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View Full Version : Huge pain in neck when squatting?


Atty
11-30-2008, 10:01 PM
Whenever I squat I get a huge pain in my neck, it hasn't stopped me yet (for instance, today, I did 275lbs for four reps, as my 5th set, first time ever going that high) but it does bother me after I've worked out. Anyone know what it is?

I get it right when I pull the bar off the rack, so I think it's a nerve I might be pinching or something, but I'm not sure. I've tried holding the bar lower or higher on my back, but to no avail. By the way, I don't use a pad on the bar or anything.

SociallyChallenged
11-30-2008, 11:42 PM
You are placing it in the incorrect spot most likely. You need to rest it on your traps and not on your neck at all. If it hurts at all while you are squatting, you need to re-rack it and find the right spot. Also, when you rack the weight, let it off of your traps slowly. Not SLOWLY, but you don't wanna jump from underneath it. I get an odd acclimation pain if I set the weight down quickly. It needs to be controlled.

If this is not the case, you need to look into the low-bar rack. You may be causing vertebra/nerve damage, especially if your arms go numb or the neck pain feels like it is something other than muscular.

presidentender
11-30-2008, 11:47 PM
SC's right on. I had a friend who needed to do shrugs to develop the traps to make him comfortable squatting properly (I know, I couldn't figure it out, either). You might try the same, or using a pad or one of those manta things (I hate 'em, ymmv).

BeauJangles
12-01-2008, 12:03 PM
I'd say switch to proper low-bar rack position. You should not have any pain in your neck (or anywhere else!) when squatting and I think using a pad in this situation would simply mask a problem with form.

BlahBlahYouToo
12-01-2008, 12:36 PM
275 lbs for 4 reps eh?
so how big are you?

freejumps
12-01-2008, 01:33 PM
that doesnt sound good

gramboh
12-02-2008, 05:38 PM
Couple comments

#1) Are you trying to do high bar or low bar squats? If high bar, you are possibly resting the bar too high. It should be on the top of the traps. If low bar, this should not be a problem at all.

#2) Where are you looking during the squats? You should maintain a neutral gaze which will leave your eyes looking down rather than straight in front. If you are looking up while coming out of the hole, this could be taking your neck out of natural alignment and causing stress leading to pain.

SociallyChallenged
12-03-2008, 12:42 AM
Originally posted by: gramboh
Couple comments

#1) Are you trying to do high bar or low bar squats? If high bar, you are possibly resting the bar too high. It should be on the top of the traps. If low bar, this should not be a problem at all.

#2) Where are you looking during the squats? You should maintain a neutral gaze which will leave your eyes looking down rather than straight in front. If you are looking up while coming out of the hole, this could be taking your neck out of natural alignment and causing stress leading to pain.

Hm, isn't neutral... neutral? Meaning, not looking down or up. Meaning, if there's no mirror in front of you, just look straight ahead.

HumbleDan
12-03-2008, 04:01 AM
If you squat lighter weight like 200lbs does it hurt your neck ? Anyway neck pain isn't a good sign.

You can try front squat, with smith machine if you aren't comfortable with it. I normally don't recommend squat unless they are serious weightlifter, powerlifter or bodybuilder. For all intent and purposes inclined leg presses will build your leg faster than squat, you can push more weight, psychologically you aren't worry about losing balance or any discomfort squat brings on you. Anyway you need quite a thick traps to squat heavy without hurting your self. If your traps aren't as thick you should use padding until your traps are build.

BeauJangles
12-03-2008, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by: HumbleDan
If you squat lighter weight like 200lbs does it hurt your neck ? Anyway neck pain isn't a good sign.

You can try front squat, with smith machine if you aren't comfortable with it. I normally don't recommend squat unless they are serious weightlifter, powerlifter or bodybuilder. For all intent and purposes inclined leg presses will build your leg faster than squat, you can push more weight, psychologically you aren't worry about losing balance or any discomfort squat brings on you. Anyway you need quite a thick traps to squat heavy without hurting your self. If your traps aren't as thick you should use padding until your traps are build.

Do you realize the glaring contradiction in those sentences? Leg presses are inferior in every conceivable way to squatting because they take out the stabilization factor, your lower back, your upper back, your shoulders. The exercise goes from being a dynamic, all-body workout to an isolation movement. For all intents and purposes, leg presses are complete and utter waste of time unless you like claiming you can press 500 lbs. Great, and I can assisted clean a loaded refrigerator.

