What to do if You Get Elbow Pain when Back Squatting

I got another question from an Exercises For Injuries reader on “What to do if you have elbow pain when you back squat?”


When it comes to the elbow it tends to be at mercy to the shoulder very much like the knee to the hip. A lot of times hip issues will lead to knee pain and same thing in the elbow a lot of times it’s a shoulder issue that leads to elbow pain.

What to do if You Get Elbow Pain when Back Squatting?

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

I wanted to go through 4 things that you can do to tweak that back squat in order to decrease the stress on your elbow joint and decrease and eliminate your elbow pain.

#1 – Shoulder Mobility

I would look at improving your shoulder mobility. Look at loosening up your shoulders. This can be done with a warm up or it could be end up being done by one of my shoulder primer workouts or look at the video where I talked about the vertical hanging exercises as it’s an excellent exercise to loosen up the shoulders and improve the mobility.

#2 – Perfect Technique and Posture

Take a step back and make sure you are having perfect technique and perfect posture when it comes to your back squat.

Those two tips of looking at shoulder mobility and perfect technique and posture will do a lot of good for your elbows but two other things that you can do that are specifically technique oriented in the back squat will help even more.

I will get Orsy to demonstrate.

#3 – Wider Bar Grip

A lot of times where that bar is or where your arms are when you grip the bar will end up affecting your elbows. The narrow you grip that bar, it puts more and more stress on that elbow joint.

Narrow Bar Grip

Narrow Bar Grip

If I want to decrease that stress on the elbow joint, I would move my grip further out. I will end up having a wider grip and that will decrease the stress on the elbow joint.

Wider Bar Grip

Wider Bar Grip

#4 – Tightening the Mid Back

As Orsy mentioned before we started filming there are a lot of people that will just squeeze their shoulder blades together and that’s not what we are looking for.

Squeezing the Shoulder Blades

Squeezing the Shoulder Blades

We are looking at tightening up through that whole mid back area. Tightening up that whole mid back area will shift the load from the elbows and shift it over to that mid back area which is a lot stronger than than the elbow joint.

Tightening the whole Mid Back Area

Tightening the Whole Mid Back Area

There you go. If you are getting elbow pain with the back squat, give those four things a go and they will end up decreasing the stress on your elbow joint and decreasing your elbow pain.

If you are looking for a program to help you overcome elbow pain and get back to pain-free workouts, then check out Fixing Elbow Pain, here:

Fixing Elbow Pain

Rick Kaselj, MS