Elbow Pain From Squatting aka “Squatters Elbow”

Elbow Pain From Squatting aka “Squatters Elbow”

Elbow Pain From Squatting aka “Squatters Elbow”

What is “Squatters Elbow”?


1. Get Soft Tissue Work Done

One of the most beneficial things you can do to reduce Squatters Elbow Pain is to get soft tissue work done by a professional.  Find someone who is good with ART (Active Release Technique) or Graston and it will benefit you greatly.

I found a huge improvement in my arm range of motion and reduction of pain after my first session of ART & Graston.

A massage therapist can help as well but I found ART & Graston to be the best.

Find a good professional and get some soft tissue work on it.


Squatters Elbow

Posted by Robert King on Monday, April 6, 2015


2. Foam Roll Biceps, Triceps & Forearms

One of the biggest contributors to elbow pain is tightness and restrictions in muscles and movement.  The triceps and the forearms play a big role in elbow pain.  You may experience pain in your elbow but this can be the by product of tight triceps, biceps and forearms.

Trying to foam roll biceps, triceps and forearms can be uncomfortable and painful, but it’s well worth it.  Spend 5-10 minutes every day doing this, it will help you stay strong and healthy.


3. Improve Your Grip Strength


One of the biggest factors with elbow pain or squatters elbow is actually weak grip strength.

This can be improved with exercises like Farmers Carry, KB Weighted Carries and Trap Bar Deadlift Walks.

Add these into your training daily.  Adding some farmers walks, single arm suit case carries and other grip exercises can help reduce your elbow pain.


4. Train Your Biceps

This one is pretty simple, but if you are a Power Lifting type program my guess is you don’t see a lot of direct bicep work in there.

Add in some Zotman curls and some hammer curls and be sure to work on your pronation type exercises.  With benching and squatting you are always supinating which can lead to over use injuries.  By doing exercises like Zotman Curls it will help balance things out.


5. Improve Upper Body & Shoulder Flexibility/Mobility

Make the stretch band your friend and spend some time working on your upper back and shoulder mobility.

The more stiff and tight your T-Spine and Shoulders the worse things will get.  Your shoulders and T Spine should move pretty well and if this area is tight the elbow joint can be forced sometimes to pick up the extra work.  Which is not a good thing.

Spend time doing band pull aparts, shoulder dislocates, T’s, Y’s & W’s to improve upper back and shoulder mobility.


6. Use Deep Cold & Ice During/After Workout

Ice is your friend once you have inflammation.

An ice pack for 15 min post workout can help reduce inflammation.  Other alternatives are Deep Cold and Bio Freeze.

The closer I get to competition the more I start to smell like deep cold because I use it so much.


7. Use an Open Grip/ Thumb-less Grip

This is great for some people and not so great for others.

If you use a thumbless grip, aka putting your thumb on top of the bar instead of around the bar this can really help a lot with reducing elbow pain.

However this is not a great option for everyone.

I use to squat thumbless but I found I was unable to create the same tension and upper back tension with a thumbless grip.

My advice is to test it, and see if it works for you personally.



8. Widen Your Grip On The Bar

This is another simple option that you can test along with the thumbless grip and that is to simply widen your grip on the bar.

My general rule of thumb is to have the hands as tight to the shoulders as possible without pain. Many factors play a role in this, how big or small your frame is, upper back and shoulder mobility, tight triceps and forearms etc.

Play around with the bar grip and see if you can find a place that works.

When I warm up I start wide and slowly work my hands tighter every set.


9. Perform Another Squat Variation

For the last year and a half the only squat version I have done is low bar back squat and once in a blue moon I will add in some front squats.

However in my training prep for Worlds in Finland I am changing this.

I am adding in High Bar Back Squats and also Front Squats along with my Low Bar Back Squats.

This will hit my legs and quads in different ways and also it will allow my upper back and arms to get some rest from all the tension created with low bar.

I will see how this goes but so far I am loving the mix of squats, although adjusting to high bar squats for the first few sets felt really strange.



10. Use Another Bar

There are many alternatives to using a standard 45 lb bar.

Some great alternatives are Squat Safety Bar or Buffalo Bar.

We have a Squat Safety bar at HeavyWeights and I love it.  It’s great for hitting the legs and also for anyone with shoulder pain.

For the best variety and quality training bars check out Rogue Fitness.




11. Rest (Who Are We Kidding)

One of the best things to do when something hurts is to rest.

However if you are training hard and serious chances of resting are slim to none.

Be sure to try the 10 tips above to help you deal with Squatters Elbow and help you get back to squatting big weight with no pain.


If you enjoyed this blog post and want to “Raise The Bar” on your training & results check out The HeavyWeights Nation where you get ALL my programs, coaching from me and much more.



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