times, but you get over it, and now any weight i can unrack is no problem at all. Tough it out..
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1mmort4l View Post
    The lower bar position looked ALOT better to me. The high bar you showed, looked as though you need to relax your traps a bit, to spread the load over more surface area.
    I would have definitely recommended senseis vids as a cure for your prob, but since you have watched them, i cant.

    You may want to look at trying a thumbless grip, i found GREAT results with this.
    As for pain, i think i had a bit the first few times, but you get over it, and now any weight i can unrack is no problem at all. Tough it out..
    Good advice. Retract the scapulae, but DON'T elevate it when you are setting up for the squat - if you find the sweet spot, it should just settle into place for a high bar squat, even if you aren't particularly tight throughout the upper back.
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    I had simillar trouble in the beginning finding the right spot. I was laying the weight high up on my spine bone, this seemed to take the stress off my arms but really hurt that little bone. iF you are laying the bar on that bone, you will know by touching it, it will feel very sore to the touch.

    I also thought I was too skinny and my traps were not developed enough,. but I did find the right spot. It hurt a little in the beginning when I found the right spot, mostly my arms and shoulders hurt from stretching them back. This all went away after a couple of weeks. I think everyone who does squats in the beggining will have a bit of pain.
    Last edited by eddie500; 10-07-2007 at 08:54 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Ok thanks.

    One last thing about form, I noticed that when I would straighten up sometime I would be leaning forward at the waist like a half good morning. My legs are straight but it's like my torso leans a little. I would assume that's not correct, right?

  17. #17
    GFH Lones Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berfles View Post
    Ok thanks.

    One last thing about form, I noticed that when I would straighten up sometime I would be leaning forward at the waist like a half good morning. My legs are straight but it's like my torso leans a little. I would assume that's not correct, right?
    theres a whole video on that sensei did called "GMing out of the hole" thats gonna help you more than anything...i know you said you watched them, but you wouldnt be asking that question if you did.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonesXedge View Post
    theres a whole video on that sensei did called "GMing out of the hole" thats gonna help you more than anything...i know you said you watched them, but you wouldnt be asking that question if you did.
    I didn't watch all of them, just the ones that talked about bar placement and common issues. I'll go watch that one.

    EDIT: Ok, I don't do a GM near that bad so it should be easy to fix now that I realize what's going on.
    Last edited by berfles; 10-07-2007 at 09:05 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member 1mmort4l's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berfles View Post
    Ok thanks.

    One last thing about form, I noticed that when I would straighten up sometime I would be leaning forward at the waist like a half good morning. My legs are straight but it's like my torso leans a little. I would assume that's not correct, right?
    Not sure what you are saying here, but if your having trouble being more erect you MAY have an Ab or Torso weakness. How are your GM's and Ab work?
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  20. #20
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    The bar is 2 1/2-3" too high on your back. Lower it, get used to it, and it will feel a lot better when you do so.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Hatfield View Post
    The bar is 2 1/2-3" too high on your back. Lower it, get used to it, and it will feel a lot better when you do so.
    In the first or second picture? I think I got to a point where I can do it and deal with the discomfort for now.

    As for the GM thing, it's not even a quarter GM, I'm just leaning ever so slightly. I don't do them in my routine because I never trusted them to not drag me over if I got too tired.

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