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  1. #1
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    back aches during squats

    i have lower back issues ive started seeing a chiropractor, but basically any activity that requires my back i start getting aches. i started doing squats with my trainer last week and i was basically crippled i couldn't even workout arms after i have to lay down for the pain to go away. today we switched it up so we did the squats in the very end so if my back gave me issues it wouldn't interfere with my other workouts and we did it right before core so i could lay down right away if i had to. well, we didn't do as many squats as last time but, from what i did today my back didn't ache at the gym but, when i left it did and i have been aching since then today had to lay down but, didn't go away and still feels like there's something off but not as bad as earlier.

    so i was trying to google for "back pain during squats" and saw a few things mentioned such as technique and going to try to pay attention to that as i'm sure i don't have the best form but, will try my best. i also came across a belt, do you think i should use this? will it help and prevent my back from aching? this is the one i found:
    http://www.inzernet.com/detail_belt....LTS_BUCKLE10MM

    i dont remember what the reason was but, read something a while ago about people not wanting to use belts for a specific reason. i may not get the most out of the workout but, at least it would be something it's either that or basically not being able to do squats at all (or have to do body squats only) and i don't want to do that. if the belt could help the back pain then i think i should give it a try, what do you think?

  2. #2
    Elite PillarofBalance's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Don't think a belt is going to fix this issue, but go for it. Post a vid of your squat from a few angles. Does deadlifting do this too?

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    Elite ken Sass's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    i have lower back pain and find a belt helps on squats and bench. on back day i am also incorporating moves for my lower back

  4. #4
    Veteran BigGameHunter's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    I had this problem a few years ago after a MC accident, a bro at the gym told me to to hyndu squats and let my back recover. This allowed my wheels to get a good workout. With in a year I was back in the rack and my core is strong as hell. I still do them to this day. Put small weights in your hands as you progress. I swear by them.

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    Elite Big Worm's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Originally Posted by BigGameHunter View Post
    I had this problem a few years ago after a MC accident, a bro at the gym told me to to hyndu squats and let my back recover. This allowed my wheels to get a good workout. With in a year I was back in the rack and my core is strong as hell. I still do them to this day. Put small weights in your hands as you progress. I swear by them.
    Dont forget to wear a turban when you do these. You can also throw in "would you like a slurpee today".

    Ok on a serious note...........Assuming you are doing these with a barbell and not in a smith machine. How are you unracking the weight? With your back/shoulders or your legs? When you unrack the weight there shouldnt really be any upper body movement. You need to get under the bar and be pressing with your legs to unrack. If you get that figured out or are already doing it, the next thing that beats up the lower back is unracking the weight and having a slight forward lean to your upper body. No matter how good your core is, you are still trying to support that weight with your lower back. It happens because most people are worried about standing up too straight and falling over backwards. When you are just standing up on any given day, does your back hurt, no it doesnt. Start with something light, so light you almost feel queer even unracking it. Fix your posture until you dont feel anymore stress on your lower back. Throw some more weight on there and do it again. Keep doing that until you get to whatever weight you normally use and you feel comfortable with it. If you can squat it, you should be able to stand there with it all day and feel no pain/stress/tension. Remember, how you start is how you finish. Id get a belt and use it. If you plan on working out for a long time you are going to get to a point where you will want one anyway.

    Anyway, that is usually the back pain from squats that ive seen a bunch of. Also, a common problem is people try to squat more weight than their legs are capable of, so they get forward/bent over and end up doing more of a good morning. Get vids like POB said it will help but id start with that.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Gstacker's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    I'd do as pob says n video it from different angles, if you're new at squatting and u are going deep I can almost guarantee you have some "butt wink" that's when ur ass curls under at the bottom... Make sure you stretch and foam roll after u hit legs... The more flexible you can be the easier it will be on the back... I would get a belt but don't use it unless ur going 80% or more.. Learn to squat right b4 just throwing on a belt, bad for with a belt might be worse...
    And last but not least ur back may be the weak link so it's possible it just needs to catch up a bit

  7. #7
    Senior Member SAD's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    I'll throw some other ideas in the pot.

    Could be that the front half of your core, your abs, are actually the weak point and your back is having to compensate for that, hence the back aches. Just a thought.

    How long have you been working squats/deadlift/anything else that hurts your back? If you are new to it, just stick through it. It's kind of like a pitcher during spring training who gets "dead-arm" and feels like their muscles and humorous are aching, but as they get used to the work again, it goes away. This does not apply to you if you are a seasoned lifter.

    Agree with those who said flexibility will help.
    Conquer yourself through wise experimentation.

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    Re: back aches during squats

    Thanks for all the replies. Well it is for sure my back, I started going to a chirpractor because of serious back aches during my sleep and even when I'm sitting down and having lunch on a chair without back support. They did xray and there's something off in my lower back, I don't remember exactly but there is something there. For example even if I'm doing something like raking leaves and I'm looking down and kind of bent my back starts aching.

