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Front Squat Hurts Shoulders And Collarbone? (Here’s Why!)

If you’re wondering why the front squat hurts your shoulders and collarbone, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I explain why front squats cause shoulder pain and how you can reduce shoulder pain when doing the exercise.

Man with an injured shoulder sitting in a gym

Front Squat Hurts Shoulders And Collarbone (3 Reasons Why)

Incorrect Bar Position

During front squats, the bar should sit on the shelf you create at the top of your chest by lifting your shoulders up and forwards. 

This is usually enough to form a muscular cushion over your clavicle (collarbone), which can get bruised if the bar sits on it.

If you have the bar in the wrong position, it can knock your collarbone which can result in sore shoulders after front squats. 

Normal Muscle Soreness

As your shoulders are working during front squats, you’ll likely feel some mild discomfort in them after your session.

Like any muscle group in your body, if your shoulders have been working hard, small tears are formed in the muscles which cause swelling and discomfort. 

These tears are a good thing and are to be expected, as once your body has repaired them, the muscles will be stronger than before.


High levels of pain or soreness in your shoulders after front squats can be a sign of injury. 

Although the risk of injury is low if your front squat technique is perfect, you can sometimes pick up an injury that causes your shoulders to hurt more than they should. 

Anything more than mild discomfort in your shoulders (or any other place in your body) should be spoken about with your doctor to ensure it’s not something that requires medical treatment.

How To Reduce Shoulder Pain From Front Squats

The most effective way to reduce shoulder pain from front squats is to ensure you’re maintaining good form and technique throughout the exercise

Making sure the position of the bar is correct, keeping your elbows high, and your upper body in a strong, upright position will all help keep shoulder pain to a minimum. 

You will likely always feel some mild discomfort in your shoulders after front squats as your shoulder muscles are being activated during the movement.

But the correct technique is key to working the appropriate muscles without causing extreme soreness.

Do Front Squats Work Your Shoulders?

Front squats work several muscles groups in both your upper and lower body including your shoulders. As the weight is held on the front of your body, this forces your shoulders to engage so you’re able to hold the bar in the correct position throughout the exercise.

Man doing a front squat in a gym

How Front Squats Work Your Shoulders

Your shoulders are put under quite a bit of stress during a front squat. 

The stress they’re placed under is positive stress though, in that it helps build and develop your shoulder muscles to be bigger and stronger. 

As the bar sits on the front of your shoulders, your shoulders have to engage enough to hold it steady. This is not only while you’re preparing to front squat, but during the actual movement itself. 

Your upper body has to stay upright and your elbows have to stay high.

This is only possible if your shoulders engage and work throughout. 

Should You Stop Doing Front Squats If They Hurt Your Shoulders?

Sore shoulders from front squats are perfectly normal and to be expected in most cases. 

There is no need to stop doing front squats if you have mild discomfort in your shoulders as this is most likely a result of muscle activation during your workout. 

However, if you feel severe pain in your shoulders after doing front squats, then it’s a very good idea to stop doing them until you’ve spoken to your doctor.

(Just to confirm you don’t have an injury that the squats are making worse.)

As long as the soreness in your shoulders is mild and doesn’t prevent you from doing the things you need to do in your everyday life, you should be fine to carry on doing front squats. 

As your shoulders get stronger, you will probably notice they’re less sore after training.


In summary:

  • Front squats hurt your shoulders and collarbone when you place the bar incorrectly on the front of your body.
  • To reduce shoulder and collarbone pain, you should use the correct technique and bar position.
  • Your shoulders work as secondary muscles during front squats.

That’s all for front squats and shoulder pain, but why are front squats harder? Or perhaps you’re interested in front squat vs hack squat?

Thanks for reading!


Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Shoulder Injuries