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Does Your Back Hurt When You Squat?

Lots of women have cranky knees when they squat, and that topic seems to get all of the attention.


But what if your back hurts?


I’ve had times in my training history where my knees hurt, my back hurt, my shoulder hurt. Geesh, just about everything hurt at one time or another!


Over time, I’ve learned a lot about alignment, breathing mechanics, pelvic floor issues and more.


I’ve also learned about myself and my body.  When to back off, when to push, and how to use my body more effectively to get certain exercises accomplished for the maximum benefit with reduced risk of injury (the minimum does effect!)


So, below are some tips that might help you if you have back pain when you squat:


  1. Lighten the load.
    Maybe you need to work up to the “baby” weights.  :)  Totally okay! You might think they are “baby,” but if you haven’t lifted on a regular basis in years (or ever), your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments need time to adjust.
  2. Elevate your heels.
    If your ankles don’t have enough mobility, your lower leg rotates, then your femur rotates. This can cause your lumbar spine to flex excessively while the body tries to maintain vertical position. Therefore, simply elevating your heels can alleviate low back discomfort.
  3. Imagine a string is attached to your sternum and the ceiling.
    The string pulls your body from the sternum straight up to the ceiling. This is a good visual to remind you not to flop your upper body forward, which can put undue stress on the lower back.

    This cue also helps you ascend by leading with your hips and legs. Sometimes, people lean forward then start the rise with the hips. Ideally, the hips and torso ascend at the same rate.

  4. As you stand up, push your feet down into the ground, almost cork screwing your feet outward.
    This is a cue that can help you perform the squat with better form, activating the glutes instead of overworking your back.


If you still have trouble and want me to check out your form, contact me, and we’ll figure it out!

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