    I have a trainer so my form is actually being watched. This is the type of squat machine that has a back support, you put your back into it and those things that come down on your shoulders, and it has the handles with a "brake" you get into it, and you go all the way down and the machine keeps clicking until you get down far enough then you start standing up/down to do squats when you're done, you go all the way down then press the brake on the handle and it releases the weight and you can stand up.

    One thing that I did when my back hurt really bad the first time was that I would stand up and lock my knees/legs and make them completely straight when the weight would get heavy and the trainer told me not to do that. I only did that once last time but, will try not to do that.

    Also when I was referring to form, I was actually referring to things like this that I found from this link:
    http://stronglifts.com/squats-exercise-lower-back-pain/

    #3, #4, and #5 was what I was thinking I need to work on, which is staying tight, using glutes, and using abs. So these are thing that I need to focus on like pushing out with my abs, these things a video won't help I need to remember to do these things, and focus on them during the reps, right?

    Also I went ahead and ordered a belt, not that exact same one since I don't know when it will be delivered as I want one by next Wed. and so I just got a cheaper one from amazon since it will be here in 2 days, it had good reviews so I'll just try it for now. I may order the other one I linked to just incase as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Gstacker's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Those arnt squats bro... Ur doing leg presses..
    Totally different...

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    Re: back aches during squats

    Originally Posted by username1 View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. Well it is for sure my back, I started going to a chirpractor because of serious back aches during my sleep and even when I'm sitting down and having lunch on a chair without back support. They did xray and there's something off in my lower back, I don't remember exactly but there is something there. For example even if I'm doing something like raking leaves and I'm looking down and kind of bent my back starts aching.

    I have a trainer so my form is actually being watched. This is the type of squat machine that has a back support, you put your back into it and those things that come down on your shoulders, and it has the handles with a "brake" you get into it, and you go all the way down and the machine keeps clicking until you get down far enough then you start standing up/down to do squats when you're done, you go all the way down then press the brake on the handle and it releases the weight and you can stand up.

    One thing that I did when my back hurt really bad the first time was that I would stand up and lock my knees/legs and make them completely straight when the weight would get heavy and the trainer told me not to do that. I only did that once last time but, will try not to do that.

    Also when I was referring to form, I was actually referring to things like this that I found from this link:
    http://stronglifts.com/squats-exercise-lower-back-pain/

    #3, #4, and #5 was what I was thinking I need to work on, which is staying tight, using glutes, and using abs. So these are thing that I need to focus on like pushing out with my abs, these things a video won't help I need to remember to do these things, and focus on them during the reps, right?

    Also I went ahead and ordered a belt, not that exact same one since I don't know when it will be delivered as I want one by next Wed. and so I just got a cheaper one from amazon since it will be here in 2 days, it had good reviews so I'll just try it for now. I may order the other one I linked to just incase as well.
    Get off that "machine". Learn to squat correctly and I bet your back feels better. Remember to tighten your gut, chest out, and go deep. Toes should be pointed slightly out, let your knees track out over your feet, and try to focus on using your glutes and hamstrings instead of your back.

  11. #11
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Originally Posted by Gstacker View Post
    Those arnt squats bro... Ur doing leg presses..
    Totally different...
    Really? Then why does it say SQUAT in big red letters on the machine?

    Also the leg presses you are laying down and pressing your legs upward against the machine. You're not laying down on this machine you are standing up with your back against the support and you are squatting DOWN then UP. I'm pretty sure it's called a "squat" machine for a reason.

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    Re: back aches during squats

    Originally Posted by Shane1974 View Post
    Get off that "machine". Learn to squat correctly and I bet your back feels better. Remember to tighten your gut, chest out, and go deep. Toes should be pointed slightly out, let your knees track out over your feet, and try to focus on using your glutes and hamstrings instead of your back.
    Ok, actually the trainer initially had me off the machine and doing body weight squats and holding free weight infront of me. I kind of insisted on the machine as well, I thought it would be better. I'm not good at doing body squats because I lose my balance and not flexible enough to reach that far down without almost falling over. So, the machine helps me stay supported so I can actually go all the way down and up. However, if you think it would be better to not use the machine, then I'll continue to stay off it and do the other type of squats.

    I'll keep in mind those tips and focus on my glutes, tighten up, chest out etc. thanks.

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    Elite PillarofBalance's Avatar
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    back aches during squats

    It's a hack squat machine I believe. Either way, need a vid to judge form. Preferably from the side and from the back.
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    Elite Shane1974's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Originally Posted by username1 View Post
    Ok, actually the trainer initially had me off the machine and doing body weight squats and holding free weight infront of me. I kind of insisted on the machine as well, I thought it would be better. I'm not good at doing body squats because I lose my balance and not flexible enough to reach that far down without almost falling over. So, the machine helps me stay supported so I can actually go all the way down and up. However, if you think it would be better to not use the machine, then I'll continue to stay off it and do the other type of squats.

