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Thread: Elbow pain from squatting (only left elbow).. please help!

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Elbow pain from squatting (only left elbow).. please help!

    Hi there,

    A few months ago I switched from a high-bar Oly style squat to a low-bar style, basically been following Rippetoe's advice for the lift to the letter. The reason I did high-bar for so long is because I had such terrible shoulder flexibility that I couldn't do low-bar (I could BARELY do high-bar, seriously...)

    But I've worked hard on my flexibility and shoulder mobility and a few months ago moved to a low-bar position. It was fine for a while but as I progressed up in weight the more painful my left elbow became during and post- squatting, usually lasting for 3-4 days. Now any time I squat anywhere above around 80% of my 1rm the elbow pain that ensues is absolutely excruciating.

    Now, I know that I have a history of flexibility issues, so I'm presuming the cause of this pain is still lack of shoulder flexibility meaning I'm not able to get my back as tight as I would like meaning that more of the load is actually being supported directly by my elbow.

    HOWEVER, what I don't understand is why this is only happening to my left elbow? My right elbow is perfectly fine, no problems whatsoever. I have never heard of or read about cases of 'unilateral inflexibility' such as this, I always figured you had flexible shoulders or you didn't.

    In the mean time I am deep heating pre-workout and icing post-workout for every single session I do, taking anti-inflammatories and continuing to do shoulder mobility work 4-5 times per week (shoulder dislocations, etc.) But I would love to see if anybody has any ideas about this, particularly as to why it is only happening to one elbow and not the other.

    I would appreciate ANY help or thoughts on the matter. Thank you

  2. #2
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Westside Barbell, OH
    Move your hands out wider on the bar. What happens with a lower bar position is although it is in a better position, if you keep your hands in close it's going to twist your elbow. Rehab that elbow and move the hands out.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Yes - Travis' advice is spot on.

    It is very common to be less flexible on one side - VERY common.

    Also, make sure that the sleeves of the bar aren't frozen or sticking, and that your bar is securely positioned on your back (make sure that it is not slipping while you squat) - these things could also be bothering your wrists and/or elbows.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Cool thanks for the advice guys, but it may have been in vain. I have been using a wider position and it still really hurts, in fact it hurt so badly yesterday that I couldn't even do HIGH BAR squats with an EMPTY BAR. So I've given in, seeing my doctor tomorrow!

    Thanks again anyway!

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