T Nation

A question about squats

So I have taken up squatting. I haven’t really done them before so I am using light weight until I feel like I am performing them with good form. My question tho is hard to explain. On my last set, which is my heaviest, I can feel some tingling in my back. It goes across the back horizontally and tingles like when you sit on your foot too long and then let blood back in to it. ( though not quite as intense and not for as long) Has anyone ever experienced this before? If so do you know if its a bad thing or am I doing something wrong during the squat ? Just so you know how I am doing the squat I am using a board underneath my heels so I can go all the way down and sit on my calves. ( so to speak) I make an attempt to keep my back straight but it does invariably slant forward when I go down with the weight. anyone have any input ?
Thanks in advance.

Make sure you hit a weight with good form for all sets before you progress in weight. Being new to squats, that may be a sign of fatigue. Make sure you don’t sacrifice form in the name of reps. Try to get off the board as soon as you can. You have to lean forward to some extent. You’d topple back if you didn’t. think of the bar and your ankles being in one line. Force over base. What was your primary lower body exercise prior to this? Is the squat the first exercise of the day? week?

Where exactly is the tingling – in your upper back roughly where the bar is resting, or in your lower back? What rep range are you using? Do you have any pre-existing back conditions?

Jay: My primary lower body excercise was much like the squat but it was on a slant. The apparatus slipped over my shoulder and it was the same motion. My guess here is that this machine minimized my body weight becuse of the slant. THe squat is the 1st excercise on some days. I like to give it my all. However, I workout with weights 3-4 times a week with legs being fully half ( or less when 3 workouts) but it all works out in the end.

Zev: the tingling is about the center of my back, its not localized near where the bar would be. I use the BFL method for reps and I am using very light weight. 95 for 12 105 for 10 115 for 8 125 for 6. then back to 95 for 12 again. Regarding the pre-existing back conditions, No. I have always been a healthy boy ( meaning fat as well as in good health lol ) I could probably squat quite a bit more but I am not looking to incur my first back injury doing an excercise I haven't ever done. A description of me. 6 ft tall 228lbs 180 lbm 48 lbs of fat. Been on and off BFL several times. I'm still a newbie but not a total n00b. Thanks guys :)

Some people cannot, or will have an incredibly difficult time getting into a deep squat position without a lot of training. PErsonally, I’m one of those people - you will almost inevitably have to work your glutes and hamstrings more in the lift than if you had ‘ideal’ levers for squatting. What was said in a previous post about lining up the ankles and bar is solid advice - don’t be worried about leaning forward at the hips, assuming you are controlling the weight and you can keep things tight as they can be.

On the bright side, you will have little problem in basically stiff-legging heavy deadlifts.


I don’t know what to tell you, hombre; I thought that maybe the tingling was a result of the bar cutting off circulation, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. You might want to get a doc to check it out, as tingling in the back isn’t something to fuck around with.

Try squating with dumbells instead of barbell squats. The problem may just be lower back fatigue and you may need to teach yourself how to properly squat in a more upright position. I find that dumbell squats are much easier to teach to someone learning this exercise for the first time. Also you may want to begin a serious stretching program, putting a lot of attention directed toward the lower back and the hamstrings. As tight muscles may be the reason you can not keep proper form while squatting.

Thanks for the ideas Zev, Mr T, Jay and Frank. I will look into the barbell squats as well as maybe not doing squats as the 1st order of bizness. As light as those weights are it has to be the form. Of course there is also the possibility that I’m not properly stretched out and warmed up which is causing me to be stiff,which then affects my form. I’ll try all the methods and see if any of it makes a difference.
Thanks again for the ideas. :))

I hate to give advice on this type of post, because the moral responability is to tell you to go see the Doc. So go see a Doctor. BUT, I think it may be weak upper back muscle. I had a similar (not exact) experience years ago, so you may want to add som Bent over Barbell rows and Pull ups. But again go get it checked out…