Low Back Pain With Squats

For the past month or so, with the help of some of the great articles here, i have been doing squats where i drop down a little below parallel. I use to always do half ass squats and never saw much progress. I’m a tall guy so it was hard for me to get low. After going down lower i have noticed my muscles seem to be working a lot harder. I have added about an inch and a half around my thighs in the last month or two.

My question is, for the past week when i get down low and go back up there is some pain in what seems to be my lower back on the right side. It feels like it is below my waist line and maybe an erector spinae muscle or near the pelvis. From what i can tell i have good form and my back stays straight. I do some dynamic stretching before i work out and static afterwards. Any tips on what i can do so there isn’t some pain in that area? I don’t want to stop doing these because i feel like i’ve made progress doing them.

Also, there was some lady watching me done them today and stopped to tell me that i shouldn’t go below parallel because i will blow out my knees. This is what she heard from other people or trainers. I told her i do it because i feel like there is more muscle recruitment and muscle fiber recruitment, plus it doesn’t hurt my knees.

After i finished i watched her do some squats and she only went down about a quarter of the way. I didn’t feel like arguing with her and just dismissed what she said. It’s funny how some people at the gym try to correct you and they can’t even do it right.

Videotape yourself to make sure your spine isn’t rounding near the bottom position of the squat. Keep that stomach tight, squat between your legs, keep that spine as neutral as possible with a slight arch in the back for safety(not big).

If this helps but still doesn’t cure the problem, Id focus on strengthening your posterior chain(glutes, hams, low back) along with switching to front squats a bit to get everything back in sync.

What I find helps is using a foam roller for all the muscles of my leg for the days that I squat to help loosen up that tissue before doing some dynamic stretching. This may help you tremendously along with a little bit of static stretching of the hip flexors after your warmup.

Give it a shot and see what happens. And btw, anyone who does quarter squatting is doing a half ass job. A proper squat is below parallel, not above unless your working on a specific weakness.

Hope this helps.


Well done on doing deep squats. Everyone has heard that squatting below parallel is bad, but no one can ever explain it, it seems.

As to your pain… honestly man, sometimes these things just happen, and you have to figure your own way out of them. When I first began, I developed a pain in my low back that would grow with each set of deadlifts or squats. It was centered in the middle. I dealt with it by beginning my workouts with a dynamic warm-up, specifically to open up the hips (cat-camel pose, spiders, stuff like that). Then I just watch the tension in my lower back. It helps, but it’s not perfect.

Often it’s little, unrelated things that cause the pain. Try squatting barefoot, or in different shoes. Widen your grip on the bar, bring the bar lower (or higher) on your shoulders, develope abdominal strength. All these things could be what’s causing your pain. It’s otherwise impossible to diagnose over the internet.

Worst comes to worst, switch to deadlifts.

I would say you are droping your chest and puting to much stress on your back. Best way to stop this from happening is pick a spot on a high wall or ceiling and don’t take your eye’s of it while you are squating thus it will keep your head up and chest up. oh and real men squat deep their is no excuse for high squats.