Lumps or lesions on your back after a weightlifting session is not a common issue.
Usually, when someone says they have developed a “lump” on their back from squatting they are talking about more of a postural issue resulting from incorrect bar placement.
However, some weightlifters have also started experiencing lumps called the “Weightlifter’s nodule” and professionals say that it could be a result of multiple contributing factors
Is It Postural?
If the above images look like what you have then your issue is Postural and many times this can be improved or even gotten rid of completely.
The deposit in your back is actually an exaggeration of poor posture combined with fatty deposits and tissue built up by the body to protect the spine.
Curing Postural Lumps With Better Bar Position
Remember that when squatting you do not rest with the bar on your back.
This is an active position. You need to keep your elbows up, your shoulder blades squeezed and back. Overall it takes a lot of effort to maintain this position. Practice it.
Improving Your Posture with Exercises
There are two primary exercises we recommend for improving your posture.
1. Ryan Humiston's Face Pull Killer
This exercise is such a game changer that it may blow your freaking mind.
💡 Quick Tip: Ryan suggests using the TRX but we think this Product is just as good, and cheaper!
MOMOVE Suspension Strap
Remember, if you cannot perform the exercise using your own bodyweight you can go to use something more like a functional trainer to the exercise (still need the straps though).
We highly suggest you check out Ryan's full video here:
2. Chin tucks with the Iron Neck
Yeah, we purchased the Iron Neck. And at first we thought it was ridiculous. But wow does it produce amazing results.
Just make sure the garage door is close before people see you and wonder that you're up to. Or don't and just own it.
💡 Quick Tip: The Iron Neck is a game changer
The Iron Neck
What if It's Not Postural?
The appearance of a lesion, nub, or protrusion on your back (whatever you like to call your very own lump on the back) is a complaint some lifters have in the beginning of their weightlifting journey. But, there are others who have developed it spontaneously despite years of training and many who’ve never experienced it.
The most common concern is, Could it be a malignant tumor? It most probably is…..
….not a cancerous tumor- If you’ve developed it when you started making changes in your weight lifting routine, then the lump is most likely linked to the bar positioning when you perform high-bar squats. However, a visit to the dermatologist is recommended if it causes more concern than it should.
A Case Study
The National Library of Medicine proposed a diagnosis of a “weightlifter’s nodule” to a 17-year-old high school football player who experienced two asymptomatic lumps on the upper part of his back. The firm, mobile and ill-defined lumps were observed on the upper aspect of his back following a few weeks of weightlifting sessions. This lump was said to resemble the “athlete’s nodule” which develops as a result of continuous blunt pressure.
The lesions were located along the muscles where the squat bar is usually placed. Microscopic analysis of the lesion revealed an expansion in the dermis (inner layer of the skin). This reactive fibrosis can be seen in athlete's nodules as a result of repetitive blunt pressure. Reference.
Other Causes For Developing Lumps on Your Back.
- Pressure on the Nerves – Resting the bar on the spine can cause damage. Continuous and extreme blunt pressure causes pinched nerves that can lead to pain in different parts of the body.
- Friction – If you are resting the bar directly on your back, you need to use the right gear and equipment. We get it, you might not like to use pads but rusty barbells at some gyms are definitely a no-go. If your home-gym needs a barbell replacement, consider going through our 9 Best Budget Olympic Barbells ($200 and under) to find the right pick for you.
- Pre Existing Skin Conditions – Perhaps the lump has always been there and the reason it’s surfaced now is because of the changes in the muscle exertion. Some people reported having those bumps prior to ever lifting and possibly they’ve developed those lumps as children.
More Ways to Avoid Getting Lumps Doing High Bar Squats
The effect weightlifting has on your back can be minimized by adhering to the following guidelines:
Obviously, Fix Your Posture – See the above section
Consider a Neck-support Pad
If unfortunately your traps are still not toned enough or big enough to hold the bar in this position, you might have to consider using a neck-support pad like the Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad. Some weightlifters even use rolled up towels to mimic the effect. The idea is to have some type of support and cushioning to help with your high bar lifts.
💡 Quick Tip: The Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad is our most recommended squat pad
Iron Bull Strength Advanced Squat Pad
If you notice a lump forming on your back after your high bar squats, common sense says that you should avoid putting more pressure on it. Refrain from doing high bar squats for a while until the bump has gone.
Switch to Low Bar Squats or even Front Squats
Considering your weightlifting goals, making the switch from High Bar squats to Low bar squats would make a huge difference.
This is not to say that you can replace high bar squats with low bars. Use low bar squats only if you feel like it befits your fitness goals in the long run.
Lifters, Listen Up!
Finding what’s right for you when it comes to your weight-training sessions involves continuous progress-monitoring and trial and error. The gym is not the most conducive environment for this as most gyms work on a one-size-fits-all basis.
We believe working out should be more personal and well-designed to cater to your fitness goals and this is why we recommend building your very own home gym here on our website.
To make building your personalized home gym easier we put together the following blog posts that would help you with it.