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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Could this squat-caused back pain be due to muscle imbalance?

    I have some pain in the right side of my lower back. It usually doesn't hurt unless I'm bending over for a while, or I'm squatting (it's the worst while I'm re-racking the weight). I don't get the pain doing any other exercise, and I didn't begin to feel it until I began squatting on the heavier side, so I believe that squats are responsible for it.

    I heard in passing that doing unilateral leg work can help relieve lower back pain, so I wanted to know from the people here if they've have that experience. If so, then I would like to plan to start lunging soon. Thanks.
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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    You might have strained your quadratus lumborum. People whose squat tends towards being a good morning by default are at a higher risk of this than those who can more naturally manage lower hips and an upright back.

    Try touching your toes when you notice the pain and holding that for about 10 seconds, if possible. Also, if you're in between sets and it starts talking to you, taking weight off of it for a few minutes could help too.

    How severe is the pain, and for how long have you had it, though?
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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    You might have strained your quadratus lumborum. People whose squat tends towards being a good morning by default are at a higher risk of this than those who can more naturally manage lower hips and an upright back.

    Try touching your toes when you notice the pain and holding that for about 10 seconds, if possible. Also, if you're in between sets and it starts talking to you, taking weight off of it for a few minutes could help too.

    How severe is the pain, and for how long have you had it, though?
    I've had it for probably about three or four months now. I began working a job that had me bending over a lot, which is when the pain began, but my back got used to the new stress within about three weeks, while the pain has persisted until now. It was around that time that I started to squat heavier (for me) as well, and since I am continuing to squat increasingly heavily and still feel the pain, I attribute the pain to the squats, not to the job.

    The pain is not severe, and at this point I only feel it when squatting and when flexing my lower back (going into an anterior pelvic tilt). My squat it pretty upright, or so I would like to believe: I almost don't feel myself leaning forward at all, although that doesn't conclusively prove that I'm not leaning forward too much, compared to someone naturally gifted for squatting.

    Thanks for the stretching advice; I'll try it. I've been doing spinal decompression work for about two months, and while it does get rid of general lower back tightness, the pain still persists. I think you might be right that I strained my quadratus lumborum: the pain is right near my spine, but it very clearly is not the spine itself.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by erigni View Post
    I've had it for probably about three or four months now. I began working a job that had me bending over a lot, which is when the pain began, but my back got used to the new stress within about three weeks, while the pain has persisted until now. It was around that time that I started to squat heavier (for me) as well, and since I am continuing to squat increasingly heavily and still feel the pain, I attribute the pain to the squats, not to the job.

    The pain is not severe, and at this point I only feel it when squatting and when flexing my lower back (going into an anterior pelvic tilt). My squat it pretty upright, or so I would like to believe: I almost don't feel myself leaning forward at all, although that doesn't conclusively prove that I'm not leaning forward too much, compared to someone naturally gifted for squatting.

    Thanks for the stretching advice; I'll try it. I've been doing spinal decompression work for about two months, and while it does get rid of general lower back tightness, the pain still persists. I think you might be right that I strained my quadratus lumborum: the pain is right near my spine, but it very clearly is not the spine itself.
    Have you tried lowering the weights significantly for a while or resting entirely? That's the thing most people never want to try.

    It sounds like this is more a combo of how you squat plus programming which might be revealing itself as your lift gets heavier, doesn't sound like a muscle imbalance. I suggest posting a form video from unrack to rerack & your program.
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    I had lower back issues caused partly by upper glute muscles which were not being trained through a full ROM. Hip abduction machine worked wonders for me. Of course YMMV
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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Have you tried lowering the weights significantly for a while or resting entirely? That's the thing most people never want to try.

    It sounds like this is more a combo of how you squat plus programming which might be revealing itself as your lift gets heavier, doesn't sound like a muscle imbalance. I suggest posting a form video from unrack to rerack & your program.
    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Have you tried lowering the weights significantly for a while or resting entirely? That's the thing most people never want to try.

    It sounds like this is more a combo of how you squat plus programming which might be revealing itself as your lift gets heavier, doesn't sound like a muscle imbalance. I suggest posting a form video from unrack to rerack & your program.
    My programming involves alternating between heavy weight and light weight each session. One week I go heavy, the next light. I've also skipped sessions often. None of this has helped to alleviate the pain.