    I'll keep in mind those tips and focus on my glutes, tighten up, chest out etc. thanks.
    When I first joined the gym years ago, I had some trainer teach me how to squat on a smith machine. I started having all kinds of problems. Knees hurt, lower back pain. Finally this big guy came up to me and asked me if I wanted to learn how to squat right. I learned how to free weight squat, and I haven't had any problems since. I think our body NEEDS stabalizer muscles to support us. You get on a machine, and you take away some of those stabalizer muscles. It's like tying to teach your kid how to ride a bike and NEVER taking off the training wheels-he will never acquire a sense of balance.

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    Elite Big Worm's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Ya hack squat like pob said. If you are trying to go all the way down on those, make sure your lower back isn't leaving the back pad. You are probably rolling your hips forward toward the bottom. Foot placement on a hack squat is important. You are really hitting the quads on this.

    For guys that are weak and have a fear of falling over I like to have them squat to a box. You will suck and have horrible form for what a box squat really is but it's a starting point. It just helps people get over that fear of falling over if they know there is something that will stop them. Then you can focus on the true form and reasons for box squatting. And remember, no one gives a shit if you squat ass to grass.

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    Senior Member sfstud33's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Sounds like Hack Squat. Its still a good squat - and worth doing, but you are not getting the full the benefit of a regular squat. And your back may hurt because of the angle of your spine to your hips - you really need to pay attention if its hurting and make sure you are correctly positioned. The same goes for the V Squat machine. Indeed, both are great as an extra tool to switch things up with.

    I find i also get lower back aches with squats. My top weight is nothing crazy, 225lbs x 20, but for one to two days afterwards there is a slight nag in my lowerback. Like its saying "That was ok, but dont do it again until next week".

    I do find that when im tired my form can suck, and then i can end up with more of a back pain. I always try to do a leg workout starting with squats, then moving over to leg press and then doing leg extensions/curls, followed by a machine assisted squat to really tire out those muscles. The nice thing about ending on a machine is that it is gentler on your back than a barbell squat - especially if you are getting fatigued and your form is slipping.

    If your back is really hurting, then you may need to go down in weight until your core is stronger. Try starting with a warm up set of a 45lb barbell and adding a 25 lb plate on each side. See if you can do 20 well executed squats. If so go up to a 45lb on each side, then progressively go up until you find the weight that makes your back ache. I know for me, 225lbs is the magic number for a twinge in the lower back!
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    Re: back aches during squats

    Originally Posted by sfstud33 View Post
    Sounds like Hack Squat. Its still a good squat - and worth doing, but you are not getting the full the benefit of a regular squat. And your back may hurt because of the angle of your spine to your hips - you really need to pay attention if its hurting and make sure you are correctly positioned.
    Thanks again for all the tips. The only issue is that I can't tell because it doesn't hurt at the time, it only hurts right after. Well the other day (my number is much less than yours lol) I did two sets of 125 lbs x 15 and my back didn't hurt at the time but, did a bit later in the day but, went away by evening. I guess I can just stick with that number, the trainer asked me if I wanted to increase the weight on the second set but, I said no let's see how it goes. So I may just stay with that and then we'll still continue to do body squats with free weight. That's good that you guys are recommending that (some saying more than the machine) because I don't mind doing it if it's good for me, I had figured the machine would get me more results but, I will continue with it and try to incorporate both but, good to know the body weights with free weight isn't a bad thing.

    So are you guys basically saying even if there really is something messed up with my lower back that if I did the squats correctly then I wouldn't be in pain? I mean I can get crippled just sleeping on a soft mattress. I can't sleep on anything but, firm. I had tried a soft mattress a few months ago and it was so bad that in the middle of the night I was sleeping on the floor to get relief it was brutal. I don't even know why this is a problem with me, I haven't ever been injured or anything. I guess it's just one of those things.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gstacker's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    if you do them right and ur back or core is lagging you may still have some bad back pumps..... so ya video...
    i see trainers in the gym all the time doing there own version of the squat so if you have one saying ur forms good it still means nothing without video...
    even the best can find improvments in there form...

  19. #19
    Senior Member oldschool67's Avatar
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    Re: back aches during squats

    get to the source of your back issue! i said **** it and kept squatting, and that being said, between my ****ed up job and lifting, i put myself out of commision!..i would personally do sissy squats, you are relying more on gravity than weight. if you cant squat, i will be blunt here, 125 lbs is a nice comeback weight,but will do nothing for you unless you can up your poundages , get an mri and take it from there.

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    Re: back aches during squats

    I yinked my lower back last week doing squats. First make sure your in the mood for them I find if I am dragging my ass through the work out then I have no business doing any exercises that can compromise my back ie squats and bo rows are my worst. I usually sub db lunges for squats if I am not feeling it. Focus is key stay focused on your form and key in on the muscles you want to be using glutes hams etc picture the movement as you do it dont think about using your back. Finally watch the amount of weight , I squat light compared to most bros on here but its better then an injury good luck
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