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I am doing a 5x5 stronglifts program. I squat below parallel and I believe I have pretty good form, but my lower left lat says otherwise. After I perform the 5 reps, I feel a sharp pain in my lower left lat, (and ONLY my LEFT lat). I am thinking this has something to do with either: 1) I am overextending my back in an effort to stay as straight as possible so that it actually arches inward. Or 2) My hand grip position is wacky on the barbell. The other day I squatted with a much narrower grip where my hands were directly above my shoulders and it seemed to feel a little better.

Anybody with a common problem or suggestion?

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Do you have video or a picture of how you rack the bar? A form check is called for. You might just have a very tight shoulder that is aggravated by holding the bar. This isn't uncommon with the low bar back squat. You could consider a high bar squat. – Dave Liepmann Oct 6 '13 at 16:40
I recommend checking out this form video: – Daniel Oct 7 '13 at 20:20
@DaveLiepmann That's interesting because I actually am doing High Bar Squats and I was considering moving to low bar squats to alleviate the pain. – echelon4m Oct 8 '13 at 2:07
Switching could help in that direction too, but I'd definitely get a form check to see if your upper back and hand position are good. – Dave Liepmann Oct 8 '13 at 6:16

It could be a number of things but I would ask myself:

If I lower the weight does the pain subside?

Pain is usually an indication of an injury, have I injured myself?

If you perform a front squat, does the pain still occur? How about during any other exercises?

I found that this happened to me during military presses. I would be able to press the weight, but under my chest almost under my armpit would have a sharp pain. It was only when the weight was too strenuous on my core it seemed. I developed my core and shoulders a little more appropriately before attempting that weight again, and the pain was gone. Just personal experience.

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That's very interesting. I don't think the weight is too heavy. In fact even when I warmup with an empty barbell I can feel it, (it doesn't hurt though). I'll try less weight and see what happens. Front squats do not hurt me as this pain feels like its more from the barbell compressing my lats if that makes sense. – echelon4m Oct 8 '13 at 2:06
I would say injury due to bar-placement as mentioned earlier. If you set the bar up too low on your back, you're overextending your arm placement on the bar to compensate. Putting your shoulder socket, and everything in respect to that in an awkward position. This could cause a bunch of form errors, including leaning forward, straining/ pulling muscles, pinched nerves, butt-tuck etc. – Hituptony Oct 8 '13 at 12:22

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