How to stop rounding your low back when squatting forever

rounding low back

If you’re anything like me then you have a love-hate relationship with squats. You want to do them and you have your reasons but your low back feels ridiclously tight within a day of squatting. So how do you stop rounding your low back when you squat?

Squatting and your low back: Unnerded

While there are various theories why your low back tucks under when you squat, you can really break it down to one of these important factors.

You round your low back when squatting because…

  • You lack proper hip internal rotation
  • You begin the squat by driving your hips back and slightly bending your low back
  • You lack ankle mobility
  • You’re keeping your legs too far forward in a traditional squat method
  • You are using too much weight

Squatting and rounding your low back:The not so easy fix.

The answer isn’t to squat with a flat back, in reality that might make matters worse. Your spine can’t handle squatting loads with a flat back just like they can’t handle an extreme rounding either. As we get deeper in a squat not only does our low back begin to round more but the compression loads as increase. So you’re not just rounding because of the depth, the compressive loads effect the range of the rounding depending on your structure flaws.

Rounding isn’t bad, it only gets bad when the compressive loads increase.  I already listed why this all happens above but here’s some suggested fixes.

  1.  Squat with a wider stance. Doing so limits your depth which isn’t a bad thing. You still get ALL the squatting benefits while minimizing the flexion and compressive forces.
  2. Improve your hip internal rotation and strengthen your glutes. Both are optimal and must be addressed. Without any underlining issue you’ll see a good return on your investment by just performing various glute exercises like bridges, clams and other hip extension work.
  3. Start working your ankle mobility. A lack of ankle mobility is a recipe for disaster especially when squatting. Check the video below

    Squatting and rounding your low back:The easy fix

    Technique will always be the easier correction pattern in any movement. During your next squatting session slash the weight by 30-40%. Yes, I know it’s a big weight drop but you’ll be able to feel your form more. Notice how that tuck under is less then before? Your body has a defense system and if it has to round the low back to get us back up from the squat then so be it. Less weight and better technique work.

    What if my low back is still tight from squatting?

    You’ve grooved your technique and you’ve fixed some hip issues and you’re spreading the floor with your newly mobile hips so why is your low back still tight?It turns out that your low back isn’t tight at all. While it may feel tight it’s  actually neural tension. By stretching your back you’ll stimulate the bodies stretch receptors but it’s doing nothing for the muscles, you’re actually stretching the neural tissues that will extend the tightness to the next day.The origin of the tightness is usually in the lumbar root and can only be corrected with increasing hip mobility. Change your posture, improve your mobility then correct the specific exercise pattern even more then you think you have.

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