T Nation

Newbie Squat Progression


I started incorporating squats into my workout a little over a month ago. I progressed quickly, then dropped the weight down to work on form and make sure I was going down far enough, then again progressed quickly with better form (i think, I work out solo, so tough to critic my own form.)

Each week (5 day week based on my training schedule), I've been able to add 10 lbs to my squat. I'm still not doing a tonne of weight (3 sets, 185, 195, 205) but I feel that my legs are progressing faster than my lower back. I'm starting to worry that if I continue to progress as I am I'll end up hurting my lower back.

Is there anything I can do help my lower back to catch up? or should I just take the squat progression slower from here on so I don't push my back to hard?

Any tips/suggestions appreciated.



Well squatting will in itself help build the lower back, BUT if its the weak link attack it. Are you DLing on a regular basis in varied forms. Through in some GM's, maybe some pull throughs etc for assistance.

Find the weakness and attack it make it a strong point then attack the new weakness. Its a never ending cycle but thats half the fun


If you are still working on form, I recommend using a box to judge depth. It doesn't have to be a true box squat wehre you sit on the box and release the hips. Just touch it lightly to make sure you get depth. Looking in a mirror for depth is going to mess with your form because your body is going to want to follow your eyes. This might lead to leaning a little in one direction or bending too far forward.

If I had a reverse hyper I would primarily use that for lower back work, but I don't. Outside of deadlifts, I feel that SLDL/RDLS, Pull-Throughs and GMing help my lower back the best. Weighted 45 degree back extensions are another option.

Sometime I do makeshift reverse hypers. I put one of those big ball things on a bench. Then I lay face down on the ball and grab the bench with my hands to balance and hold myself in place. Then I lift my legs as high as I can. I usually do this unweighted for high reps.


I think it may actually be that I'm attacking it too much.

I have 4 days in my workout schedule, and each day I start with either a set of squats or a set of deadlifts. So maybe my back isn't getting the recovery time it needs. I'm still trying to find the balance between training too hard and not training enough, especially with DLs and Squats.

At this time my deadlifts are pretty low weight (140lbs), I started them even more recently.


It sounds like you're doing squats too often. You may want to lower the frequency there a bit, and throw in some good mornings to help bring up your back. Another possibility would be to go up 5lbs per instead of 10, that would give your lagging bodyparts more time to catch up.

For hypertrophy it's not necessary to race up the weights as fast as possible when you're new, as long as it goes up each time you're stimulating the muscles.


As others have said, squatting itself will make your back stronger. As long as you can keep your lower back arched at the bottom of the squat (make absolutely sure you can), you don't need to worry about injuring yourself.

Your deadlift is really weak relative to your squat, but it'll catch up fast if you keep at it. Since you're already deadlifting and squatting, you don't need to do any extra heavy lower back work like GMs. Make sure you're doing heavy ab work, though.