Squat form check - rounding lower back Squat form check - rounding lower back

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Thread: Squat form check - rounding lower back

  1. #1
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    Default Squat form check - rounding lower back

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    Hey all,

    I'm getting back into lifting after about a year layoff. I've tried Starting Strength several times in the past decade or so; I always get my squat up to about 225lbs then inevitably hurt my lower back and quit. Trying really hard this time to work on form. Please see the attached video - this is my third set at 120lbs. I can't seem to hit depth without rounding my lower back, even with an empty bar or warm-up weights. What am I doing wrong?

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    what did YOU say ?

  4. #4
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    Hey Rip,

    Thanks for responding. I read through the linked article and watched the associated videos. Afterwards I took a video to see if I could arch my lower back correctly while standing - turns out that I can. However when I do a bodyweight squat, it's extremely difficult for me to maintain an arch near the bottom of the squat. It takes a ton of concentration to stay arched and my lower back cramps up. Is this just a strength issue? If so, are there exercises I should do prior to attempting to barbell squat again?

  5. #5
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    Get your knees out more and get your hips back at the bottom. You're currently relaxing to hit depth.

    Just for future reference, almost no one needs to do other exercises prior to barbell squatting. It's almost always a technique issue.

  6. #6
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    Here's another video of today's session at 125lbs. I tried hard to keep everything tight, knees out, hips back. It doesn't feel to me like I am relaxing at the bottom, although the video says otherwise. Is this actually an issue, or does it just look like my back is rounding cause I have no ass muscle?

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  7. #7
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    You look like you're clenching your ass as you set up for the rep, right before the descent. Don't do that. It makes it near impossible to get your back to stay in neutral extension when you do that.
    Are you clear on how to control your low back? Have you watched the Low Back Position Control video on YouTube? Give that a watch and see if you can get the back set before each rep and keep it there. Then just keep adding weight and hit depth consistently to build those "ass muscles". Second in importance only to the abz.

  8. #8
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    Pete - I watched the lower back position control video on youtube and took a bunch of videos to make sure I was doing it correctly. I don't seem to have any issues with controlling the lower back. However, I cant stop my lower back from rounding near the bottom of the squat even though I'm staying as tight as possible. Doesn't matter if its a bodyweight squat or work sets - it really feels like its a structural issue that I cant control.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mch2015 View Post
    Here's another video of today's session at 125lbs. I tried hard to keep everything tight, knees out, hips back. It doesn't feel to me like I am relaxing at the bottom, although the video says otherwise. Is this actually an issue, or does it just look like my back is rounding cause I have no ass muscle?

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    You didn't read the article I posted for you. This irritates me.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    You didn't read the article I posted for you. This irritates me.
    I've always assumed that irritation is your baseline emotion.

    Regardless, I did read the entire article and watched all associated videos. I found that I have no problem with lower back control and lumbar extension. The problem is that I have lumbar flexion at the bottom of the squat even though I am not relaxing those muscles, even without any load.

    The article says that "there is quite a bit of variability in the normal lordotic position" and "a little bit of spinal flexion under a load is not an anatomical catastrophe". If I am trying to hold lumbar extension as much as possible and still flexing at the bottom of the squat, should I just assume that this is normal for me, or am I still doing something wrong?

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