    I don't want to post any footage of myself on the internet; but at the risk of sounding presumptuous (not my intention), I will say that my squat form is good. I'm not a novice lifter, and I've been squatting for a while. Early on, I had serious form problems with the exercise, so I know what a bad squat looks and feels like. Thankfully, I have basically overcome them, which is actually what led to me being able to progress to heavier weight. The pain only really comes when I unrack and rerack, though, now that you mention it. I don't feel it during the actual squat, or when the weight is just resting on my back. How should you safely unrack and rerack?
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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I had lower back issues caused partly by upper glute muscles which were not being trained through a full ROM. Hip abduction machine worked wonders for me. Of course YMMV
    Thank you. I will add this to the things I will try.
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    Originally Posted by erigni View Post
    My programming involves alternating between heavy weight and light weight each session. One week I go heavy, the next light. I've also skipped sessions often. None of this has helped to alleviate the pain.

    I don't want to post any footage of myself on the internet; but at the risk of sounding presumptuous (not my intention), I will say that my squat form is good. I'm not a novice lifter, and I've been squatting for a while. Early on, I had serious form problems with the exercise, so I know what a bad squat looks and feels like. Thankfully, I have basically overcome them, which is actually what led to me being able to progress to heavier weight. The pain only really comes when I unrack and rerack, though, now that you mention it. I don't feel it during the actual squat, or when the weight is just resting on my back. How should you safely unrack and rerack?
    Squat form includes the unrack & rerack, which is why I suggested a video. You sound like you have no doubt your squat form is perfect so I'll refrain from trying to guess at what I think you're likely doing wrong.
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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Squat form includes the unrack & rerack, which is why I suggested a video. You sound like you have no doubt your squat form is perfect so I'll refrain from trying to guess at what I think you're likely doing wrong.
    I never said it was perfect, I said it was good and gave several reasons why I believed so. The reason why I did this was that I don't want to post videos of myself on the Internet, so I tried the next best thing.

    However I would appreciate an answer from anybody on unrack and rerack a squat. I usually use a mini-squat to unrack (bracing of course), because I feel the strongest using my legs to help a little bit with the unrack. When reracking, for a long time I would do it in a lunging position with my left leg forward, just because it got the weight onto the pins the fastest. However, I realized that the pain was most intense when I rerack the weight exactly like that, so I decided to rerack with both feet under the bar, just like the unrack; but the pain is still there. A quick search on the internet yields no valuable results. Something drastic happened to the internet within the past two years; when I looked up anything related to exercise on the Internet years ago, the top results would be from T-Nation, Bodybuilding.com, Barbend, and all the other standard weightlifting sites. Now they're all from milquetoast commercial websites that provide no valuable information at all. This has happened with just about anything else I look up, whatever it is.
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    Originally Posted by erigni View Post
    I never said it was perfect, I said it was good and gave several reasons why I believed so. The reason why I did this was that I don't want to post videos of myself on the Internet, so I tried the next best thing.

    However I would appreciate an answer from anybody on unrack and rerack a squat. I usually use a mini-squat to unrack (bracing of course), because I feel the strongest using my legs to help a little bit with the unrack. When reracking, for a long time I would do it in a lunging position with my left leg forward, just because it got the weight onto the pins the fastest. However, I realized that the pain was most intense when I rerack the weight exactly like that, so I decided to rerack with both feet under the bar, just like the unrack; but the pain is still there. A quick search on the internet yields no valuable results. Something drastic happened to the internet within the past two years; when I looked up anything related to exercise on the Internet years ago, the top results would be from T-Nation, Bodybuilding.com, Barbend, and all the other standard weightlifting sites. Now they're all from milquetoast commercial websites that provide no valuable information at all. This has happened with just about anything else I look up, whatever it is.
    Your squat isn't good if you don't know how to properly unrack & rack & have back pain every time you do it. See your original post. No one has a sloppy unrack/rack & good squat form, it bleeds into the squat itself. Like I said before, you probably have improvements that can be made all around, and they're being revealed as you increase the weight.

