06 Mar Squatting with shoulder problems
Todd has been training with me for about three weeks. He’s a masters aged lifter and as such has a number of injuries he’s accumulated over the years. The main difficulty is with shoulder problems and pain. His range of motion is severely truncated due to accumulated scar tissue, atrophy and years of abuse.
During the first session I have with a client, we always squat first. After receiving some basic instruction and a little background on squat mechanics, I instruct the lifter to take a fairly narrow grip on the bar, with the thumbs over, and duck under to begin getting the bar on his or her back. It was at this point that we found that his shoulders were so tight and frozen he could barely get his head under the bar.
I had Todd start with some stretching. Every session, I have him take a “squat grip” on the bar and duck under. He keeps his wrists as straight as he can then gently pushes into the tightness in his shoulders. I have him do this 5 times for 5-10 seconds each rep. Each rep gets the bar a little closer to the correct position. We can see he’s making improvement. The left shoulder is less mobile than his right, but soon he’ll be doing high bar squats, and shortly thereafter I suspect he’ll be low bar squatting with the best.
In a few weeks, Todd will be able to get his bar in proper low bar position.
Here’s a video of Charity showing you the correct position on my hairy back.
For now he is squatting with the safety squat bar. This bar rides high on the back, so the lifter is basically performing a high bar squat. This is suboptimal, but I am glad to get weight on his back and start him squatting, so we’ll take it. I have no doubt that with continued work he can low bar squat very heavy weights, even with junk shoulders.
Todd is getting stronger and more flexible. Please let me help you do the same.
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