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A Tweak In My Back With Squats


hey all,
I have ignored my squat for a while now and worked on my deads. Now that I am approaching 400 lbs dead I figure I need to get my squat back up. It is very sad right now, but I am having an issue.

At to low point of the squat and I start up I feel a tweak in my lower back. It almost feels like there is a small amount of rotation but there is not.
Also my legs seem to separate a little (knees rotate out) and I feel something in my hip socket on the same side as my back tweak.

When I put my pants on on the morning I feel it in my socket and my back once in a blue moon and the pain almost feels like they are connected....ie. one is actually the problem but I feel the pain in 2 spots, like a radiating pain almost.

Anyway, it isn't around afterwards, and it isn't horrible, but looking for a similar story or something like "I have that when I forget my belt" kinda thing (and I don't use a belt btw....) or "it is a natural imbalance from your deads, it will go away, mine did". Not that I want to put words in your mouth ;0



Man, the back is awfully important, and pretty damn easy to injure. Go see a doctor, do an MRI.


I really don't think it requires an MRI, I haven't damaged anything (yet). It is more of a "i'm doing it wrong" problem."

It is not a constant chronic pain, or even that big of a pain at the time, but there is obviously something going on...


It's impossible to tell without a video, but my guess is that your lower back is rounding at the bottom of your squat. This rounding usually leads to herniated discs and a lot of other bad things.


I am not an expert in this manor, but the lower back pain could be a result of poor hip mobility/flexibility. I only mention this because you said your hips hurts too.

The whole rounding the lower back thing could also be the culprit.


this intrigues me, I am by far the most inflexible person I know. In fact to get to "ass to the grass" i need weight on the bar. And oddly enough i have noticed my last set hurts less (or not at all).

What would you suggest? more stretching than I already do maybe?

I'm quite sure i don't round, but anything is possible. I have video'd myself and it looked ok.


Is your pelvis rotating backward (posteriorly) AT ALL in the low-portion of the squat? Check and see on your video if your butt is tucking under when you're in the hole on your squat. This would be a less-severe verion of the back-rounding sydrome that rmexico mentions above. If so I'd definitely shorten your ROM until you have the flexibility to squat fully.

Do some dynamic warmups to lengthen the hip flexors, hammies and glutes before you start, and stretch like a banshee afterwards. If you're as inflexible as you say your squat form is almost certainly compromised, whethr r you can see it in the video or not.

Good luck


Many people's lower backs simply cannot tolerate "power lifting" style back squats (i.e. forward lean, low bar etc), regardless of how good their form is (McGill has written about this). Try front squats for a while and see if you still get the pain.

There was a recent T-Nation article that explained the difference between an Olympic style back squat and a powerlifting style back squat. Maybe check it out and switch to the Olympic style back squat if you don't like front squats.


Actually I can do front squats without the pain. I will try the things ppl pointed out and with luck I will be able to continue back squatting.

I'll have a look for that article also.


I 'tweaked' my lower back years ago doing heavy back squats (550+), and it stupidly affacted everything else I wanted to do in the gym (deads, push presses etc). Now, I only do front squats, and don't even care weight wise. I'll typically only do 225, ass to my ankles, and then follow up with either walking lunges or extensions. As far as how it's affected my DLs? It hasn't in the least, so while I'm not throwing up huge #s anymore, my legs and lower back are still as strong and solid as they once were. Just some thoughts.



Do your knees buckle out on the way down, way up, or throughout? What width stance are you using? When deadlifting, do you finish the top of the movement with more of an extension in the back or do you pull your hips through with the glutes?

It could be several things but since you said you're inflexible and the pain subsides a little as you're hips warm-up it may me a hip mobility issue and slight glute dysfunction.

Answer the above questions and I'll be able to help you out a bit more.


my knees will spread a little at the bottom, from the point i reach parallel and beyond.

slightly wider than shoulder.

Push with the glutes, squeeze my butt cheeks,kinda like I am trying to push my crotch into the bar i guess...

Thanks for the questions.


It sounds like your hip abductors (glutes)are tight. Get yourself a lacrosse ball and foam roller and roll out before all lower body sessions focusing especially on the glutes. Follow that up with some dynamic flexibility/mobility drills for the hips and ankles. If you need ideas on the mobility stuff, pick up 'Magnificent Mobility' by Cressey and Robertson in the T-Nation store.

With your squat stance, try to move it out slightly and try to keep your knees tracking over the midline of the foot. Do this until you take care of the mobility issues then begin to move the width back closer.

Obviously, there may be more going on than what I just described, but I've seen issues like yours clear up with the inclusion of the soft tissue work and mobility.

Try out the above and if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. You can PM me as well.