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Old 07-21-2013, 04:08 PM   #1
Al Chu
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Squat causing back pains

Hey, I'm pretty new to squatting and I was wondering if someone can help check my lower back squat form. The problem I have right now is that when I squat at my max I would feel pain from my lower back, the area above my glutes. I don't know if it's because I don't know what to do with my core when squatting or if it's because my form is way off. Anyways here is a video of me squatting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU-4aSelkTs.

Thanks everyone.
Btw does anyone know where I can get a lifting belt in Toronto?
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:58 PM   #2
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Squat causing back pains

One possible cause is that when you start to come up you lean a little farther forward and your hips pop up first. This puts a lot of strain on your low back. Your last rep illustrated this best (almost a mini goodmorning).

Part of this may be caused by the way you start. It looks like your upper back is pushed/hunched forward from the start. Try brining your elbows down more, that may help you keep your chest and upper body more upright so you don't torque the low back in the lower part of your squat.

Also to help you stay upright, fill your abdomen and lower back with air and lock them in place. Sometimes when squats seem impossible it's because I wasn't forcing my abs out. On the next set when I lock them in place, they seem much easier.

I think it would be unlikely to find a high quality belt locally, usually you have to order one. Inzer, Roque and Elite are some places to check out online.

Finally, if your goal is to squat to parallel you need to go deeper, you appear high to me.

Keep up the good work.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #3
Al Chu
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Re: Squat causing back pains

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Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
One possible cause is that when you start to come up you lean a little farther forward and your hips pop up first. This puts a lot of strain on your low back. Your last rep illustrated this best (almost a mini goodmorning).

Part of this may be caused by the way you start. It looks like your upper back is pushed/hunched forward from the start. Try brining your elbows down more, that may help you keep your chest and upper body more upright so you don't torque the low back in the lower part of your squat.

Also to help you stay upright, fill your abdomen and lower back with air and lock them in place. Sometimes when squats seem impossible it's because I wasn't forcing my abs out. On the next set when I lock them in place, they seem much easier.

I think it would be unlikely to find a high quality belt locally, usually you have to order one. Inzer, Roque and Elite are some places to check out online.

Finally, if your goal is to squat to parallel you need to go deeper, you appear high to me.

Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely take a deload and work on my form. Any advice on how I can raise my shoulders and hips up at the same time without it seeming like I'm raising my chest up and not hips because I've always thought I had to drive my hips up. I also try to go lower but I lack the flexibility to do so, if I go any lower I can feel my back rounding really badly and my knees start to cave in. I'm doing some stretches for it.

Last edited by Al Chu : 07-22-2013 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:34 PM   #4
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Squat causing back pains

Sometimes rounding of the back isn't flexibility but a strength issue. Make sure you really push the legs out on the way up and down and lock that back into place.

For me, to prevent me from pitching forward, I try to pull my elbows more under the bar and drive my back into the bar. Also, better ab stability will help.

You can drive from the hips, but if you do you have to have your gut pressurized so you don't tip forward.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:30 AM   #5
James Caldwell
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Re: Squat causing back pains

You want to raise your chest up a little taller.

Look up anything by Starrett on bracing the midsection .. the main points: Squeeze your butt, draw your belly button into your spine, lower ribcage (but I think you need to raise your chest a little higher), and externally rotate shoulder. Practice that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN642Z99TbA

This might help.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
Brian Strump
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Re: Squat causing back pains

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Originally Posted by James Caldwell View Post
You want to raise your chest up a little taller.

Look up anything by Starrett on bracing the midsection .. the main points: Squeeze your butt, draw your belly button into your spine, lower ribcage (but I think you need to raise your chest a little higher), and externally rotate shoulder. Practice that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN642Z99TbA

This might help.

Drawing your belly button to your spine makes no sense in terms of bracing. What good would a weight belt be, if I suck my belly into my spine, the belt would just fall down to my hips. You should cue yourself to "get fat" in order to increase the stability through the abdomen.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:00 PM   #7
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Squat causing back pains

Agree with Brian, belly in is great for pictures but for midline stability you need to create a Buddah belly that pressurizes front, side and back.

Also, if you struggle to stay upright consider some assistance work with Front Squats, goblet squats and safetybar squats.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:44 PM   #8
Al Chu
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Re: Squat causing back pains

Thanks, I'm going to try squatting again tomorrow with lower weights and the techniques mentioned in this thread. I think that a belly full of air is better because it allows the air to act as a cushioning for your core and back. When I draw in a big breath should I also tighten my gut like I'm bracing for a punch or keep it more loose? Because I seem to lose tightness after I squat down and when I come out of the hole.
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:19 AM   #9
Brian Strump
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Re: Squat causing back pains

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Originally Posted by Al Chu View Post
Thanks, I'm going to try squatting again tomorrow with lower weights and the techniques mentioned in this thread. I think that a belly full of air is better because it allows the air to act as a cushioning for your core and back. When I draw in a big breath should I also tighten my gut like I'm bracing for a punch or keep it more loose? Because I seem to lose tightness after I squat down and when I come out of the hole.
Inhale, expand the gut(get fat), keep it tight. Descend. On the way you you may start expelling air.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:45 PM   #10
Lan Halbert
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Re: Squat causing back pains

Stay tight and breathe in on the way down, don't exhale until you're just coming out of the hole. Staying tight and filled with air in the hole helps your body stay rigid at your weakest position.

Lower the weights and then focus on keeping your chest out and back straight or slightly arched inward.

I also notice you're doing low-bar squats which are a little more difficult to do 'correctly'. Your posterior chain may also be a weak point hence the form issue & back pain.

Try switching to high bar squat as it's preferable for Olympic weightlifting as it mechanically mimics the receiving position in the snatch and clean.

Just my two cents.

Good luck and pain free lifting to you.
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