Based on your last sentence, you've never really squatted and have no idea what you're talking about. I started squatting when I weighed nothing. I had no muscle on me and I never hurt myself or developed "thick traps." I'm sorry for sounding so harsh, but seriously man nothing you said is supported by any legitimate trainers, by any strength programs, or by science and logic.

brikis98
12-03-2008, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by: HumbleDan
If you squat lighter weight like 200lbs does it hurt your neck ? Anyway neck pain isn't a good sign.

You can try front squat, with smith machine if you aren't comfortable with it. I normally don't recommend squat unless they are serious weightlifter, powerlifter or bodybuilder. For all intent and purposes inclined leg presses will build your leg faster than squat, you can push more weight, psychologically you aren't worry about losing balance or any discomfort squat brings on you. Anyway you need quite a thick traps to squat heavy without hurting your self. If your traps aren't as thick you should use padding until your traps are build.

Wow, this is flat out horrible advice.

You should avoid smith machines at all costs. No matter what exercise you do on them, they force your body into a very rigid and unnatural motion. This is especially problematic with squatting. Likewise, the leg press is NOT a substitute for the squat. It again forces you into a rigid and unnatural motion, and it removes your back, balance, and coordination from the exercise. In fact, I'll make it simpler: don't bother with machines of any kind. They are not nearly as effective at building strength, they don't let you train your balance and neuromuscular coordination, and they are not any safer.

Also, with the possible exception of people with pre-existing injuries, EVERYONE should squat. It's one of the most effective exercises for the human body, whether your goals are to gain muscle, get stronger, jump higher, or whatever.

Finally, if your neck is hurting, you're probably not holding the bar in the right spot. It should be sitting on your traps, and no, you don't need huge traps for this to be comfortable, you just need to position the bar properly. If you can't get it to work with a high bar position, switch to low bar squats, where the bar is essentially sitting on the back of your shoulders and no where near your neck. Pick up a copy of Starting Strength for more information.

gramboh
12-05-2008, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by: SociallyChallenged
Originally posted by: gramboh
Couple comments

#1) Are you trying to do high bar or low bar squats? If high bar, you are possibly resting the bar too high. It should be on the top of the traps. If low bar, this should not be a problem at all.

#2) Where are you looking during the squats? You should maintain a neutral gaze which will leave your eyes looking down rather than straight in front. If you are looking up while coming out of the hole, this could be taking your neck out of natural alignment and causing stress leading to pain.

Hm, isn't neutral... neutral? Meaning, not looking down or up. Meaning, if there's no mirror in front of you, just look straight ahead.

It depends on bar position, low bar you will be looking down due to the increased back angle, high bar you will be looking more forward, but even with high bar I find I am leaning a bit, so my gaze is usually slightly downward (very slightly). My suggestion should have been worded to avoid straining the neck upward which I have seen some people do.

SociallyChallenged
12-05-2008, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by: gramboh
Originally posted by: SociallyChallenged
Originally posted by: gramboh
Couple comments

#1) Are you trying to do high bar or low bar squats? If high bar, you are possibly resting the bar too high. It should be on the top of the traps. If low bar, this should not be a problem at all.

#2) Where are you looking during the squats? You should maintain a neutral gaze which will leave your eyes looking down rather than straight in front. If you are looking up while coming out of the hole, this could be taking your neck out of natural alignment and causing stress leading to pain.

Hm, isn't neutral... neutral? Meaning, not looking down or up. Meaning, if there's no mirror in front of you, just look straight ahead.

It depends on bar position, low bar you will be looking down due to the increased back angle, high bar you will be looking more forward, but even with high bar I find I am leaning a bit, so my gaze is usually slightly downward (very slightly). My suggestion should have been worded to avoid straining the neck upward which I have seen some people do.


Gotcha. Good clarification.

Atty
12-05-2008, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by: BlahBlahYouToo
275 lbs for 4 reps eh?
so how big are you?Small D:

Also, I squatted yesterday and no huge neck pains, a bit of stiffness but that was it. I rested the bar a bit higher on my traps and kept my neck straight through the entire squat and didn't feel any pain. :)