HELP I Can’t SQUAT The Bar Hurts My Neck…

Do you find that squats hurt your neck?

Does the bar dig into your traps and upper back?

Do you try and fix the problem by wrapping a towel or foam pad around the barbell?

This is a very common problem, especially among people who are new to squatting. But there is a specific exercise that you can do to fix this program and eliminate the pain in the neck you get from squatting.

This exercise is called the HISE SHRUG – it was invented back in the 1930’s by Joseph Curtis Hise. He was also the same guy who first came up with the 20 rep squat program which has helped countless men pack on solid muscular body weight.



Joseph Curtis Hise - Creator Of The Hise Shrug & 20 Rep Squat Program
Joseph Curtis Hise

Joseph Curtis Hise was a true weight lifting pioneer. Joe started lifting weights during the early 1930’s. At this time he just couldn’t get his bodyweight over 200 pounds. But he later read about the squat in Mark Berry’s magazines and gave it a try. By including high rep squats as a regular exercise in his workouts, Joe gained a whopping 29 pounds, tipping the scale at 229!

He continued experimenting along this line and finally reached a bodyweight of 298, with an arm measurement of 19 inches, a chest of 56 and thighs of 33 inches. Even today such girths are considered fantastic but in those days they were simply beyond comprehension. Joe’s results helped make the 20 rep squat program “World Famous” for gaining solid muscular bodyweight.

Hise published articles in many of the old time muscle magazines and indirectly helped thousands of guys get bigger and stronger. Joseph Curtis Hise passed away September 1972.


To perform the Hise Shrug all you have to do is shoulder a barbell just as if you were going to do a set of barbell squats. But instead of squatting with the weight you are just going to shrug your shoulders as high as you can, hold the peak contraction for a split second, then lower your shoulders down.

By regularly doing this exercise you’ll build up your traps and upper back and also toughen up your shoulders so that you can build up your pain threshold to squat with a bare barbell across your back with no pain what so ever.

So if you have trouble squatting with the bar on your back, do the Hise Shrug 3 times per week. Just do a few easy sets of 10-20 reps at the end of your workouts and build up the weights gradually over time. Just by regularly getting the bar on your back and doing this move frequently will quickly toughen up your shoulders and traps. Within about 6 weeks of doing this you’ll eliminate the shoulder discomfort associated with squatting and be able to focus entirely on getting the most benefit from squatting.


Click PLAY To Watch The Video Below:

Note: If for some reason you can’t watch the embedded video above,
just click on the link below to watch it on my YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgQHOP06liM


Give this exercise a try in your workouts and leave me a comment below letting me know how it works for you…

And if you would like to try the Famous 20 Rep Squat Program that Joseph Curtis Hise used to Pack On Mass and Bulk Up… Just click on the link below:



20 Rep Squat Program
http://www.LeeHayward.com/squats.htm

About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online helping people build muscle, lose bodyfat, and get in shape since 1999. Lee was selected as one of the Top Fitness Trainers Online through YouTube's Next Trainer Program and his work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes.

39 Comments

  • chadkitz

    Reply Reply

    Lee, My problem is I don’t seem to be flexible enough to get my arms back that far to hold the bar. It is like my Pecs aren’t flexible enough. Have you heard of this and if so any streches or ways to fix it?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Joshua

    Reply Reply

    Hey coach leehayward thanks for another update on building muscle imma give this a try and I’ll let u know if it truly works for me to be in my workout routine

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • chadkitz:
    Lee, My problem is I don’t seem to be flexible enough to get my arms back that far to hold the bar.It is like my Pecs aren’t flexible enough.Have you heard of this and if so any streches or ways to fix it?

