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How To Fix Lower Back Pain From Squats

Try This: Trade Squats For A Modified Sit

How To Fix Lower Back Pain From Squats (MODIFY)

If you bend forward or find yourself looking down at the floor when you squat, try a powered-up version of the sit-to-stand exercise instead. Its the same movement pattern as a traditional sit-to-stand, except you start by sitting in a chair with your arms hanging at your sides.

When you press through your heels to stand up, swing your arms in front of you to help power the motion as you do. This little oomph from the arms can help you resist the urge to hinge forward, Endres says.

How To Eliminate A Sore Lower Back From Squats

A key movement to build a strong, muscular and more resilient body, squats are a commonly prescribed exercise for athletes and the fitness enthusiast.

Unfortunately, though, squats have been known to cause unwanted low back soreness. While the squat will work the muscles of the lower back, if the low back becomes the most targeted region during the squat, chronic soreness and overuse injury can occur.

To prevent lower back pain after squats, and to continue to maximize the benefits you can experience with the squat, keep in mind the following key considerations.

Paused Squats Teach You How To Squat Properly By Engaging Your Quads

To correct this, the best course of action would be to lighten the weight. And start incorporating paused squats instead:

  • Briefly pause at the bottom position of the squat,
  • Come up to about halfway up,
  • Pause again,
  • And then come back to the top.
  • During every rep, you need to ensure that your hips and chest are rising at the same rate. Its also useful to use various cues to help you with this. Such as thinking about driving your chest up as you come out of the bottom position. Performing paused squats in this manner will help force your quads to remain involved during the most difficult parts of the squat.

    And will help you nail down that much-needed coordination. As you get better and stronger with this, you can start transitioning to normal squats and overloading that. As long as you can maintain that new proper form, of course.

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    Try Different Squat Variations

    The back squat is the classic squat variation, but is also the most difficult variation to master. Because of the position of the bar being on your back, it places more direct stress on the back than other variations. Venture beyond the back squat and use different variations to prevent low back soreness.

    Move 1: Goblet Squat

    The goblet squat helps tighten up your technique with the squat. You hold the weight in front of you to provide an offset load, which allows you to more easily sit back and keep your back neutral.

    How To: Holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in a goblet grip â holding the horns of the kettlebell just below your chin â take a slightly wider than hip-width stance. Keep your abs engaged and sit your hips back and down as you place most of your weight in your heels without the toes coming off the floor.

    Keep your back flat and reverse directions pushing through your heels to return to the standing position.

    Move 2: Landmine Front Squat

    In the landmine front squat, the weight is also in front of you. The unique angle the landline front squat provides allows you to also sit back more easily while keeping your back in a neutral position.

    Read more:12 Essential Squat Variations to Try

    Move 3: Barbell Front Squat

    One more variation of the squat that might relieve discomfort in the low back is the barbell front squat.

    Upper Back Pain From Squatting


    If the bar hurts your back when squatting, there is a high probability that you are at fault due to bad breathing patterns, poor bracing, sub-optimal bar placement, or musculoskeletal imbalances.

    According to EMG research, only two muscles were shown to have increased in usage as you advance from 80% of your 1 rep max to 100% of your 1 rep max:

  • Vastus medialis, inner quads
  • Glute max
  • Though experiments do not measure any muscle activation in the upper back, neck and mid back regions, it can be assumed that these muscles work, at best, as stabilizers for the back squat.

    This means that if you feel upper back or neck pain from squats, it is likely a form issue, whether it is barbell placement of irregular bar path while squatting.

    It could also be pre-existing pathology that is exerted from a back squat, like Upper Cross syndrome.

    In this example,

  • You have tight pec minor, upper traps
  • You have weak neck flexors and a mid-back
  • Can you see where you might make your own condition worse if you add in a heavy back squat?

    Any amount of force on a weak muscle can cause you pain.

    Any amount of force on a tight muscle will cause you pain.

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    Work With A Physical Trainer Or Certified Specialist To Check Your Form And Load Bearing

    If your form is incorrect, you could actually be doing more harm than good. If you are unsure of your posture and positioning from start to finish, you need to consult with an expert. A certified physical trainer or other specialist can watch you perform your reps and help make corrections where needed. Several sessions of this type of help can ensure that you are consistently performing your squats correctly and possibly pain free.

    How Can We Help You

    At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our goal is to get you moving pain free as soon as possible.

    But, we also want you to actually move better and live a healthier, more active and fulfilling life!

    If your sports, fitness training or work has been wearing your body down, book in with one of our expert massage therapists so we can help you reduce your pain or stiffness.

    If you are showing some signs of this condition or simply want help prevent this from happening in the future then book in with one of our highly experienced Remedial Massage Therapists today!

