Back Arching When Squatting/DLing

Do you arch you back when squatting and deadlifting ? I was watching the West Side DVDs and on a lot of exercises they recommend arching your back. Someone told me that arching your back when doing the bench press is dangerous and if you are lifting for only general health purposes, it is best not to arch your back . I am not sure if the same advice applies to squat and deadlift


As a general rule of thumb when lifting or applying any load to your body, you want to keep your spine in a neutral position - as in slightly arched, no rounding. But you also want to avoid an exaggerated arch backwards, as this can cause problems also. Concentrate on contracting the core muscles. Whether you’re squatting, deadlifting, or benching, your torso should remain pretty much stationary, with most of the movement occurring in the lower body (except for the bench of course - then your lower body is pretty stationary too). Hope that helps.

If you tighten your lower back, it won’t be rounded. If in addition you tighten your abs and glutes, it won’t be overarched.

In most exercises (e.g. squat, deadlift, military press), a slightly arched & tight lower back is ESSENTIAL.

For benching, keep your ass on the bench but arch your back. People confuse arching your back with exaggerating the arching to the point of ridiculousness.

Back movement is something which is very confusing for a lot of people. Think the number one reason is because bending your back, rounding or arching, can be dangerous. You need to work up to it. If you notice a good pl deadlifting, sometimes you’ll rounding in the upper back. This could damage a novice and you must work up to it. So most people say “don’t bend the back at all” just to avoid conflict.

That being said, one should have the natural arch in the back that the lumbar gives. Always start with low weights and go very slow. You just can’t fix back injuries. Practice form without weight, and then with just a broomstick, and then a bar. You need to develop the muscle memory for each exercise and then when you start lifting more, it will be perfect.

You’ll want to remember to keep your chest out, shoulders back and your spine in a neutral position.