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  1. #1
    Registered User UnknownKnown's Avatar
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    Barbell squats bad for rotator cuff?

    Setting the machismo aside, the only reason we use BARBELLS predominantly for squats, is because, well, it's simple. But is it ergonomically sound is my question. Behind the neck presses, bad for rotator cuff, behind the neck pull downs, bad for the rotator cuff. While you're not going through any range of motion with the squat, you're stuck in that, behind the neck position with your rotator cuff.

    Again, setting aside the bs mentality that lifting weights makes you a man and makes you tough, what's everyones stance on it? I agree that squats are the king of lower body exercises, and barbell squats allow you to safely load and unload a good deal of weight, provided you've got a rack to set it on, but I'm wondering if it's damaging to the rotator cuff, and if there is any way around that.

    And no one say squatting is natural. Squatting may be natural, but putting a perfectly straight, rigid bar on your upper back is natural how? Again, I love the squat, but my rotator cuff was bugging the hell out of me on it today and I never really noticed the compromising position it puts your shoulder in.
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    Why would squatting be bad for your RC?
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  3. #3
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    External rotation isn't necessarily a bad thing. In theory you should be able to squat without actually grabbing the bar (much like a front squat) because the weight should be resting on the torso (upper traps in this case) instead of the hands, right?

    Personally I always wished I had one of these guys:


    Behind the neck pulldowns and presses are not inherently bad for everyone's rotor cuff. People have differently shaped acromions, some do them without problems, others have inherent problems with joint structure. Other issues relate to flexibility.
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  4. #4
    Registered User UnknownKnown's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    External rotation isn't necessarily a bad thing. In theory you should be able to squat without actually grabbing the bar (much like a front squat) because the weight should be resting on the torso (upper traps in this case) instead of the hands, right?

    Personally I always wished I had one of these guys:

    Behind the neck pulldowns and presses are not inherently bad for everyone's rotor cuff. People have differently shaped acromions, some do them without problems, others have inherent problems with joint structure. Other issues relate to flexibility.
    Yes, which is why I'm saying could cause problems. And the torso isn't paper thin, it's, well, it varies, but there's quite a few inches between your chest and your back, so "torso" isn't really a location. Maybe with a dumbell you can rest it right on your shoulders in the center of your body, but you're using a bar, and humans don't have holes in their heads and necks for it to pass through, so it's either towards the front, or the back.

    And I saw some dude doing behind the neck lat pull downs today, but I still don't think it's a good exercise. Like I said, there is nothing natural about the barbell squat. It just happens to be the simplest way to apply resistance when squatting, but again, it's not perfect, and yea, a safety bar would be nice. Maybe I can get my gym to purchase one. I mean, they just bought tons of new equipment, new expensive cardio equipment, what's one barbell?
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    Fulk of peace FunkymonkAW's Avatar
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    If you mount the bar right, you shouldn't have issues.
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    Registered User UnknownKnown's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FunkymonkAW View Post
    If you mount the bar right, you shouldn't have issues.
    How insightful. What does that even mean? Am I suppose to use that information somehow?
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  7. #7
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by UnknownKnown View Post
    And I saw some dude doing behind the neck lat pull downs today, but I still don't think it's a good exercise.
    Good compared to what? I'm not really sure why people do them compared to doing it to the clavicles, perhaps one could explain.

    Originally Posted by UnknownKnown View Post
    there is nothing natural about the barbell squat
    Yeah wtf with all these newfangled non-functional exercises people invent.




    We're just not designed for having weight on our traps like dat.

    Or possibly: the barbell squat can be fine, it's just perhaps the way it's gripped that disagrees with some shoulders.
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    Fulk of peace FunkymonkAW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by UnknownKnown View Post
    How insightful. What does that even mean? Am I suppose to use that information somehow?
    No need to be bitter/sarcastic.

    I personally have never heard of anyone having RC issues from squatting. I have heard of plenty of people unable to squat due to RC issues that stem from other causes, but there are ways around this.

    Also, I don't see why the unnatural (your word) circumstance of having a heavy load on your back is inherently bad.

