T Nation

Squats and Back Pain


I'm a high school senior whose football season has recently ended. I've been going to the local YMCA to work out on my own (I have no plans for playing in college, I'm just working out because I enjoy it). I'm happy where I am, and with the progress I'm making- I don't want to body build, I just want to get stronger. However, I'm a little worried about my squat form. During football offseason the past three years, the coach has had us do a 10-8-6-4-2 pyramid, increasing the weight each time. Doing this, my squat for 2 reps is at about 275.

My problem is that whenever I get up into the higher reps, I feel like I'm putting a lot of pressure on my spine and my lower back. My lower back always hurts, especially after a lower body day. Am I damaging my spine, or is it normal to feel that back pain and pressure during a squat? Also, this may be just a myth, but can squatting heavy weight for low reps like that stunt your growth? I would really appreciate anyone who can tell me whether or not I'm doing something wrong. Yes, I do go deep on the squat, and I have been squatting like this for three years under a coach's supervision so I am pretty sure my form is good.


Long ago, I squated under a football coaches supervision only to learn much later that he didn't know jack-shit about squatting. Your coach may be better, but he might not be. Post a vid of a single with about 90% of your 1rm max if you want to find out where your form is really at.

As far as the pain goes, there is a difference between pain and soreness. Soreness is normal, if there is true pain then there is something wrong. I can't tell you which is which, but there is a difference.


Pain is not good, and should not be worked through. Post a video as mentioned above. And no, squatting will not stunt your growth, but injuring your back will stunt your lifestyle.


Ya, my football coach teach a whole lot about squating form... He emphicized more and more weight. I got more weight piled on at the time, but my knees were caving in. My forms gotten better since, so like everyone else has said post a video


Its pretty hard to make your spinal erectors sore, they get tight and kindof a dull fatigued feeling but not sore.. Im guessing this form isn't great.


Be sure to stretch and foam roll your hams, glutes, hips, and hip flexors. But yeah, get a video up or join a PL gym or OLY gym. Even if you don't stick with it, the form lessons stick with you forever. You're coach is not necessarily the end all be all guy for form as well. (not enforcing good form, using really high boxes, not enforcing depth, etc).