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Shoulder Pain Caused by Squats?

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

Whether you’re trying to bulk up, tone muscle or simply stay in shape, there’s a good chance you’ve been told to add squats into your workout routine. Whether or not squats are right for you and your body is a separate topic. (As always, talk to your physician.) In this post, I’d like to share with you some strategies for addressing shoulder pain caused by squats.

Shoulder pain is a common complaint reported by people who incorporate squats into their routine. There are a few reasons why shoulder pain may occur. In many cases, squat-related shoulder pain is caused by form/positioning, overall shoulder mobility and when squats are scheduled in your workout routine. Let’s take a closer look at these issues and how squat-related shoulder pain might be improved…

#1 Reshuffle Your Workout Schedule

Attempting to do squats the day after a big chest or shoulder workout can cause shoulder pain. As you know, when you train your muscles, those tissues break down and swell as part of the repair (and muscle-building) process. Well, when the shoulder muscles become slightly swollen, there is less space for muscle and tendon to move freely in the shoulder. This can cause discomfort in placing the bar; this scenario can be especially dangerous if discomfort causes you to place the bar in an unnatural position that exposes you to injuring the spine or other part of the body. The solution? Do legs, then squats.

#2 Reposition the Bar

Try changing up your bar placement. A high bar position can be painful on the shoulder muscles, while a low bar position requires shoulder mobility that just doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain while doing squats, remain open to changing even the most fundamental aspects of your technique… play with bar positioning!

#3 Reposition Your Grip

Both wide and narrow grips can stress the shoulder joint. The key is to find the sweet spot that works for your anatomy. Experiment with the width of your grip until you find a balance of stability and shoulder comfort.

Get Help From a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain from squats and not finding any relief through these adjustments, consider seeing a sports medicine doctor in Houston. Schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.