    If you don't want to do squats, don't do them. However, they are a tried and true exercise that is both safe and effective when performed correctly and in a sensible manner.
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    Originally Posted by UnknownKnown View Post
    How insightful. What does that even mean? Am I suppose to use that information somehow?
    Eh, I have RC issues with a lot of things but Squats isn't one of them. Mounting the bar correctly could mean just that ... research some squat threads, see if low bar vs. high bar is beneficial for your situation, maybe check out variants such as front sq. vs. back sq., or front sq. with a crossed arm vs. clean hold, etc... eh, expecting your gym to buy a safety bar for you is already indicative of ... high expectations.
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  10. #10
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    Try spacing your arms out more. However, this may cause discomfort with the bar because you lose scapular retraction.
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  11. #11
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    It could be the lack of shoulder mobility


    My shoulders are fine when i squat
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  12. #12
    Registered User UnknownKnown's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Good compared to what? I'm not really sure why people do them compared to doing it to the clavicles, perhaps one could explain.

    Yeah wtf with all these newfangled non-functional exercises people invent.

    We're just not designed for having weight on our traps like dat.

    Or possibly: the barbell squat can be fine, it's just perhaps the way it's gripped that disagrees with some shoulders.
    ....what? I never said humans couldn't have weight distributed on their traps. It's the holding a barbell up. Because a barbell doesn't curve around in front of you so you can grab it. It's not a safety bar with handles in the front, which is more similar to those random pictures of people holding cows you're posting. It's behind you, and it's your arms have to go to it, not the other way around. It's your hands that have to be positioned behind your neck, with your arms splayed out to get a handle on it.

    And yes, I know, some of you guys don't have issue with it, but I bet every one of you has an exercise that causes discomfort.

    I stand by the argument that there is nothing natural about the ergonomics of putting a perfectly rigid bar on your back, which requires an entirely different position that if you were just squatting down to look at something or pick up something in front of you. To say there aren't differences between the two, is to say that all pressing movements are EXACTLY the same. That a leg press is EXACTLY the same as a squat, because despite the totally different positions your body is in, pressing is pressing. Seriously, grab a groom. Now squat down without it, and once you're down, try and get the broom in position like you would a barbell. See how your posture changes. A squat is not a barbell squat. No one just squats with their shoulder pinched back like that and their arms behind their head.
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  13. #13
    Registered User UnknownKnown's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FunkymonkAW View Post
    No need to be bitter/sarcastic.

    I personally have never heard of anyone having RC issues from squatting. I have heard of plenty of people unable to squat due to RC issues that stem from other causes, but there are ways around this.

    Also, I don't see why the unnatural (your word) circumstance of having a heavy load on your back is inherently bad.

    If you don't want to do squats, don't do them. However, they are a tried and true exercise that is both safe and effective when performed correctly and in a sensible manner.
    Again, it's not the load, it's keeping the load secure. A safety bar as I'm seeing, allows you to keep the bar on your back, which is fine, but allows you to keep a grip on it in a way that doesn't have your hands behind your head or put your shoulder at risk of impingement. You say it's natural because it was one of the first methods someone came up with to add resistance to exercises. But that doesn't make it perfect.
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    I think I aggravated my RC doing squats. Never felt any pain in this area before I did squats a few weeks ago (high bar style) and when I came out from under the bar I felt a kind of pinching sensation on the back of my shoulder. Now when ever I get in position to do squats I feel some pain in my shoulder but I don't feel pain on any other exercise (including in front of the head shoulder presses/bench press). I realize it might have been my form that was the issue but now I am faced with switching to front squats or switching to a gym with a safety squat bar.
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    Originally Posted by philledoutbro View Post
    I think I aggravated my RC doing squats. Never felt any pain in this area before I did squats a few weeks ago (high bar style) .
    I find that hard to believe. Usually those who cannot low bar squat due to shoulder injuries have no problem with the high bar position.
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    I find that hard to believe. Usually those who cannot low bar squat due to shoulder injuries have no problem with the high bar position.
    ^^^^

    My thoughts exactly. Low bar squatting can put your shoulders in a compromising position, but high bar alleviates a lot of that.

    FWIW, I bought a safety squat bar when I did have a rotator cuff problem and I rarely squat with a normal barbell anymore.
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