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Fixing Low Back Rounding on Squats?


I did a quick search for this but could not come up with anything. I've been doing some heavy squatting for the past month or so (Starting Strength last month, started BBB this week), but recently I've noticed that my lower back tends to round towards the bottom of the movement (going in and out of the hole). This is an issue even with no weight on my back.

If this doesn't make sense, here's a video I found on YouTube that pretty well shows what my squat looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLUeVQ9tiB4

How do I fix this? I've also noticed that the heavier I go, the more sore/tired my lower back gets after squatting. It's the same fatigued feeling I get after deadlifting, except not to that magnitude.

A few notes about my form:
-high bar
-wide stance, feet slightly pointing outward
-knees flare out as I squat (I can rest my elbows between my knees)
-I go parallel, like in the video
-my back never dips forward as if I were doing a good morning

Any help/tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Yoga will help or eradicate this because it helps with hip flexibility. 'Most gyms' offer it with the cost of your membership. Give it a try.


i know what youre talking about and id suggest working on stretching your hip flexors, glutes, and calves. there actually was an article on here something about sheer force on the spine when you round the back in the hole. if youre not using real heavy weights it wont be too bad right now but over time and as you add more weights it can cause serious problems

as for your back being sore it could be that or it could also be weak spinal erectors. id say throw in some reverse hypers which will help give you more strength and stability on your squats. reg park was a big fan and did them suppossedly every workout but like 3x8-12 2x a week should help.

the reverse hypers might help you in keeping a tight arch too instead of rounding but give both a shot and if that doesnt work i can only suggest trying other styles of squatting - oly style or PL style


I personally had a similar problem as well, and doing exactly what they said above really helped.

In addition to the reverse hypers, try adding the snatch grip deadlift in as well. It helped strengthen my back for deadlifts and squats.


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First step I'd suggest is to see whether or not simple technique correction may help you.

To this end, at the top of the squat picture your lumbar spine in its normal lordotic curve, if anything push your bum back to exaggerate it a little more. Now what you have to do is make sure that feeling/image in your lumbar spine is maintained throughout the squat. At the bottom simple keys/triggers that may help from a technique point are squeezing your but, and driving from the legs first (not the back).

If technique correction doesn't work, then its time to start looking at musculoskeletal causation. BBB has touched on the big areas of the hip, and yes, with your knees flaring it does sound like a hip related issue.

Check out your single leg balance (eyes open and closed). Are there asymmetries there? If so, I would bet that you are also slightly favoring your GOOD side on the descent in the squat to compensate for poor balance on the bad side. If balance is an issue, incorporate balance work (lots of it that works, duradiscs, wobble boards, single leg squats, lunges, split squats etc etc etc).

Check out hip flexibility. If there are issues, address as identified. Any problems down the IT band and up around glut med, stretching + foam roller work does wonders.

Side bridge endurance (side plank). Do this on both sides. Normal range is between 40-80 seconds. If you get to 2 minutes, stop, you're doing fine. If there are issues, (asymmetry or below normal range), then you should look to work on, and yes, I'm going to say it, "core strengthening".

If you find specific issues around the hip I second BBB. Cable based work for either side lying hip abduction, or standing adduction, are very effective training tools.

And lastly, I strongly encourage DB step ups (at least 40cm box) as a strengthening/balance exercise. Great for the gluteals, as well as a nice complement exercise for the quads/hams/calves.

As a matter of fact, I strongly encourage all of you buggers to be incorporating weighted DB step ups into your routines. Great fucking exercise that can help you stay on top of things in regards of balance, hip function, muscle timing patterns, movement patterns, etc etc etc.


This used to happen to me - try squtting with your elbows forward. This made a huge difference for me, it's easier to keep a tight, upright position


Wow. As I read your post, I kept saying to myself 'yup that's me, and that, that too...' Great information - appreciate you taking the time to put that out there.


Thanks for the all the feedback. After doing some searching on YouTube, I've come across these two stretches:

For the gluteus medius: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Iy-QrcuGno
For the IT band/TFL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9aJtO0VCqw

Since today's my off day, I'll spend some time doing these sets of stretches. I think I might also give yoga (regular or Bikram yoga) a try. Heard the scenery usually ain't too bad!


Well I'm glad to see that my video has helped some people! Yes, that is actually me from my first semester of freshman year. I don't have any other high bar videos to compare my form to now but here's a front squat from not too long ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Amik9T9yTAk

Above all else it was hip mobility that helped me, primarily hurdle drills like these: http://synergy-athletics.com/?p=1300

I would run through each drill a couple times before lower body sessions, I also did a lot of walking spidermans and squat to stand drills. Once I was aware the problem was occurring (that was the first time I'd ever taped myself squatting) I was able to focus on arching as hard as possible. Like alex said as well, I worked on my shoulder flexiblity too until now my hands almost touch my shoulders while squatting (high bar anyways, low bar is another problem). This can help reinforce thoracic (upper back) extension which in turns encourages the lower lumbar spine to arch as well.


Off-topic, but is that you in your avatar? Unless I'm going blind, you look quite bigger in these videos.


It is, taken on a pretty bad day. I'll get some new ones up when I actually get a tan lol