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Squating and Lower Back Pain


hello everybody,

i got this pain in my lower back that come and go. when it does come back it prevents me from doing squats and even simple things like picking up little things. basically it comes back when i sit for a long time or going for long runs. unfortunately the pain is back right now and i had to skip squating today. it gets fustrating and was hoping someone can give me some advice. im hoping there is some magical trick to relieve the pain. im currently doing planks, stretches, and foam rolling.



ur like me and a lot of other americans. we all sit 2 much which creates muscle imbalances/tightness.
Tight muscles: hamstrings, hip flexors, prolly low back, prolly the smaller muscles in the glutes (i think piriformis?) and it band
Weak muscles: abs
So what u, me, and every1 else should do more of is stretching ur tight muscles with emphasis on hamstrings/hip flexors and some core strength especially in ur abs won't hurt.


my thoughts exactly...
if i were you i'd put some time into some pilates-based exercises that focus on the abs. strong core is important in every other exercise that you do, so make sure that you get some stabilizing exercises that work this region. some good exercises include
- v-sits
- planks
holding each exercise try to aim for about 2 min/set. if you find you are weak in this, then start 30 sec and work your way up to 2 mins


also, what exactly are you doing for stretching? My back pain is/was attributed to very tight hip flexors and TFLs.


just basic variety of stretches. how do you stretch the hip flexors and TFLs?

I do feel like i have tightness and imbalances in my muscles. maybe im not stretching effectively?


Hip Flexors: Either a lunge variation with knee on ground and push hips forward and twist for even more effect. Also, lay back on the edge of a bench or table, grab one knee and pull towards your chest. Let the other leg/hip drop. You can also have someone else push down on the lowered leg. This really does help. Hold for 30sec, readjust, repeat.

TFL: I lump the IT band in here too. Big thing is foam roll. But also, sit like you are just relaxing in a chair with your one leg/ankle propped up on the other. Press down on the side of your knee towards the ground. You can also do this lying on your back. Hope that is a decent description. let me know...


Mobility and foam rolling.

I've only just started taking this seriously, after paying lip service to it for ages. If an area is tight (my hip flexors/psoas/IT band/lats are big culprits here), I foam roll it before every session. Only 10-15 passes over the tight area, but enough to work it.

Since i;ve added it as part of my warm up, my squat has gone from 140kg to 205kg, and my lower back pain is all but gone.

Another tip is bar position and stance, since i moved from high to low bar position which changed my centre of gravity and widened my stance about 2" either way, its been easier to sit back and alieviate the pressure on the back.


It may be from tight muscles, but you might want to give this a try. It only takes a minute. Try it before training lower body or running (after you warm-up). If you can already touch your toes, it might not help, but it teaches proper muscle recruitment and helped take the strain off my back when doing these activities.



Also make sure you activate your glutes properly.


Maybe he just has shitty form...


Interesting article...I'll be giving that a try.


i find the low or high bar squat interesting. i do high bar squats but will try low bar. it makes sense how the bar position could change how someone squat. ill definately keep this in mind next session.

i do have shitty form at times i have to admit. sometimes i find it difficult to activate the right muscle and end up feeling it in my lower back. but nonetheless i do put in work to keep my form from tweaking too much. more or less i think my concentration on how deep i go could have something to do with it. I always learn something new about form.

great article by the way ryan71.


ICE directly after squating and take an anti inflamatory. inflamation equals pain. And all the rest that was said, ab work, stretching ect...


That's similar to a problem I have had over the last year or so. One bout of the pain last year took me out of serious squat and deadlift training for about 6 weeks. The most recent time, I had to back off for about two months. Both times, it was set off my heavy squatting- the first time I was box squatting with heavy band tension and kinked my back coming off the box- the second time, I stumbled gettign a max weight back into the rack.

The first time, I tried ice, contrast showers, OTC and RX anti-imflammatories, massage and chiro. This did almost nothing. However, after weeks of painful half-assed training sessions, I started daily rolling (IT, back, glutes, hamstrings) and stretching and that got me moving again. I was back to normal in a week or so.

This past time, the the rolling and stretchign didn't do it at first. I needed to totally quit squatting and pulling for a few weeks. Then, I started rolling and stretching. Then I started back very light with high-rep squats. I have been back to lifting for a couple weeks and I feel like I am almost 100%.

I think you're doing the right things, but consider the value of shutting down your squat training for a few weeks.


I'm gonna go with what pretty much everyone else has said. I'm actually in physical therapy for my low back pain, and the woman basically said "your quads are extremely flexible, as are your calves, and your hamstrings and glutes are EXTREMELY tight, and your core isn't strong enough"

Essentially how it was explained to me is that when you squat with tight abs they are at their max stretch halfway down (1/4 squat), and continuing to go deeper, since your hams wrong give anymore, it pulls your pelvis, which rounds your low back, and hurts it. Anyway, hot showers in the morning help too.


Start stretching the hip flexors and tfl muscles. Focus on single leg stuff for now(lunges, romanian deadlifts) with lots of stability core work(all types of bridges, woodchops, etc...). Along with that, make sure you are doing lots of dynamic flexibilty with focus on the glute activation exercises.

After training, make sure you pay more attention to your posture. Its time to start getting up more from the seat and walking around to keep yourself fixed. Remember the 23-1 rule(lifestyle=training) always. It really makes a difference to continue with good habits that you are making from training into your lifestyle.

Believe me, I had to drop Squats for a couple months to work around old injuries. The thing is, once you strengthen everything back to where it should be, you will come back much stronger. Just don't rush this like an ADD person would. Give it a good 3 months and more than likely, you should be pain free.


I also think you may need to look into strengthening your core, but also look into correcting your form. I'd say just take a month off of squats, then get back into them slowly with low, low weight and work on form and control. Eventually you'll work your way back up.


after reading an article here about olympic squats vs power squats i have fixed my form to high bar squats. i mentioned earlier that i have been doing what i thought was high bar squats but actually was low bar squats. now i put the bar high on my traps and squating now is easier on my lower back.


I definitely had some of the same problems.

What I think is going on is that you probably have poor hip mobility which isn't allowing you to squat with full range of motion. If this is the case, you would consequently compensate for this lack of mobility by rounding your lumbar spine when you squat, which would cause a lot of compressive load on your lumbar discs, and probably result in the pain that you're feeling.

Instead of trying to fix the symptom (pain), you should probably address your hip mobility issue. I've also found that issues that often accompany poor hip mobility are poor core stability and poor glute activation. You might want to try adding some hip mobility training, single-leg work, glute activation, and try to stretch out your hip flexors.

I'd suggest doing an author seach for Mike Robertson and reading everything he's written. It will really help your understanding of what's going on with your body.


I think you are all wrong. A pain like that is more than just "tight muscles". It's some sort of bulging or herniated disk that is flirting with his sciatic nerve. Muscles don't get that tight to take someone out of commission and cause the pain he is having. Take it from someone that has been there.

At least go get an Xray done of your lower back. If it shows lower than normal spacing between your lower L1-L5 to S1 are get an MRI. Be proactive about it. Unlike me who waits until you stretched out in the back of an ambulance because you ruptured a disk. All of the signs were there. What you are referring to is definately one of them.