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New to Back Squatting: Painful 'spinal bone'

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  • New to Back Squatting: Painful 'spinal bone'

    I've converted from Front Squats to back squats, as I found my performance with Front squats had plateaud. And I wanted to try the world of Back Squatting.

    Anyway, I studied form and such as I always do, and doing my sets was fine, they're a fun exercise (while they're relatively light). However, the bar sort of hurts my spinal bone, behind my neck, between/above my shoulder blades. Is this just a growing pain (I remember front squats used to cain my wrists big time thanks to the clean grip) or am I doing something drastically wrong.

    I have videos, but nnone to show bar position (I only video'd myself to see if my lower back was rounding, and it seemed to be fine)

  • #2
    It takes a little time to find the sweet spot for the bar... try placing it a little lower.


    • #3
      Try pulling your shoulders back more and making a 'shelf' for the bar to rest on.


      • #4
        I had similar experiences. I ended up setting the bar a little higher than recommended until my shoulder flexibility allowed me to move the bar onto the shelf that Stu's talking about. Try doing shoulder dislocates for a while and see whether your shoulder flexibility improves. Make sure to focus on keeping your chest out and lower back flexed as well.

        A wider grip than standard may be needed on both exercises initially.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Stu View Post
          Try pulling your shoulders back more and making a 'shelf' for the bar to rest on.
          Very good point. For people with decent lat/upper back development, the bar should be sitting entirely on muscle and thus your spine shouldn't be hurt/bruised at all.

          However I know where you're coming from - I started squatting at 15 for high school foobtlal and was never tought proper form, and my vertebrae always hurt (I actually have a slight build up of bone mass from microfractures) - obviously bad.

          The things that helped me were threefold - one, squeeze the back as if squeezing a watermelon between your shoulderblades. This creates a strong, solid platform as Stu said. Next, grip the bar hard. This extends the solid "platform".

          Now: the most important for bar positioning - after you place the bar where you think it should be (with a tensed back) look straight up/point your chin to the ceiling/force the bar back as far as you can with your neck. this (should) position the bar on top of your traps, and off of your spine. Really shoving the bar back with the back of your head/neck also keeps the muscles tensed - added benefit - and helps you think about keeping your chest up.

          A friend of mine had issues with this, as he had virtually no upper back muscle mass, and this just positioned the bar lower on his spine. However, the guy couldn't squat more than 135, so the weight on the spine was no issue.

          Sorry for the long post, I love squats and could talk about them all day.

          Best of luck!