Low Bar Grip Width Could Be Causing Your Hip Shift

Ankle mobility, pelvic position, bracing and oblique control are usually the common culprits for a hip shift, but lately I’ve had a couple scenarios where the shift actually was stemming from the upper body. I’ve known Joey for a while and just recently started coaching him, and one of the first things I wanted to address was a long standing issue of having the bar crooked on his back. I also wanted to test if this was leading to the hip shift that was present, or if that shift was developed due to an injury he had sustained a couple months prior. The simple test was to have him squat a similar load on a safety bar, which takes the element of shoulder mobility out of the picture and places the bar perfectly centered on his back. You can see if you scroll to the second video (CLICK HERE) that the shift is much less pronounced and probably after some intentional practice would be non-existent. Fortunately the first attempt at a possible fix worked, which was to slightly widen his grip on low bar squats. He also tend to flare his elbows fairly high, so between that and the asymmetric bar placement on his back that seemed to be a good starting point. Almost immediately we saw the impact and just weeks later you can see in the first video (CLICK HERE) how there is little to no shift present. Joey also worked on shoulder mobility, as we don’t want to neglect the fact that he seems to be lacking in external rotation on that left side. Joey is actually in school working on his DC and as an added bonus I had him put together a video of the specific shoulder mobility exercise he’s really finding benefit with in the 3rd video! And just to notate, the lacrosse ball in the video is use to produce an irradiation effect, as you’ll squeeze the lacrosse ball with a moderate grip throughout.

I think this issue occurs primarily due to the fact that lifter’s tend to want to go as narrow as possible to create a false sense of tightness, and partially as well due to being misinformed by old lore that the narrower the grip the better. And that isn’t to say a narrow grip is bad, it very well may be optimal for a lifter, but it shouldn’t be a band-aid for upper back tightness. If you can do a lat pulldown with a wider grip and still create retraction and depression of the shoulders, you can do that with your low bar position as well. Abbee has been struggling a bit with finding her optimal grip and tightness, so the other day I had her perform an iso-metric lat pulldown hold prior to setting up on low bar during her warmups. I told her to translate that same feeling to her low bar setup. Find the grip width that allowed her to recreate that same upper back and lat tightness to create a shelf to stabilize the bar, so that her arms weren’t stabilizing it instead. She has been struggling with biceps tendinitis from stabilizing the bar too much with her arms, so we will see in the coming weeks how this translates in keeping that at bay and creating a more solid shelf with her upper back!

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