Other Resources Strength Training » Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help? Rss Feed  
Moderators: MikeTheBear, Comet, Ron Reply
2013-05-15 10:26 AM

Subject: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
I have a disk herniation in my neck from years ago from an injury. It rarely acts up except when I do back squats. I belong to another forum for weight lifting and the consensus has been to do front squats. I have been but I'm not a fan. I want to say I posted the question here last year too, and had similar response. The form is awkward for me and I am not able to balance much weight doing front squats. Anyone have neck issues and have found a good work around to avoiding pain?I have tried lowering the bar below my neck but to no avail. Your help is much appreciated! I don't want to give up squats, and I want to add more weight but its been a real struggle. I just can't help but think my days of back squats are over. I'm hoping not but have tried a few different things and getting discouraged. Mike the bear, I've always gleaned much from what u have to say...hope u chime in.

Edited by Sharyn224 2013-05-15 10:42 AM


2013-05-15 10:53 AM
in reply to: #4743482

User image

HappyVille, Arizona
Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?

Not familiar with the injury you have .. but the bar shouldn't rest on your neck at all.  If you are doing a high bar squat the bar should rest on your traps.  I squeeze my shoulder blades together and it creates a nice muscly shelf to rest the bar on.  Keep your shoulders together throughout the lift. I don't feel any discomfort and I almost don't feel the bar at all.  If you do low bar that takes the bar even lower but you have to have a certain degree of mobility in your shoulders to keep your arms in the right position. 

And front squats .. I struggle with those too but again it may be a mobility issue in your shoulders and triceps that is keeping you from getting a good front rack with elbows up position and creating a "shelf" for that bar to rest on.  the bar should be able to rest there if you let go of it, and yes it feels like you are being choked!I have  hard time maintaining an elbows up position coming up from the front squat which causes my body to lean forward and the weight is no longer resting on my shoulders but now all the weight is on my hands and wrists and owwwwww!

I have found that most all of my discomfort with certain lifts is due to mobility issues in hips, ankles, shoulders ... which are easy enough to work on and get you all supple and lifting heavier! 



Edited by Teejaay 2013-05-15 10:54 AM
2013-05-15 11:06 AM
in reply to: #4743482

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
I have been lifting for a little over two years so still relatively new to the sport and teejaay, I have not had the bar that low so this might really be the issue! I can't thank u enough. So improper form has been the culprit? I'm feeling a bit embarrassed as I thought there was no hope. I have been doing hack squats and using free weights to squat, but have missed the traditional form. TY so much for your reply and those pics to help me!I have hope again lol
2013-05-15 11:21 AM
in reply to: #4743599

User image

HappyVille, Arizona
Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?

Sharyn224 - 2013-05-15 9:06 AM I have been lifting for a little over two years so still relatively new to the sport and teejaay, I have not had the bar that low so this might really be the issue! I can't thank u enough. So improper form has been the culprit? I'm feeling a bit embarrassed as I thought there was no hope. I have been doing hack squats and using free weights to squat, but have missed the traditional form. TY so much for your reply and those pics to help me!I have hope again lol

What about using a padded bar?  Or a towel on the bar?

You've been lifting longer than me!!  I have a coach who is a stickler for form and she also teaches mobility and flexibility classes.  She has helped me SOOO much in correcting my form and getting me on track to get this old body more fluid!  I just hope to share what I've learned to overcome some of the things that were holding me back.  By no means an expert. 

2013-05-15 11:29 AM
in reply to: #4743482

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
I have used a foam thing that the gym has to wrap around the bar but it didn't help...it's form... Looking at those illustrations tells me it's form. I keep the bar lower but not that low. I may need to learn how to properly squat all over again! LolI should check out your log to see what you're doing, I like to see what others are doing and add what I might be missing. Thank u for your help with this, teejaay!
2013-05-15 1:12 PM
in reply to: #4743482


23

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?

Every one of those squat pictures is incorrect, btw.    Knee too far forward, upper body angle incorrect, and so on and so forth.  God I dislike Rippetoe.  In both two and three the upper body should be leaning further forward with the hips further back to keep the shins nearly upright (which may mean the stance will have to widen).  The biomechanics in all of those are terrible- the knee is under tremendous shear force.

 

Don't ever use a foam roll or towel!  It lessens your control over the bar and can result in weight shifts and injury.  

 

When you say "lowering the bar below your neck to no avail", what exactly have you tried?



