T Nation

WTF is Wrong With My Back?


i noticed this one day after looking into a mirror off to my side while doing cable rows (and then a friend asking me "haha, why does your back stick out like that?") when i bend over, my lower back sticks out, kind of like you'd expect my legs to continue out from it like i was lying down, but then it abruptly stops at my ass.

this is what my back looks like normally, standing up straight. i always have an arch.

then there's this. it's hard to get a picture but i think you can see what i mean. what the fuck? it kind of pushes my stomach out, too, which looks odd seeing as normally i don't have a stomach. i'm 5'9" about 160lbs.

my lower back does get sore often, and occasionally even hurts, but i thought that was normal with certain exercises. i squat atg but i work hard to keep an arch and i front squat anyway, it's never really given my back serious issues. does anyone have any insight???



I suggest reading the recent articles, provided you're not a troll..




why would you think i'm a troll? i'm not big, but that's why i put this in beginners. my photos got fucked up because i don't know how these boards work, i just registered to post this. i read the articles and forums fairly often but i've never had a reason to post.




there, sorry that was kind of messy and the photos look pretty gay but that's unavoidable.


Because of your recent join date, lack of posts and account name. Also if you read at all on T-Nation you would know to first perform a search yourself, then ask questions; we're not around to do the research for you. I did however leave you a link to an article from a few days ago that coincedently happens to be exactly what you're complaining about. Odd coincedence.


Mine does the same exact thing. How old are you? How long have you been training? I am almost 22 years old and I have been training for 6 years. Now, I can hardly deadlift.

If I do, I suffer the consequences. Squatting is only doable if done in wider-than-shoulder-width stance, and standing and sitting can, at times, be excruciating. It never effected me until I was in my early months of being 21. But, regardless, my back as always had that awkward hump in it.


I suggest following Bradden's advice ASAP before it becomes a bigger issue. I brushed it off as deadlift soreness. But in the end, I really suffered and so did everything else I was physiologically a part of in my life.

Don't waste your money going to a chiropractor or 'sports specialist' the information I got from them was remedial in comparison to what you can find in a few hours of reading using the T-Nation search engine.


The above link is an article on T-Nation by Eric Cressey. This advice saved me from SERIOUS fucking injury. If you don't want to be in a walker in 20 years, it might behoove you to read it. Just trying to help.

Best to you



It's hard to tell from the pics but it looks like the hump could be due to a lack of flexibility in the hips. When you bend over your body will flex at the point of least resistance. If your hips are too tight, your spine compensates by bending at your lower back, producing a hump.

Are your hips tight (ie can you bend soley at the hips)? When you bend over does the hump become visable once your hips stop flexing? If so try searching the site for some good hip flexibility. There's tonnes of articles (Cressy, Robertson)


i'm 20 and began lifting senior year of high school, and have been going regularly since 2nd semester freshman year of college (1 and a half years ago). standing and sitting are rarely uncomfortable but if they ever are, it's in the lower back. i don't deadlift but i rack pull and i would say that gives more back soreness than anything else, but i've always considered it more a blood-filled tightness than pain and haven't considered it a problem. i squat with a very close stance.

bradden, thanks for the link and i will check out the article. i actually remember see that one but i only skimmed and didn't recognize it was very much something i could use.

tbuck5, i'll definitely read the article you linked as well.


i honestly don't even understand what you mean by bend at the hips the only way i can prevent the hump is by arching very hard and thrusting my butt out but it still appears as i get lower.


Also if you are compensating by rounding at the lower back as opposed to flexing at the hips you will put undo strain on the lower back. Check the mirror when you deadlift or squat. Do not let your lower back round ever.


SB, that link I gave you is VERY valuable. I am telling you man, that blood-filled soreness can escalate into something serious if it isn't addressed early. BELIEVE ME. The stretching and hip work can be tedious, monotonous, and boring but if you stick to it you will appreciate your own discipline. The Back Savers article has two parts, here is the second half of the link:


Good luck bud


I see people doing this alot while deadlifting, arcing their lower back. your back should be arched and if you can't do it, id follow the extremely helpful articles some people have posted up here to get you fixed.


scgottsh, i don't believe i round my back when i squat. whenever i am upright, i keep an arch, maybe sometimes too much even haha. both gyms i use i don't have access to a mirror while squatting but maybe i can move a bar and check sometime. i've asked friends before though, and "felt" it myself and i don't believe i round.

tbuck5, thanks a lot. this kind of worries me though. is this something i can actually fix or will it be a problem for life? it seems like something that would be difficult to change, but it does sort of just "pop" out so maybe if i correct the cause it will stop?


Yes, keeping your back arched or in a neutral position will save you from injury. If your back arches when you deadlift or squat then you have no buisness doing it, you're just making your back a ticking time bomb.


Think of your hip joint like a hinge. If you stand up and try to bend over and touch your toes using only you hips, your upper back should be completely straight (ie if a ruler rested on it, it would be flat).

Once your back starts to curve (flex), you are using the vertabrae in your back to get your hands closer to the floor. This compensation pattern is fairly common. If your hips truly are tight you will find that can't bend over very far keeping your back straight.

You mention that the humps still appears when you go lower this may be because once your hips flex maxs out, you have to bend at the lower back to get further. The solution to this take time as you have to improve flexibility and retrain your body to only flex at the hips.

Hope this helps. BTW I had the same problem years and with a lot of effort have corrected. Don't ignore this though as you're asking for an injury down the road.


haha i feel really strange right now, because i understand what you're saying but i'm trying to bend solely from the hips, and i seem to always use my lower back. i will definitely work on this though because it's kind of scaring me.