    =====================

    Try doing this warm up routine before every workout to help loosen up your shoulders.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • I don’t have pain from the bar when doing squats. But this does look like an interesting variation to work traps.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • How long doing this exercise will I be able to do squats without padding. BTW I use a BMX crossbar pad on my barbell.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dani

    Reply Reply

    Dont think i have seen that viration before so thanx dude. I did hear of one though for Nick Nilson where you just stack weight on it, lift it on your traps(just like you did) and then hold it there for a few seconds. What do you think of that?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Emil

    Reply Reply

    Lee, I don’t get pain in my shoulders or trap when I squat but often one of my hamstrings give out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks coach!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Robb

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee, I was wondering if I could change up the chin ups and dips and sit ups to more muscle building exercises like bench and curls.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • thankx lee for telling me

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • bob g

    Reply Reply

    Lee – What do you recommend for this – I broke my clavical – leaving my right side 1 inch narrower than my left (and I an narrow to begin with!!)side. I have found if I DO NOT USE A TOWEL the bar tilts. No matter how I try I can ot get the bar to be balanced when I squat if I do not use a towel.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Alex

    Reply Reply

    Looks like a good shrug exercise..
    I fortunatelly dont feel pain, dont use foam roller, towel, gloves, belts, straps or elevated shoes.. those are all good for powerlifting, but if youre trying to work the muscles for pure bodybuilding, do it RAW !! it willl build your core, forearms and grip..
    Its akward to see someone complainig about the pain from the bar, i cant understand how those same guys would perform a good old heavy set of squats, would they also complain about the pain in their quads too ??
    Keep it up Lee !!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • eCompose

    Reply Reply

    chadkitz,
    Hi Chadkitz. Do some shoulder dislocation exercises with a broom handle – see the link below. It does not take much practice (a couple of weeks of doing these daily) to build up enough flexibility to push the bar against your back. Also remember to keep your back tight. Rippetoe gives some excellent coaching guidance about how to do a proper squat – link underneath the first – follow-on with the other parts of Mark Rippetoe’s guides – he’s the best coach for getting points across (Lee’s good as well, but he would probably agree that Mark has a great handle on the basics!).

    http://101exercises.com/tag/shoulder-dislocation-exercise

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kawBY5p29fQ

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=rippetoe%20squat&source=web&cd=4&sqi=2&ved=0CDoQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstartingstrength.com%2Farticles%2Fsquat_rippetoe.pdf&ei=fkVKT_LGEKay0QXi_6mHDQ&usg=AFQjCNH3delEjxG6GM0IBxfVlq9bxMZFDw&sig2=VoHd-sF7tf0p1o4xBDUJPA

    Good luck!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Pras

    Reply Reply

    Thanks a ton Lee. I have this issue of the bar/weights digging into my shoulders while squatting. Infact yesterday I spent 10 minutes wandering around the gym hunting for the foam wrap. Thanks to you Sir, can’t wait to build up by practicing your trick.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Chris

    Reply Reply

    I am one of the people that uses the Sponge Roller. But I got to admit that I like the Hise shrug. I usually incorporate Shrugs in my Back Workouts, and will include this routine. And drop the sponge.
    Thanks Lee!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Gil

    Reply Reply

    Hey Lee, Thanks for the Tip Brother!!! I don’t have issues with my squat or position with the bar, but it looks like I just added a shrug variation to my arsenal. Awesome!!!

    -RAVEN2SNIPE-

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Nice, Lee. I think when I first starting squatting I used both that towel method and the foam wrap deal ha ha, but I just finally got used to it and stop using it years back. But this does give me a new exercise for my traps I never thought of before..

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Brad

    Reply Reply

    Hey Lee…another great post! I do have a question about the 20 rep squat routine and the link you have posted above. I read to do 3 sets of the circuit (chin ups, dips, crunches) but how about the squat and barbell pullovers.. Is that just 1 set of 20 for the squats?

    Thanks coach

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • moe

    Reply Reply

    lee, like another poster said,i also can’t get my arms back far enough to squat.i’ve tried everything you suggested on your video, plus numerous others that were suggested.last time i really got serious about tring to get under the bar i blew out my c6-c7 and needed surgery. i’m open to any and all suggestions.right now i hack squat, but it just ain’t the same

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Mike:
    How long doing this exercise will I be able to do squats without padding. BTW I use a BMX crossbar pad on my barbell.

