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Squats and Low Back Pain

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Let's talk glute and abdominal activation!

1) Muscle weakness: Strengthen/Activate

When it comes to movement our bodies are designed to utilize specific muscles that activate and initiate in order to allow proper alignment of the body as it engages in daily tasks. However, if the main muscles of that movement are not primed, secondary muscles can begin to compensate in lieu of the main muscle in order to achieve the desired task. When it comes to the squat - if main movers such as the gluteals, abdominals, and hamstrings are not initiating motion surrounding muscles like the hip flexors and low back try to assist. This is why allowing proper activation of those main lifters is essential for not only strengthening and progressing your squat but also alleviate that unneeded lower back pain!

2) Tight muscles/ lack of ROM:

Stretch before lift Another reason why movement may be falling to those surrounding muscles could be due to the tightness of those surrounding muscles. As Vlandamer Jandas describes as the Janda Crossed Syndrome; the tightness of muscles such as the Hip Flexors and the lengthening of muscles such as the gluteals can inevitably pull your pelvis into an anterior tilt position. This can create impingement and compression within the lower spine - creating that low back ache.

3) Losing Neutral Spine to Flexion or Over Extension

Ultimately the first two reasons connect into this last - when muscles aren't able to move the body as they were intended too; our bodies learn to compensate and adapt. A couple known compensation during the squat could be the over flexion of the spine as the hips drive up first from the bottom squat position but spine rolls as the chest collapses under the bar; the second would be an over extension of the lower spine as hips drive up first and chest tries to maintain tall position but collapses in lower back from lack of abdominal engagement. So before jumping under that bar for your next set of squats, try a few of the key tips in the slides and see if they help alleviate that low back discomfort! Also remember, that each body is different and unique so techniques and cues may change depending on your body and goals! Stay strong and healthy my friends!!

Stay strong and healthy my friends!



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