    You can make an appointment by calling or booking online.

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    Coordinate With A Medical Professional For Non

    There are numerous options for people to treat their back soreness with certain types of therapies or medications.

    Lets review them, including the research evidence behind them.


    Manipulation is a form of manual therapy to move tissues and joints.

    A lot of people think of the cracking and popping sounds that are made when an Osteopath or Chiropractor provides manual therapy to patients, but the treatment doesnt need to produce sounds to have an effect on the body.

    In fact, a lot of manipulation doesnt involve making these sounds, and still provide patients with good relief. Spinal manipulation has been shown to improve pain and function in those with back soreness.


    Acupuncture is a type of medicine that involves poking the tissues with small needles to reduce pain.

    The evidence in the treatment of low back pain is limited in populations with acute pain . However, interesting enough, the evidence is better for people with chronic low back pain , showing that improvements can be made.


    A lot of folks swear by massage treatment to alleviate back soreness, however, the research evidence is still lacking.

    Massage has not shown to reduce low back pain, however, it has been shown to increase patient satisfaction. This means although folks werent improving in terms of their back pain, but they enjoyed the massage overall .





    Ways To Fix Lower Back Pain When Squatting


    Are you suffering from lower back pain when squatting? Im Dr. Scott Gray, the owner and founder of BIM Fitness and Performance in Fort Myers, Florida.

    I am a speciality trained physical therapist and a sports performance coach. I also have here our fitness and sports performance coach, Chad Anderson with me to help me with demonstration.

    Today I want to talk about three different ways that you can prevent lower back pain when squatting. The squat is a movement pattern thats been around for hundreds of years and we need to squat, but it should never be painful.

    There are three main reasons why the majority of people will get back pain while squatting.

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    When It Comes To Lower Body Strength And Size Theres No Doubt That Squats Are King But At The Same Time The Squat Is One Of The More ‘risky’ Exercises In The Gym Which Is Why I’ll Cover How To Squat Properly In This Article So You Don’t Injure Your Back

    Research in trained lifters often finds that squats are the most commonly cited injury-causing exercise performed in the gym. More specifically, it seems that of these squatting injuries, the lower back tends to come up as the most frequent site of injury.

    Which is simply because the spine is biomechanically the most vulnerable of the joints when squatting.

    Now, this doesnt mean that the squat is a dangerous exercise that you should avoid. Because its not. And its actually a great strengthening movement for your lower back. But this does mean that you need to pay careful consideration to how you execute the squat.

    That’s because there are a few common mistakes that people make with it that can contribute to lower back pain.

    And injury over time. In this article, Ill go through exactly what those mistakes are. And how to fix them, so you can avoid injury and build up a stronger, pain-free squat.

    A short note before we begin: as the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. That’s why I design every BWS program carefully to ensure that it will not cause unnecessary stress to your spine – which can worsen lower back pain. If you’re interested in transforming your physique in the most time-efficient and safe manner:

    What Causes Lower Back Pain After Squats

    Lower back pain after squats usually results from repetitive lumbar flexion under load. Perfect squat form is rare. Increased weight and higher volume sets increase the likelihood of excessive lumbar flexion with each rep.

    It does not take much lumbar flexion when load and volume are combined to lead to lower back pain, soreness, or discomfort.

    The bottom position of the squat is almost always the point where excess lumbar flexion happens. A number of different impairments may be causing the excessive lumbar flexion.

    • Poor form, simply being sloppy and allowing lumbar flexion in the hole
    • Limited hip flexion ROM/mobility

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    Back Pain While Squatting On The Way Up

    What if you are ok during the descent of the squat but have pain when coming back up?

    This issue usually starts at the bottom.

    Every exercise has a part in the movement where you transition from moving in one direction to the opposite direction.

    If you want to nerd out with me, this is typically when you go from the eccentric portion of the movement to the concentric part of the movement.

    This change of direction, in all movements, is a common point of technique breakdown.

    Many things can go wrong here.

    Core tension can be lost so the back becomes vulnerable.

    The weight shifts forward, causing the spine to bend forward too much, making the back vulnerable.

    In an attempt to come out of the hole fast, the low back starts the motion by arching, as opposed to the hips, making the back vulnerable.

    Sometimes, pain on the way up is due to poorly controlling the descent.

    A lot of people drop down with very little control and attempt to turn on all of their muscles and control the weight and change direction.

    You can probably imagine how well that goes.

    Lets breakdown pain on the way back up in the video below.

    What To Do If You Experience Back Pain From Squats


    If you find yourself experiencing pain in your back while performing squats, the first thing you should always do is stop. Its a common misconception in the gym that you should push through the pain barrier and keep going but this will ultimately do even more damage to your body.

