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Squat Stance and Back Pressure


Hey, just wondering about squat stance. Today was a squat day for me and I've been taking it light since returning from my back injury. I tried regular stance (a little wider than shoulder width) and I found that it feels better on my lower back that wide stance does. Anybody else experience this? One of my goals in life is to squat over a grand and I know how hard it is to do so with a narrow(er) stance.



Wide stance tends to involve more lower back. As far as I recall, most of the grand squats were wide. Good luck with your goals.


Thanks, Red. Well if Captain Kirk and Ed Coan could do it, then why can't I? Then again, they're gods in PL, but I'm only 16 so I have a long future ahead of me.



Why not mess with Hip Belt Squats and/or Lumberjack Squats for a bit longer until you feel healthier and give your lower back some more time to heal? Just a thought. Good luck and speedy recovery.


I don't have access to Hip Belt Squat equipment, but Lumberjack Squats are always an option. What about hack squats and leg press?



I wouldn't do leg press with an injured back (pressure on the back and the rounded back position). Front squats are a good option.


Okay. Would front squats have any carry over to my back squat?



Probably more so than hack squats or leg press. What can you do for your posterior chain that won't aggravate your back? Hammering your PC should carry over to your squat if you can do it.


I'm not really sure. I went for a solid month and a half without any back pain what so ever, training included. The pain only started coming back last Wednesday after I had a squat day. I didn't go heavy by any means, only up to 185x5 (my squat has sucked since coming back in December). I squat again on Monday, and that's how I came to the conclusion that a narrow stance felt better than a wide stance.

Deadlifts don't hurt at all, but I talked to my parents about my recent back pain and they told me to stop doing anything involving my lower back (which is just about everything). I actually set a new DL PR a few weeks ago. I've been doing reverse hypers twice a week, squat and DL days. I haven't done good mornings for a long time, same with regular 45 degree back extensions. I'm on 5/3/1, so I don't have a lot of variety. I'm thinking about just switching back to WS4SB so I can have some more variety in my PC work.



Sounds like your pushing it too fast. I never saw a doctor about it, but I had posterior left hip injury that radiated pain up through my back and all the way down through my knees and sometimes feet december 09. My squat and dead didn't catch up to their previous levels until a good 6 or so months later. I started avoiding the big lifts like squats and deadlifts. I couldn't even bench heavy the first couple of weeks afterwards so I did floor presses instead.

In your position, I wouldn't be thinking about getting hyooge or stronger. Just getting healthy which is a goal in and of itself. After a couple of weeks I started front squatting and doing split stance squats. I started doing lunges when my hip and back started feeling better. I also did a lot of light reverse hypers and back extensions to get blood flowing to that region. Anything to take pressure off my back and hips and still elicit a training effect.

I'm thinking front squats and unilateral leg work in combo with reverse hypers and possibly (very tentative suggestion on these) back raises might help you.

Just remember that you're not getting stronger if you're getting hurt. I'm not saying you going to have to avoid big lifts forever but my suggestion is that you should for a while (think in weeks or maybe even months).

I strongly recommend high dosages of fish oil. Glucosamine is great too.


Yeah, that's what I've been thinking. That's what my parents said too. I think my DL can take a back seat for a while, but my squat is going to take another hit, but I'm okay with that if it allows me to go back to squat and DL in a month or so, maybe longer.

As for fish oil, I take in 3,000 mg a day.

So here's what I'm thinking:
No squatting or DLing for 2-3 weeks just unilateral work along with reverse hypers.
After that, start to incorporate squats and DLs.
It's also important that I keep working on hamstrings and abs.



The one question that hasn't been is what type of pain are you feeling and what kind of back injury did you suffer?

I think those two issues should be address before any advice is taken. I had a back injury about a year and a half ago, I saw my doctor(s) about it and got it looked into, not pull and squat more than I ever had before it.


Get some glucosamine and msm. If you finances are low just get the glucosamine (fish oil is the most important in my opinion). For hamstrings you might want to try swiss ball leg curls, band leg curls, and/or machine leg curls since things like sldl's and gm's might aggravate your back.

