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  1. #1
    Registered User IceCracker's Avatar
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    Unhappy can't grip bar wide enough while squatting without risking injury

    Hi all,

    I need some help with my squat grip. Basically, I cannot grip the bar wide enough to avoid either significant discomfort or smashing my hands on the J hooks. I started lifting 5 months ago and I've been getting away with squatting lighter so that I'm never worried about needing to rerack the bar in a hurry, so I can carefully step back in and avoid smashing my hands, but I really want to start squatting heavy and that is 100% going to eventually result in crushing my fingers or my palm between the J hook and the bar at some point.

    Part of it is definitely due to my height (6'6") but I feel like it's a mobility issue because I see plenty of tall guys squatting just fine. For reference, I can't grip any narrower than with my index finger on the 2nd knurl without either unbearable discomfort in my arms/shoulders or putting my wrists at significant angles. Even with finger on the 2nd knurl, my wrists are not straight and it takes putting my index finger about 1/2" outside the 2nd knurl to get truly straight wrists, at which point my pinky is literally over the J hook. I should note that this is with a thumbless grip, with a "normal" grip it's even worse.

    What can I do to improve my mobility or do I just need to give up and buy a safety bar?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Missed thumbless..
    Drop pinky under, see talon grip.
    Look into some shoulder prehab work, stuff like overhead squats with bands (Chris duffin demoed these on YouTube) face pulls and band pull aparts
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  3. #3
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    If you're comfortable enough to do so and you're big enough, you may try gripping outside the j-hooks.
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  4. #4
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Shoulder dislocations

    Kettlebell movements like:
    Halo
    Turkish Get Up
    Windmill
    Bent press / Side press

    Those kettlebell movements help a lot with shoulder mobility, as you're stabilizing and moving the shoulder under load. Start light.
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  5. #5
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    I know the feels, that is why I have to use a SSB to squat when I’m not on the hack squat machine.
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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    While I'm not as tall as you OP (6'2"), initially I seemed to have a similar problem with setup. I felt like I could not get my hands closer together than just inside the rack. I'm still learning and getting used to good form with this exercise, but for whatever reason it's now much easier to get my hands closer together. This may not be anatomically possible for you as you are quite tall and may have a wide frame, besides, but after reading Greg Nuckols' insightful guide on squatting, I realized the importance of maintaining a close grip if possible, to support tightness and solidity for your brace.

    It could be a shoulder mobility thing.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    All good answers,
    work the shoulder mobility,
    you could switch to front squats,
    you could use a safety squat bar if available.
    Mobility wise I've done where i put a stick or pole in the J hooks,get my hands in a position close to the J hooks,wedge my head under the stick slowly trying to get the stick to at least the top of my neck.
    When i do i walk out of the rack and do small circles with the stick forward and backward.
    This seems to loosen things up but you have to be patient.
    Then i get back to the rack and try to wedge farther down with the stick.
    It works for me,you may have other issue but i would try it.
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