T Nation

Deep Squats

I have tried deep squats, and I really like them. But I keep running into this problem in that I keep spraining muscles. Very specific muscles. The ones in the back that go over my right kidney. I have tried the squats on smith machines, hack machines, and even a piece of equipment in the gym that allows one to lay down prone and do you squats. It hits me with every variation. It is not a big sprain and usually goes away in about 3 or 4 days. My back is reasonably strong, so I don’t think it is a core muscle problem, but it is possible.

Any help would be appreciated

How was this diagnosed last time? Is it a hip flexibility thing? Seems like it could be.

I’m certainly no expert, but how do you sprain a muscle? I’m thinking there’s some other issue at work here, like possibly some spinal issue that a chiro might be able to address.

Does it bother you while squatting with a barbell? what type of excercises do you do for your core? have you given reverse hypers a go?

I sprain the muscle as I hit the bottom of the squat and am about to come up. It is always the same muscle. I haven’t gone to a physician about it since it is a pretty minor sprain, and doesn’t cause me much in the way of problems so it hasn’t been diagnosed. I never have the problem doing squats to parallel, and it doesn’t happen everytime I do deep squats. It does happen when I am doing the heavier it with heavier weights, but I never use a weight that is too heavy for me to be able to do 10 to 12 reps, and the weight are usually about only about 60% of what I can do when going to parallel.


It sounds like it might be a muscle STRAIN due bilateral tightness of the Quadratus Lumborum. These are very deep muscles which would explain the sensation of being right over the kidneys. These muscles are commonly known to laterally flex the vetebral column but they also contribute to extension of the lumbar spine. In other words, when you squat deep the pelvis posteriorly rotates or “tucks under”. This motion is coupled with flexion of the lumbar spine. As extensors, the QL oppose this action and, if under load, can become strained. To see if your QL are tight, stand with your back to a wall with your hands at your sides. Sidebend to the left and then the right. You should be able to reach at least to your knee if not beyond. Failure to achieve this would indicate that your QL are tight. Also note any difference between going to the left and going to the right. This should at least get you started in the right direction.

Steve, I tried your test. I was able to reach to the midpoint of my kneecap right and left. I didn’t notice any difference. But it does bring up the possibility that I need to do some lateral stretching before doing deep squats. I am 54 and I may need more limbering up before doing the execise. I do warm up before exercising and usually do about 12 reps with a lighter weight before doing the routine, but I don’t do any lateral stretching. Do you think that will help?



Good to hear about the test. Sounds like the flexibility is o.k. Two points that I should have mentioned before: keep the feet firmly on the floor and head against the wall. These are the two most common ways to cheat the test. You may want to try the test again with these ideas in mind.

The test can also be used as a stretch itself. If this proves insufficient, try this one…


I also highly recommend massage theapy. It has done wonders for me. Good luck.

Underdog, I started reverse hypers about 3 months ago. They are a fabulous exercise and it has put some new muscle on my butt and I think it has helped my hamstring strength too. Do you think that it may help my problem? I haven’t done deep squats in about a month and a half. Maybe the reverse hypers have given me some support strength I didn’t have before when I was doing squats. I will try again.

Steve, I redid the test. I was cheating apparently. Keeping my head to the wall I can only go down to the top of the kneecap. Is that a problem?

thanks to everyone.

you need to properly warm up and strtch just as others said. Make sure to keep your form as good as possible. Keep your back arched. You might need to lowe the weight but you will soon be back up to your current weight. laters pk