One of the aspects that the Starting Strength book emphasizes a good deal is that the wrists should be straight when doing the squat (see point 3, as well as the wrists of the guy in all the cartoons on that page). My problem is that my wrists always look like that of the guy in the image to the right on that page; they're severely supinated. In order to straighten them out, I have to either (1) move my hands farther out, which causes them to be bent inwards; severe "yaw", if you will, or (2) push my arms really far back, to the point of stressing my shoulder blades, and usually by the seventh rep my back actually hurts from the stretching.

Does anyone know of any stretches I should work on that will make this exercise easier? Thanks!

  • Just curious - if you leave your wrists supinated while you squat, do you feel any pain or stretching?
    – matt b
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 14:08
  • @matt - I haven't tried it, mainly because it's bad form; your back is supposed to support the weight, not the wrist.
    – eykanal
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 14:25
  • 1
    As a follow-up to this... for about two weeks I began each routine with shoulder dislocations, and I've been working on my form. The problems are now completely gone.
    – eykanal
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


You'll find this page has lots of practical advice for fixing squat problems. Believe it or not, the article they have on "How to eliminate your protruding gut" also has some useful stretches to help improve your squat grip.

I've included both lunge stretches and shoulder dislocations to make it easier to do my form correctly.

  • So, I tried the shoulder dislocations, and they helped tremendously. Thanks!
    – eykanal
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 0:02
  • Glad to be of help. I'm still trying to get low enough on my squats, so I have a bit more work on my hamstrings. Commented May 6, 2011 at 0:17

You are suppose to kick your elbows out like that, it helps "lock" the bar against your back and is proper form. If you're getting sore, perhaps you're just creating too much tension. I know when I do certain exercises my back get bruised because I'm unconsciously squeezing everything together.

My suggest would be to strip the weight off the bar and work on your form until you can do it without any unusual discomfort. Then slowly build back up to your working weight with the same form.

  • I'm not asking about the elbows, I'm asking about the wrists. Keeping my wrists straight while doing the squat is the problem.
    – eykanal
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 13:38
  • My point was, if using the proper technique fixes your wrist problem, perhaps you should continue to use it. Commented May 5, 2011 at 11:21

It's important not to support the weight with your hands but rather with your back. The technique I have always used is to not touch the bar with the palms at all, but rather have hands free with the bar locked onto the back by the inner wrist or heel of the hand.

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