2013-05-15 1:47 PM
in reply to: #4743901

User image

HappyVille, Arizona
Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
AlexViada - 2013-05-15 11:12 AM

Every one of those squat pictures is incorrect, btw.    Knee too far forward, upper body angle incorrect, and so on and so forth.  God I dislike Rippetoe.  In both two and three the upper body should be leaning further forward with the hips further back to keep the shins nearly upright (which may mean the stance will have to widen).  The biomechanics in all of those are terrible- the knee is under tremendous shear force.

 

Don't ever use a foam roll or towel!  It lessens your control over the bar and can result in weight shifts and injury.  

 

When you say "lowering the bar below your neck to no avail", what exactly have you tried?

I was using the the graphic to give her an idea about the bar placement.  Wasn't going for precise mechanics on the whole squat.   Just a visual for options where to place the bar.    

I was also just giving her suggestions for comfort as I do not know the extent of her injury.  I have never used a foam bar or towel because I like to feel the bar, but good to know why it's not a good idea..

2013-05-15 2:42 PM
in reply to: #4743482

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
I know some who swear by rippetoe. Regarding the bar position... I have been placing it under my neck area not as far down as depicted in the pic... Is that the correct form at least for where to place the bar? This has become my nemesis at the gym; I'd really love to be able to alleviate the neck pain and get back to squats.Thoughts appreciated so far!
2013-05-18 4:31 PM
in reply to: 0


23

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
Originally posted by Teejaay

was using the the graphic to give her an idea about the bar placement.  Wasn't going for precise mechanics on the whole squat.   Just a visual for options where to place the bar.    

I was also just giving her suggestions for comfort as I do not know the extent of her injury.  I have never used a foam bar or towel because I like to feel the bar, but good to know why it's not a good idea..




Oh, I wasn't trying to ding you or anything. I just get frustrated with Rippetoe, particularly that graphic. For bar placement, it's a good descriptor, but it KILLS me that he basically illustrated bad squats. :)

SL- there ARE a lot of folks who swear by Rippetoe. Most of them tend to be pretty mediocre lifters, though. Not snobbery speaking, just observation. His programming is terrible, his biomechanics knowledge is sorely lacking, and as a coach he's produced a long line of strength athletes who've made tremendous gains... as soon as they stop working with him and find a real coach. Starting strength is a great intro book, but I'd REALLY recommend not taking what he says as gospel. I hate to say it, but he's a relic.

For low bar, here's one picture showing one method:

http://nicktumminello.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/cf-toronto-bac...

Here's another:


http://stronglifts.com/wp-content/uploads/squat-bar-position.jpg




Edited by AlexViada 2013-05-18 4:33 PM
2013-05-18 4:33 PM
in reply to: 0


23

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
See how far back his shoulders are?

Really, my position is high bar, but I do it like this: Stand under the bar as if you were about to unrack for squats. Now, take your hands and slide them out (from next to your shoulders) out to the plates and try to touch the top of the plates (arms are basically wrapped around the bar.). See the groove the bar's now in across your shoulders and neck? For most folks, this is the ideal spot.

You can SORTA see my own bar height here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sip5SEMQd4A

Another point on this- play with your arm width a bit. This can sometimes make more of a difference than the neck position. The closer together your hands are, the more your traps "bunch" up, and the more padding the bar can get.

Edited by AlexViada 2013-05-18 4:34 PM
2013-09-28 8:03 AM
in reply to: SL224


9

Subject: RE: Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help?
Practising the front squat form would be the best, it takes a while to get used to but within a month or two of doing it consistently you should be able to load the front squat to 80-90% of your back squat. It would probably be easier if you found an olympic weightlifting coach to specifically teach you the correct form for front squats too.

If you cant do that and putting the bar lower down your back doesnt help then see if your gym has a safety bar squat this is a bar that has handles and an (optional but maybe useful in your case) pad and it can be used in the front squat position or back squat position and will make both lifts more comfortable.

Another option is to do weighted pistol squats or goblet squats, they're not as good for building strength but if you really have problems with your neck (and cervical herniations are harder to do and more serious when they do happen than lumbar herniations then they might be an option.

Last but not least doing deadlifts with a snatch grip or with a regular grip but from a deficit (standing on a box so the bar is lower to your feet) requires getting your hips lower and thus your quads more into the lift if you cannot squat at all.

Single leg pressing is ok too


New Thread
Other Resources Strength Training » Dealing with neck pain/injury and squats -- help? Rss Feed