What Causes Low Back Pain After Squats?

What Causes Low Back Pain After Squats

Usually, experiencing low back pain after squats is a sign that your form is not good. When you have poor form with a squat, the weight is transferred to your back rather than your glutes and quads.

Let's talk about why you're having back pain after squats, and how to avoid it.

First of all, squats are not a bad or particularly dangerous exercise. Squats are a great exercise to strengthen your legs and build your gluteal muscles. Because they work multiple muscles in one exercise, squats are a core exercise to many routines.

However, if you aren't doing them correctly, they could actually cause stress on your lumbar (the lowest segment of your spine) and lead to low back pain, or worse, disc herniation. To get rid of the aches and pains and continue with this fantastic exercise, follow these tips.

Start in the Right Position

Adopt a squatting position with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Gently shift your weight to your heels, with your knees aligned directly above your toes. You can use a wall or doorway for reference. Keep your head aligned with your spine and your chest lifted.

Don't Go Too Fast

Slowly ease yourself into the squat position, really paying attention to how your body feels. Don't "throw" yourself into the squat, or you could injure your lower back. Going too fast causes you to forget about form. If you're just worried about getting down and up, you won't pay attention to what your body is doing. Usually this leads to hunching your back and leaning forward, which is not good.

If it's your first time with this exercise, start with shallow squats, going only slightly past the knees. Work your way up to full squats and really focus on how your back feels with each squat. Use a slow and deliberate pace to really listen to your body.

Keep Your Weight on Your Heels

Keep the pressure on your heels when you squat. Don't let the pressure shift to your toes. This causes your knees to go beyond your feet, which will tilt your hips forward, putting more stress on your lumbar.

Keep your knees aligned over your feet, with your shins perpendicular to the floor. This will help your knees stay in line with your feet, instead of shifting forward. If you have knee pain, it could be a sign of patellofemoral syndrome, where the kneecap doesn't track properly. Try squatting with the knees slightly wider than hip-width apart.

Stretch After Squats

And don't forget to stretch your upper and lower back after you finish your squats. If you have lower back pain, you should consult a physiotherapist or doctor before resuming squats, as there could be underlying issues. Squats are an excellent exercise for strengthening the lower body and core, but they can cause lower back pain if done incorrectly. If you follow these tips and modify your squatting motion when needed, you can avoid low back pain from squats.

Try an Alternate Exercise

If you're struggling with your squats and you're worried about your back, there are a few ways to target the same muscles. A barbell squat can be more difficult to execute while maintaining form because you also have to balance the bar.

Consider moving from a barbell squat to a squat while holding a kettlebell. Another alternative would be a leg press. Most gyms have this machine. In this case, you're seated while working the same muscles, which reduces the risk of back injury.


If you're feeling low back pain after squats, stop the exercise and assess what's going on. Many times, you're feeling pain because your form is bad. However, you may have an underlying back condition that's leading to the pain. Don't be afraid to see a chiropractor to make sure that nothing is physically wrong with you. 

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