    If you're looking for meaningful help, it's a lot easier to advise someone based on a video of what they're really doing than their own subjective verbal description. Some quick general advice based on stuff you might be doing:

    Unracking: Just get tight into squat position & squat up to unrack. Don't set up with your feet behind the bar. Don't lunge in any way either. Don't take a bunch of steps back.

    Racking: Don't start to re-rack as you're finishing your last rep. Finish the rep then walk forward until it hits the rack, drop it down. Don't lunge, don't rack with your feet behind the bar, don't put one side on at a time, etc.

    Internet & search engines: Works fine last time I checked.
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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Your squat isn't good if you don't know how to properly unrack & rack & have back pain every time you do it. See your original post. No one has a sloppy unrack/rack & good squat form, it bleeds into the squat itself. Like I said before, you probably have improvements that can be made all around, and they're being revealed as you increase the weight.

    If you're looking for meaningful help, it's a lot easier to advise someone based on a video of what they're really doing than their own subjective verbal description. Some quick general advice based on stuff you might be doing:

    Unracking: Just get tight into squat position & squat up to unrack. Don't set up with your feet behind the bar. Don't lunge in any way either. Don't take a bunch of steps back.

    Racking: Don't start to re-rack as you're finishing your last rep. Finish the rep then walk forward until it hits the rack, drop it down. Don't lunge, don't rack with your feet behind the bar, don't put one side on at a time, etc.

    Internet & search engines: Works fine last time I checked.
    Thank you for the information on unracking and reracking. I definitely need to work on my rerack. If the problem persists and becomes really troublesome, then I will probably violate my rule and post a video of myself. Have a good one.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by erigni View Post
    Thank you for the information on unracking and reracking. I definitely need to work on my rerack. If the problem persists and becomes really troublesome, then I will probably violate my rule and post a video of myself. Have a good one.
    There are editing software that can blur faces if that's your concern.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    There are editing software that can blur faces if that's your concern.
    I would cover my entire head in any case; but I don't want any part of myself on the Internet at all. Nevertheless, if the problem persists, I will violate this rule and post a video.
    Last edited by erigni; 09-22-2022 at 04:05 PM.
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    Coordination issue. Training for practice by terms of volume and frequency will address that. Training for hypertrophy by going to failure often or adhering to constant linear progression might distract a bit and also be causing/exacerbating the issue.
    Looks good when flexing Crew
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    Coordination issue. Training for practice by terms of volume and frequency will address that. Training for hypertrophy by going to failure often or adhering to constant linear progression might distract a bit and also be causing/exacerbating the issue.
    Thank you. This is possible. While I've never been diagnosed for scoliosis, some doctors questioned for a second whether I might have it.
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    Originally Posted by erigni View Post
    Thank you. This is possible. While I've never been diagnosed for scoliosis, some doctors questioned for a second whether I might have it.
    Anything that effects your posture I'd say can have an effect towards an unbalanced squat. People in general don't have pristine posture really, but problems surmount sooner if you're back muscles have a peculiar disposition.
    Looks good when flexing Crew
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    Registered User erigni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Your squat isn't good if you don't know how to properly unrack & rack & have back pain every time you do it. See your original post. No one has a sloppy unrack/rack & good squat form, it bleeds into the squat itself. Like I said before, you probably have improvements that can be made all around, and they're being revealed as you increase the weight.

    If you're looking for meaningful help, it's a lot easier to advise someone based on a video of what they're really doing than their own subjective verbal description. Some quick general advice based on stuff you might be doing:

    Unracking: Just get tight into squat position & squat up to unrack. Don't set up with your feet behind the bar. Don't lunge in any way either. Don't take a bunch of steps back.

    Racking: Don't start to re-rack as you're finishing your last rep. Finish the rep then walk forward until it hits the rack, drop it down. Don't lunge, don't rack with your feet behind the bar, don't put one side on at a time, etc.

    Internet & search engines: Works fine last time I checked.
    The rerack advice worked. I felt no pain at all squatting in my last session just by walking all the way up to the pins before letting the weight down. Thank you.
    Last edited by erigni; Today at 04:00 PM. Reason: Grammatical mistake
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    Originally Posted by erigni View Post
    The rerack advise worked. I felt no pain at all squatting in my last session just by walking all the way up to the pins before letting the weight down. Thank you.
    Yeah it sounded like you were reaching to place the bar on the pins, glad it helped.
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