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Tight Lower Back After Squatting


Hello friends,
After completing a set of squats, (i'm talking about legit squats - ass to grass - not that parallel stuff) my lower back gets tight specifically my erector spinae. It feels like i just did a set of deadlifts. Any thoughts on why this is happening?
Thanks in advance,
- A-town


take vids side on. maybe you are losing your lumbar arch. or maybe you have excessive forward lean or... vids will help.


going just a bit below parallel is what the powerlifters do and those are legitimate. The lower you go the more stress you put on the lumbar region. Also I claim that there is more shearing force on the lower back the lower you go. ( speculating) also if you are not as flexible in your hips and can't maintain a tight arched back your simply asking for trouble.


It could be a number of things... maybe your squat form isn't as good as you think and you are GM'ing it out of the whole, or it could be a strength/mobility deficit.

Assuming your form is OK (we'll need a vid to know for sure), try this stuff out in your warm-up (just youtube them)...

  • Supine Straight-leg Raise (unilateral hip flexion mobility) OR Hip Airplane (hip IR/ER, stability in down-leg hip/foot)

  • Kneeling Rockback OR Goblet Squat w/ KB (bilateral hip flexion mobility & proper squat pattern)

  • Pulsed Hip Flexor Mobs OR Overhead Lunge Walk (improve length of hip flexors)

  • Seated 90/90 Mobs OR Split-Stance Hip Swivels (improve hip ER)

  • Kneeling Glute Mobs (hip adduction mobility) OR Lying Knee-to-Knee Pullin (hip IR)

  • Supine Bridge OR One-leg Supine Bridge (activate glutes, improve hip extension, learn difference between hip motion and lumbar motion)

  • Side-lying clam (produce/resist hip ER) OR Wall March ISO-hold (hip extension, activate glutes unilaterally, and teach opposing hip function - one hip flexes, one hip extends)

and for good measure...

  • Wall Ankle Mobs (ankle mobs into dorsiflexion) OR Rocking Ankle Mobs (improve length of gastroc/soleus)

***Credit to Cressey's Asses & Correct manual for learnin' me these things.

and don't forget to foam roll ITB, rectus femoris/vastus lateralis, adductors. And Lax ball on your glute med, TFL, piriformis.


thanks for all the feedback fellas. ill post a side-view vid shortly.


How long have you been squatting? How much do you squat and how much do you weigh?

Lower back tightness or soreness will happen when you squat. However excessive leaning forward or buttwink will put more stress on it and is dangerous. Giving us a video of you squatting a set of 5 with 80-90% would be nice as well.


Or he is just weak?


it could be im just weak. im about 165. last squat workout i did was yesterday, i did 5x5 at 145 lbs. 6'1 so im chicken-leg mode right now. vid coming soon.


Read my post. It says "could be a strength/mobility deficit". Even so, I know when I was squatting 405+ lbs last summer with a standard Olympic squat, my lumbar erectors would still absolutely kill mainly because I would skimp on mobility stuff that I listed above.


I've squatted to max every single day since the middle of February with no issues at all up to this point. The only mobility work I do is sit in a rock bottom squat for a couple minutes before training.


Everyone's different. Don't think I actually need to type that out, lol.


I reckon. I was just saying that that warm-up seems a bit overkill to me. But I also tend to lean towards the idea that the only thing really necessary for becoming mobile enough to squat properly is to simply start off by doing unloaded squats. Go as deep as you can, and when you can get to the bottom then sit in the bottom and get comfortable. To warm up for squatting, squat. To maintain the ability to squat, squat. There's more than one way to skin a cat though, so I'm sure those mobility drills you suggest all have their place.


I've never found I needed an extensive warmup to be able to squat deep. However, for me, if I don't do some sort of dynamic warmup (albeit brief) and some post-workout static stretching, I find my lower back progressively tightens up until after a couple weeks I can barely walk around. But a bunch of family on my dad's side have back issues, so maybe that has something to do with it.


Well, it's only 8 mobility drills... lol. Doesn't Joe DeFranco have something called the Elite 8 or something as his warm-up? It takes less than 10 minutes, regardless.

As for warming up with squats and stuff... I get it, and some people are lucky in that they don't get injured or anything. As for me, I've been to the PT/chiro way too many times for way too many injuries, and they often find I have some kind of mobility/strength deficit that could have been fixed by a proper warm-up. The older I get the more important this mobility stuff becomes.


I laughed extremely hard on this.