    ============

    If you do this 2-3 times per week, starting off light and building up gradually, you should be able to hold the bar on your back pain free within 6 weeks.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dani:
    Dont think i have seen that viration before so thanx dude. I did hear of one though for Nick Nilson where you just stack weight on it, lift it on your traps(just like you did) and then hold it there for a few seconds. What do you think of that?

    =============

    I think that maybe a power rack squat lockout exercise which is an awesome move as well for building up the back and improving your ability to handle heavy weights.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Robb:
    Hi Lee, I was wondering if I could change up the chin ups and dips and sit ups to more muscle building exercises like bench and curls.

    ==============

    You could change things up…
    However, I’d recommend following the simple program of squats, pullovers, chins, dips, and sit ups for at least 6 weeks. Trust me it works and you’ll make awesome gains from it… After all that’s the main purpose of working out in the first place – Building Muscle – not so much just having lots of exercises to choose from.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • bob g:
    Lee – What do you recommend for this – I broke my clavical – leaving my right side 1 inch narrower than my left (and I an narrow to begin with!!)side.I have found if I DO NOT USE A TOWEL the bar tilts.No matter how I try I canot get the bar to be balanced when I squat if I do not use a towel.

    =============

    I can’t see how using a towel would “balance out” the the barbell any more then not having the towel. The towel doesn’t change the weight distribution… Try this exercise and see how it works for you.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Brad:
    Hey Lee…another great post!I do have a question about the 20 rep squat routine and the link you have posted above.I read to do 3 sets of the circuit (chin ups, dips, crunches) but how about the squat and barbell pullovers.. Is that just 1 set of 20 for the squats?

    Thanks coach

    ==============

    Yes you are reading right. Do as many warm up sets of squats as you need to prepare for 1 all out set of 20 squats. Trust me, once you rep out a set of 20 squats you won’t want to do another one 🙂

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • moe:
    lee, like another poster said,i also can’t get my arms back far enough to squat.i’ve tried everything you suggested on your video, plus numerous others that were suggested.last time i really got serious about tring to get under the bar i blew out my c6-c7 and needed surgery. i’m open to any and all suggestions.right now i hack squat, but it just ain’t the same

    ================

    You should visit a good physiotherapist who is used to working with athletes. This is something that needs personal attention. And “internet diagnosis” isn’t good enough in this case.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dani

    Reply Reply

    leehayward,

    oh no sorry i forgot to say that he doesnt squat with it at all. He just lifts it out of the rack stands there with it on his back for a few seconds then racks it again & does a few reps with it

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Darin

    Reply Reply

    I don’t have any issues with the bar while squatting but I’ve been looking for a new way to work my traps. Thanks for tip!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Akash

    Reply Reply

    Hey Lee,Thanks for all your tips,I mostly work out at home and not in a gym,I have good set of weights and bars to do most of the excersice,I however am wondering if i can make the Hise shrug a routine as I had a disk protusion problem in my C5 and C6 region 10 months ago,could I do this with moderate weights and do it safely?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Akash:
    Hey Lee,Thanks for all your tips,I mostly work out at home and not in a gym,I have good set of weights and bars to do most of the excersice,I however am wondering if i can make the Hise shrug a routine as I had a disk protusion problem in my C5 and C6 region 10 months ago,couldI do this with moderate weights and do it safely?

    ====================

    Before I respond I’m just going to state the obvious…
    I’m not a doctor, so if you have any medical condition or physical injuries, etc. get them checked out by a medical professional and get their approval before doing any form of strength training exercise.

    Ok, so now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. I think you can include this exercise in your workouts. Just start off really light and simply increase the weight by 5 pounds per week. Small steady progression like that will really help build up your back without risk of injury.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Norm

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee,

    I am wondering if you can help with my shoulder pain problem. It seems everytime I do shoulder shrugs of any kind, my bones in my shoulders (At the top) seem to hurt for days. What could this be?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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  • josian

    Reply Reply

    hi lee:
    i have a question for you:
    i have try the “hise shrugs” for 3 sets of 10 reps
    is that okay to do with that kind of sets and reps?
    oh! and by the way nice exercise routine i love it!
    thank you!
    your friend,
    josian.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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