    Then, you should try to identify the cause of the pain. Is it happening because youre using the wrong technique? A good way to identify this is to have a partner watch you squat and let you know of any mistakes you might be making with your form without realizing.

    If the back pain is prolonged and wont go away easily, consulting a doctor or physiotherapist isnt a bad idea. They will be able to more accurately determine the cause of the pain and make recommendations for how best to avoid it.

    Of course, performing other, lighter exercises can be a good way to relieve back pain while staying active. Yoga is a particularly beneficial exercise for pain like this because it involves a lot of slow, stretching movements that will keep your spine active and moving, without forcing it too much.

    Read Also: How Come My Lower Back Hurts

    Issues To Address And A Quick Routine To Relieve The Pain

    So, youve got lower back pain from squats, do you?

    I know how much that sucks.

    Fortunately for you, in this article were going to go through:

    • 3 characteristics common amongst people who hurt their lower back doing squats
    • 3 things to address to prevent this annoying problem, and
    • A short routine you can do right now for some instant pain relief

    Trust me, I know the kind of pain youre feeling, seeing as this is the back that I personally squat with.

    The surgery and resulting big scar has significantly impacted my tissues, alignment and movement patterns, so Ive had to learn a lot just to keep myself healthy.

    And before we continue, one thing you can be thankful for is the fact that this didnt happen to you:

    We can always find gratitude if we look for it.

    Now that were in a positive frame of mind, lets dive in, starting with the 3 most common reasons people get lower back pain from squats.

    Low Back Pain From Squats Wrapping Up

    Squats are a very natural movement.

    So natural that its hard to avoid doing squats at least a few times a day.

    Doing squats in your workouts will help you reach your training goals more quickly, too.

    However, as beneficial as squats can be, they can also cause problems.

    While many of these problems are avoidable, some are tougher to deal with.

    In some cases, you may need to change the squat variation to prevent unwanted aches and pains.

    For example, while back squats are the most widely performed squatting exercise, other variations may suit you better.

    Goblet squats are usually easier to master, and hip-belt squats put next to no stress on your lower back.

    So, while squats are essential, there is more than one way to do the king of exercises.

    Choose the variation that provides you with the most benefits and the least amount of risk.

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    Your Core Isnt Strong Enough To Maintain The Correct Posture

    Your core is an integral part of squatting. If your core isnt stable enough to maintain your position throughout the squat you put your back at risk. A weak core puts the bulk of the work on your lower back potentially causing strain or injury. A strong core also helps stabilize you throughout this exercise. Without that core strength you can lose your balance and fall forward or backwards.

    Squatting And Lower Back Pain

    How To Squat Properly: 3 Mistakes Harming Your Lower Back (FIX THESE!)

    Squats are a very popular and one of the most functional exercises used for sports and fitness conditioning.

    However, since squats involve multiple muscles and joints, a faulty technique can cause undue stress on your lower back.

    However, by making a few minor changes in the execution of the squat can reduce the strain and pain of this movement.

    Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Constant Lower Back Pain

    What Causes Back Pain While Squatting

    When performed properly, the squat is a relatively safe exercise. However, due to the lower back and pelvis being the most vulnerable joints during this exercise, its not uncommon for lifters to experience low back soreness afterward.

    There are several risk factors that make back pain more likely following a squat workout:

    1. Previous injury to the lower back

    2. Poor squatting technique

    3. Weak core and glute muscles

    4. Limited range of movement in joints, particularly the ankles

    5. Progressing too quickly when starting out

    How To Prevent Back Pain When Squatting

  • Never start squatting heavy without warm-up Use at least 10-15 min to prepare your body for training. Jogging or riding a bike is an easy way to prepare your body for strength training.
  • Always have a training plan and training journal If you end up with low back pain after squat and doesnt have a training plan and journal, you would never be able to find the source of the problem.
  • Quality before quantity Learn the perfect squatting form first, and then add weights.
  • Do at least three squat variations.
  • Dont forget aerobic physical activity Light physical activity supports strength training and increases the regeneration rate in muscles and joints, which means you recover faster after squatting.
  • Read Also: Can Back Cause Knee Pain

    Reason #: Your Backside Is Weak

    Full squats require a base level of glute and core strength to maintain proper form, Endres says. And if you lack that strength, your body may shift the brunt of the work to the lower back to compensate for weakness in the glutes.

    Over time, the added stress on your lower back builds up, which can lead to soreness, pain, and possibly injuryboth when you squat and otherwise.

    Many people just dont have the glute strength to do deep squats, she says. After all, lowering down, keeping the spine straight and stable, and then using all those muscles to stand back up again is pretty demanding on your lower body.


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