I wouldn't put a set schedule on it. Just play it by ear. Whenever you do feel %100 I would still wait a couple or so weeks before easing into the big lifts. When you do get to the big lifts, don't push it meaning stay far away from technical failure and if you feel so much as a twinge terminate the set. Front squats don't put anywhere near the same amount of stress on the low-back as back squats. I pretty much figured out what I did through trial and error. Hell, I couldn't even do split squats with the bar on my back at first. I had to use a clean grip.

And yeah, like you said get those abs very strong. That will help protect your back. I don't know for sure but I would avoid movements like crunches (they aggravate my back whenever it feels tight or hurts). Even now from time to time that hip will nag me.

And of course, stretch and foam roll your legs and hips religiously.


I fractured my L4-L5 in October of last year. I was in a brace and physical therapy for 2 months and 5 weeks, respectively. I was cleared to return to lifting by my doctor the second week of December of last year. The type of pain that I have right now is dull and achey.



Ok, then from the advice so far, stick with it. Not gonna lie, L4-L5 injuries... the pain probably won't ever totally go away. Mine are fused together due to injury and arthritis. So I just take it and back off when it becomes too much. Listen to your back. It'll tell you when to stop.


Okay, well it's nice to know someone has had the same problem as I have. If you don't mind I have a few questions: When did you injure yours? Was it a stress fracture like mine? What's your best squat?



My back has been a chronic issue for years. The big injury came while squatting, I pinched a nerve in my lower back. Any type of spinal loading after that flared it up. Went through x-rays, MRIs, and a number of doctor visits to figure out what was wrong. Above is what came out of it, got told to not lift heavy blah blah blah.

that was maybe 10 months ago. On doctor's and trainers advice, I took two months off from any kind of heavy back work and stuck mainly to accessory work. Once it got feeling better I slowly got back into it. Before the injury, best squat was about 445 with belt and cheap ass knee wraps. Smoked 475 not too long ago in the same sort of set up.

To mention, I have taken some bad hits while playing hockey, bad falls off of things, and just generally done enough to make my back a nightmare. Been told of a few occasions to not doing heavy lifting, but took it slowly. Everytime I miss a lift, I just back off and say meh, not today.


This is going to depend on several different factors, your individual lever lengths (short torso/long legs, long torso/short legs, etc.), the federation and gear you plan to compete in (ipf, wpo, etc.), and also what feels most comfortable to you individually. In IPF singly ply gear, it is going to be on average more advantageous to use a narrower (shoulder width or slightly wider) stance, and you will need more depth as well. In a canvas suit it is by far more advantageous to use a much wider stance, sit back into the suit, as the canvas suit "catches" the lifter at the bottom where the polyester/ipf style suit provides "rebound" out of the hole.

As far as training goes, alot of the wide stance canvas suit style lifters train in squat briefs or power pants, and use a slightly more narrow stance than they compete with, the briefs will save the hips during training but not provide the nearly the same degree of assistance as the suit does, and allow training with more modest weights. Squatting with the straps down is also a viable option. I am assuming you are planning on using gear due to your goals, so the width of your stance when training will need to accomodate your competition needs.

Definitely take it slow if you have an existing lower back injury, I didnt see exactly what that injury was and you could definitely have some technical issues or be doing excessive lower back work and not enough glute work at the moment. Reverse hypers are a great exercise, but lifters can easily be making them into a lower back dominant movment instead of leading with the glutes and hamstrings. The strap attachment will generally give a little more glute/ham involvement while the roller attachment will tend to involve the lower back a little more. good luck with your training and hope your injury heals quickly.


Could you benefit from working on your hip mobility? In other words does wide stance squatting cause you to round your lowerback in the hole (even slightly)? To kind of figure this out you could do some box squatting starting relatively high and then work your way down to see if the depth is making you tuck your tailbone ever so slightly and then work at the depth you can get to without any issue until you can start making in-roads on your mobility to let you get a little deeper. Just a thought.


First thing I would do is drop my training max a little. You can always work back up. As far as technique goes, my foot placement is just outside of shoulder width. I started having some back pain about 6 months ago, so I had a friend record my squat workout. I didn't realize that my lumbar spine was rounding. I then found an article by Mark Rippetoe where he tells you to shove your knees out through the movement so they track over your toes. I lowered the weights a little and started shoving my knees out. As soon as I started doing that my back didn't round anymore. I don't know If you thought about doing this, but it probably saved my back. I also got a lot stronger after doing so.