T Nation

Rounding Back on Squats and Deadlift, Help


Hey yall,

So here's my issue.Whenever I lift, i have a very hard time keeping any sort of arch, or even a neutral spine in my back. Its pretty tough for me to get any sort of arch on the bench press. When i deadlift, im decent at getting a good setup, But when i start the lift my knees lockout to early, back rounds, and i end up using a lot of lower back to finish the lift. Same deal on squats, I lean forward to much as i Lift. Makes my butt rise up before the bar, turning into damn near a good morning.

Im on the Naval Academy Powerlifting team, and fixing this issue would really help my numbers. Multiple guys have told me thats what i need to fix, but i havent gotten any real advice on how to get better at keeping that straight back (Besides a recommendation to do a lot of dumbbell rows).

Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Oh yeah, some info on me. 5'10, 180lbs. 18 years old. Football and Wrestler in high school, been lifting for about 2.5 years now. Lost some serious strength over the summmer ("Plebe summer"). Current maxes
Bench: 250


try high bar squatting. if you are on the naval academy powerlifting team then you have a coach, yes? ask the coach.


It sounds like everything is weak and you aren’t able to recruit the necessary muscle groups to remain stable.

Learn to get better at different squat variations, including low bar, high bar and front squat. Use one variation for your main work each cycle and get better at it - learn to stay tight. After you finish, take what you learn and apply it to another variation. Keep doing that until your technique feels consistent across all variations. That’s the point where you get as much carryover as possible across variations and you’re able to recruit as many muscle groups as possible simultaneously: all back muscles, abs, all hip muscles, hamstrings and quads.

Learn to brace your abs. Do weighted lunges and wide stance work to bring up your hip strength. Do wide grip pull-ups or pull-downs, wide grip barbell rows, chin-ups or dumbbell rows, and upright rows or lateral raises to increase your back strength. Learn to keep your chest up, shoulder blades down, abs braced and entire back tight (not just erectors) when doing these. You have to learn how it feels to get all these muscles tight so that you’re able to do this while squatting. Work your back with a lot of volume. Get a pump in your back muscles from the pulling work and remember how that feels for when you squat.

Based on what you describe, it will likely take close to a year for a drastic improvement in technique if you focus on the above, which is still a lot better than many years. There is no quick and dirty solution. Stop worrying about “arching” and focus on bracing your abs and getting your back and hip muscles tight throughout the lift.

Remember that a good setup isn’t based on how you look when getting into position for a lift, it’s based on how tight you can get your entire body.


To add to the helpful advice from lift, above…

I have had the same problem with my squats in the past. However my hips are wide, legs long, so my proportions are somewhat not ideal for powerlifting. I had to figure out what works for my body. What helped me was squatting with a wider stance, with a low bar, and mentally focusing on tightening my back, keeping my chest up, and not allowing it to fall when I start the Ascension. Everything goes up at the same time. Same time!!! This cognitive retraining alone may help you as soon as your next squat day.

For deadlift, when I max out, my back does still round a bit, but I have been told it is not drastic. I know ideally I should be maxing out without rounding. I have been told my hamstrings are not as strong as they should be and that this may be my weakest link…

You might try some yoga classes or consult a yoga instructor for a private session to learn some back bends to help out your arch for Bench, maybe work them into your stretching routine after lifting. :slight_smile:


[quote]Cherrybomb wrote:
You might try some yoga classes or consult a yoga instructor for a private session[/quote]

Sadly, most yoga instructors are wise to this angle :frowning:


[quote]tsantos wrote:

[quote]Cherrybomb wrote:
You might try some yoga classes or consult a yoga instructor for a private session[/quote]

Sadly, most yoga instructors are wise to this angle :([/quote]
Heh heh heh… Sounds like experience talking.