Squatting is a great exercise for building strength and power, but it can also put stress on the elbows, especially if you are using a ‘low-bar’ position where the barbell is sitting on the shelf of the rear deltoid muscles. If you are experiencing elbow pain when squatting, here are a few things you can do to help:
1. Check your form.
One of the most common causes of elbow pain when squatting is incorrect or inefficient form. Make sure that you are keeping your back straight, your core engaged and your shoulders are down and back firstly. It might also help to check the orientation of your palm on the barbell and playing around with different angles to reduce the stress on your elbows.
2. Use a wider grip.
If you are using a narrow grip, it can put more stress on your elbows. Try widening your grip slightly to see if this helps to reduce the pain.
3. Reduce the weight.
If you are squatting heavier loads, it can put excessive stress on your elbows. Try reducing the weight or even the frequency of heavy squat sessions if you are squatting multiple times per week.
4. Use an elbow brace.
While this is not a long term solution to eradicating elbow pain, it is a worthwhile consideration if you have a competition coming up and need to get through a heavy squat session, while not flaring up your elbows.
5. See a physiotherapist.
If you have tried all of the above and are still experiencing elbow pain when squatting, see a physiotherapist. They can help you to identify the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to get you back to squatting pain-free.
If you are experiencing elbow pain when squatting, it is important to listen to your body and modify your training. This could mean moderating loads, intensity, the frequency of heavy squat sessions and even modifying your elbow and wrist position in relation to the bar. If this is still not helping, see your local physiotherapist who can complete an assessment and devise a tailored treatment plan.