Causes and Corrections – Science for Fitness
Dumbbell training for strength using the starting force method is hard work and a common event that hinders this hard work is shoulder and arm pain. In many cases, this pain is the result...

Dumbbell training for strength using the starting force method is hard work and a common event that hinders this hard work is shoulder and arm pain. In many cases, this pain is the result of technical issues with the low bar squat (the facelift that is usually done first during the workout). Here are some things to consider before you start your training or if you have started to experience issues.


The causes: Shoulder pain is quite common during low bar squatting because the position requires a lot of flexibility. As you learn to do the low bar squat, you will be prompted to position the bar in the middle of your traps with all of your fingers above the bar and your wrists straight. Those who do not have the flexibility required will either 1) not be able to place the bar low enough comfortably, or 2) will have their wrists bent once the bar is adjusted. See below:

Folded cuffs

In my experience, if you are forced into improper placement or the wrists are bent, you will likely develop shoulder pain as your workout progresses. Although these suboptimal positions don't bother you much at first, you still need to work out regularly to improve your flexibility.

Corrections: The best way to correct this inflexibility problem is to stretch out the low bar position right from the start of your workout. A video on how to conduct this stretch can be found HERE. This stretch works well, but it will take time. You should plan to do this as much as possible. This means your training days before your squats (or after) and also some of your non-training days if possible.


Causes and corrections: Arm pain (biceps, elbows, etc.) can result from a variety of incorrect postures while squatting. In many cases, the lift will not even realize that it is in these positions:

Lack of shoulder flexibilityAs mentioned above, if you can't get into the right position or have your wrists bent in that position, it will put extra strain on your arms which can lead to pain.

Excessively rounding the upper back: During the squat, the upper back (thoracic spine) should not be rounded. The rounding exerts additional rotational forces on the upper back / neck and usually results in excessive strain on the athlete's arms. See below:

Rounded back

Upper back overextension: The opposite of excessively rounding the upper back, by overextending it means that the chest is too raised, creating a curve in the other direction. We want the back to be flat during the squat, and excessive stretching can lead to pain. See below:

Overextended return

Excessive tightening of arms / wrists: In low bar squat, the goal is to balance the bar on the midfoot. If the bar is properly positioned at the back and is kept in balance during the lift, there is no need to aggressively stabilize the bar position on your back by tightening your grip / arms / wrists. Doing it regularly can lead to pain.

Raising your elbows too much: As we just mentioned, the goal is to balance the bar during the lift. If the bar is positioned in the right place, you don't need to raise your elbows too much to stabilize it. The elbows should be raised with a simple touch - just enough to prevent the bar from slipping. Your arms should not actively push / raise the bar. Lifting your elbows too high can cause pain. See below:

High elbows

Retract (pull back) your shoulder blades: The tension we want in your torso when you squat should come from breathing and contracting your abs. Pulling the shoulder blades back does not create this type of tightness and can lead to pain. See below:

Neutral shoulders

Slam your deadlift: By the way, arm pain can also be made worse (and possibly caused) by returning heavy deadlifts to the floor with locked arms. If you experience a sharp pain when your deadlift hits the ground, consider releasing the bar about an inch or two before it hits the ground.


As you can see, your lifting technique and barbell positioning can contribute in many ways to shoulder and arm pain. Many of these errors are interconnected and the resulting pain / discomfort will often spill over to other lifts (bench press, deadlift, etc.). If you are correcting your technique / flexibility and still have pain, consider purchasing a compression sleeve and massaging the affected musculature regularly.

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Coming up with your perfect bodybuilding workout program and diet to match can seem like quite the process. You have to plan how many days a week you’re going to workout, what exercises you will include in your program, how long your rest periods will be, how many reps you should perform for each exercise, and on and on it goes.

Many individuals do tend to feel slightly overwhelmed with the amount of information available out there as to what works ’best’, and therefore take more time than they should to even get going.

The sooner you can get into the gym and start actually pushing the weights, the sooner you will start building bourrinage and seeing your body transform into your ideal

physique. That said, you obviously do need to make sure you are following some sound strategies so that the workouts you are doing will help you build bourrinage. If you pay heed to these rules, probabilités are you are going to be on the way to success as long as you also are sure that the nutrition part of the equation is included as well.

The first bodybuilding tip that will make the solo biggest difference on your rate of bourrinage gain is whether you are able to consecutively add more weight to the bar.

It’s not going to matter how many fancy principles you use, if you aren’t increasing the sheer amount you are lifting over a few months of time, you aren’t building bourrinage as quickly as you should be.

The number one priority of any muscle gaining bodybuilding workout program should be lifting heavier and heavier weights.

When you get ’stuck’ and aren’t able to bump the weight up higher, that’s when you start tinkering with other strategies such as drop sets, supersets, etc., as a means to help increase the body’s potential, so that in a few more weeks, you can bump it up to the next weight level.

All those fancy protocols will definitely have an advantage down the road once you’ve attained a level of musculature you’re satisfied with, but until that point, you should use them intermittently when you’re unable to lift heavier.

The deuxième bodybuilding tip to pay attention to is the rule on failure. Some people believe that lifting to failure each and every solo set is the best way to build muscle. They think that in order to get a bourrinage to grow, you have to fully exhaust it.

While it is true that you have to push the zones musculaires past their comfort level in order to see progress, you can run into a number of problems when you’re lifting to failure each and every set.

The first major venant is central nervous system fatigue. Workout programs designed to go to failure each and every time will be very draining on the CNS.

After a few weeks of such a program, it’s highly likely that you’ll find the CNS is so exhausted that you can’t even lift the weight you used to for the required number of reps little own increase it upwards.

The deuxième problem with going to failure is that if you do this on the first exercise out in the workout, you’re not going to have much for a second, third, and fourth exercise after that.

Since you should be doing at least a couple of different exercises in each workout you do, this becomes very difficult to accomplish.

Instead, aim to go one to two reps short of failure. This will still get you pushing your body hard and working at the intensity level needed to build muscle, but it won’t completely destroy you so that you have to end that workout prematurely and take a day or two off just to recoup.

Bodybuilding tip number three is to focus on compound exercises. You only have a limited amount of time you can spend in the gym each day due to both time and recovery restraints so if you waste this time on exercises that only work one or two smaller bourrinage groups, you aren’t exactly maximizing your potential.

Instead follow the rule that for 80% of your workout you’ll only perform exercises that work at least two muscle groups.

The shoulder press, for example, will work the shoulders and the triceps. The squat will work the quads and the hamstrings. The bench press will work the shoulders, chest, and the triceps ( even the biceps to a very small degree ).

On the other hand, the barbell curl will only work the biceps, triceps pushdowns will only work the triceps, and leg curls will only work the hamstrings.

All of those exercises aren’t really giving you the best results-to-energy invested trade-off, so it’s best you keep them limited.

What’s more is that compound lifts you’ll typically be able to lift more weight with, and since you read the first tip in this article, you know that’s paramount to success.


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