Someone once said squats are the king of every exercise below the waist, and rightfully so. However, if you have ever experienced lower back pain from squats, you must agree that there is nothing royal about the pain.
But why would your lower back hurt after squats? When you do squats the right way, your back muscles should anticipate the action and see you through your descent with a straight torso. This will prevent your back from hunching over.
If this does not happen and you somehow end with a rounded back, you are sure to experience lower back pain from squats. The position of your feet could also be a culprit in putting unnecessary pressure on your spine.
Severe lower back pain after squats will not only make you want to quit squats but working out, too as well. How can you fix lower back pain and continue to reap the benefits of squats in peace? This article will demonstrate how.
WAYS TO AVOID LOWER BACK PAIN FROM SQUATS
1. CORRECT POSTURE
If squats are the king of lower body workouts, then correct posture and form is the queen, without whom the king is quite useless.
Most lower back pain from squats can be attributed to incorrect posture when executing the squats, especially during descent.
The leg muscles are the ones that should support your movements, if you start with the wrong form, it transfers the work to your lower back, and that is where the trouble begins. Start with an upright, chest-out posture, with legs facing forward.
Make sure your legs are facing in front when squatting. Placing them at an angle not only exposes your knees to injury but also weakens your form. Weak knees and week form will, in the end, result in lower back pain from squats.
2.START WITHOUT WEIGHTS
If you are just beginning, leave the weights out and master squats’ correct form and posture first. Once your body has gotten used to the movements executed during squats, introduce weights little by little.
According to this study, squatting with weights on a curved back increases additional forces on the lower back.
3. STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE
A strong core will definitely improve your squats because the status of the core impacts your hips, pelvis, and lower spine. Do exercises that strengthen your core, like planks and anti-rotation presses.
More so, this study revealed that flexibility training and exercises that strengthen the core are some of the best antidotes for lower back pain. Yoga and tai chi are good places to start if you want to work on your flexibility.
4. INCORPORATE GOOD MORNINGS
Pain in the lower back could be caused by weak stabilizer muscles in the lower back.
This is according to Mike Robertson, MS, CSCS, USAW, President of Robertson Training Systems, and the Director of Custom Athletics.
One of the best exercises for stabilizing the lower back muscles is the Good Mornings. Incorporate this into your workout to prevent your back from rounding and strengthening the erector spinae.
5. MINIMIZE WEIGHTS
Most people have come to equate good squats to the number of weights you can carry while doing them.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not go straight into piling as much weight as you can during the squat. It will overwhelm your hips and leg muscles.
Once overwhelmed, the lower back, of course, has to come in to support the weight. This may result in pain.
6. CHANGE THE TYPE OF SQUATS
Try another type of squats if you have lower back pain from squats. Some types of squats have been known to be too aggressive.
Barbell squats are especially notorious for being too hard on people. They can easily result in lower back pain.
Start with easy squats like front squats. As you master them and your body gets used to them, advance to other intensive types. Don’t just go straight to the tough variations.
7. DON’T GO TOO LOW
The lower the squat, the better the results, true?
We have been made to believe that if you don’t dip past the point that your hips are parallel to the ground, that is no squat.
Unfortunately, that would only work if we operated on a one-hip-fits-all basis, but we are not. Our bodies, and hips to be specific, are not the same.
Your range of motion might not just allow you to descend very low into your squat. If you go beyond your limit, you will be giving your body too much to deal with, hence the lower back pain.
8. TAKE A BREAK
When the lower back pain first manifests, do not be tempted to keep going. Take a break from squats and any other workouts that strain the spine and back. Reintroduce the squats once the pain subsides, without the weights, and in the right form.
9. ASSESS YOUR OTHER WORKOUTS
Could it be that your other workouts are doing damage to your lower back, but the pain becomes more obvious during squats?
Good posture, good form, and proper execution is not just limited to squats. Apply the right techniques in every workout, so they don’t injure your spine and back.
10. DO NOT OVERARCH YOUR LOWER BACK
Your back has this natural neutral curve to it. You want to keep it like that curve as natural as can be.
In a am effort to prevent rounding of the back, you might end up overarching your lower back. This results in your bum sticking out and your hips being pushed forward.
This position strains your spine segments and forces your lower back to provide the support needed to keep your torso upright squats. You will develop a painful lower back this way.
Do not overarch your back. Remember, this is a sit and stand movement fuelled by the legs, not the back.
HOW TO SQUAT PROPERLY WITH WEIGHTS
Here is how to squat properly with weight:
- Start upright, with toes just slightly out for more stability and balance. Do not place them too far out, as this will expose your knees to injury. Your knees and toes should never lose their alignment.
- Either hold dumbbells on the upper thighs, a single dumbbell in front, or a barbell on the shoulders or behind the head.
- Drop to a squat without losing the knee-to-toe alignment. Your torso should remain upright, chest out, and core strong.
- Ensure you are comfortable with the depth of your squat. If you feel wobbly, you might have gone too far.
- Return to an upright position without bringing your knees together.
- Do 15 reps of these.
When done correctly, squats will guarantee you strong glutes and hips, work your legs, activate your glutes, help you burn fat and lose weight.
When done wrongly, however, they could be the bane and blight of your workout and existence.
Thankfully, you can get rid of the lower back pain from squats by patiently and consistently following the tips outlined in this article. Have a look at our guide to doing other home workouts correctly and blasting your way through your fitness goals.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]