I used to do my front sqauts holding the bar on my shoulders while crossing my arms over it to hold it in place. I then wanted to learn how to do a power clean, but noticed that I must first master the front squat to carry over to the clean.

The problem is that the way to hold the bar in the front sqaut that has carryover to the clean hurts my wrists.

As I understand it the bar rests on your shoulders mainly and your hands are there to ensure that it doesn't fall. Now when the bar is resting in my finger tips in this manor, as needed for the clean, it really hurts my wrists.

I don't have any issues with my wrists that I know of since no other exercise ever hurts my wrists.

Perhaps I have a lack of flexibility in my lower arms needed to hold the bar in this way. If that is the case, what can I do to properly hold the bar without any pain?

  • It hurts at first, you have to get used to it, thats how almost every exercise is
    – aaronman
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


Make sure your forearm is not stacked on top of your humerus. It should be off to the side.

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You can do this stretch to help improve your flexibility for the catch position.

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What is most important is elbows up, not the finger position in the catch. If you lack flexibility, there are alternative catching grips you can use:

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  • Im at my gym right now playing around with these various grips you posted, but,and this will sound weird, my neck keeps getting in the way so I am unable to get my shoulders up straight. My wrists are not hurting now though. Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 20:12
  • @Usedtobefat Hmm.. I can't visualize what you're talking about. Maybe you could get a picture or diagram it when you get the chance. Are you perhaps retracting your scapulas? You should relax them, so that your shoulders can move forward, in front of where your neck gets in the way.
    – user4644
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 20:29
  • Ok so after I posted my above comment I went back to trying out the tips you gave me and I think I got it finally. Thanks loads! Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 21:15
  • 1
    Good old starting strength wins again ;)
    – Tristan
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 20:31

When switching to power cleans and/or front squats for the first time you will start to notice that many areas of your body are not very flexible. This will adjust over time, however I would recommend that you do supplementary stretching.

I am a big fan of Glenn Pendlay's videos when it comes to Olympic lifting, and this one is most appropriate for you.

  • 2
    would you be able to specify certain stretches that you think may help me? Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 21:18
  • The best one requires a partner. Rack the bar in the proper position on your shoulders with some weight on it, and have a buddy push up on your elbows. This is a sport specific stretch that is great. Otherwise any stretching of the shoulders and wrists will be beneficial.
    – maxywb
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 13:35

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