The slope of the sacrum at the base of the spine went to 68 degrees during the back squat versus 58 degrees doing a front squat. Focusing on things like leg presses, leg extensions, and lunges is a far more effective way to build great legs. So here’s what to do… Join the 30 Day Squat Challenge! The back squat, where the bar is across the upper back and shoulders was the most troubling. It's practically in direct contact with the vertebra. First of all, remember my Mathology Doctorate. Tight muscles and limited range of movement in joints, particularly the ankles. The reduced emphasis on your lower-back muscles doesn't necessarily mean there's less pressure on your spine when hack squatting. If you don’t “fire,” or brace, your abs and your lats when you’re squatting, your back will round instead of maintaining an upright torso, and that can lead to back pain. ", "I know this dude whose friend went to school with a navy seal who says squats suck", "Olde time strongmen didn't do squats. Plus, steroids. The barbell back squat can injure your back, especially if you lean forward during the movement. Bracing your abs is as simple as breathing into … The squat is also a back exercise, because it is best performed with a more horizontal back angle than is typically recognized as correct by less-experienced exercise trainers. Your knees should never pass over your toes and your back should remain straight, not hunched. Second, you're probably all on steroids. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and as you dip down, imagine yourself sitting in a chair. Deep squatting has been shown to be an effective training exercise for protection against injuries and strengthening of the lower extremity. Poor technique 3. This is just stupid. Now don’t get me wrong, squatting done incorrectly can be traumatic and stressful to your body. The reason why some trainers say it does is because squatting with your heels elevated basically eliminates ankle dorsiflexion (when you bend at your ankle). There are several reasons why this may happen: 1. Even a lot of guys complain about the bar being sore on their backs when they are new to squatting. Not sure how to squat? It’s important to remember that how low you can squat, and how low you should squat with a barbell on your back are two different things. Your lumbar (lower) spine can be in one of three positions at the bottom of a squat—or during any other movement for that matter: extension, neutral, or flexion. It has been suggested that deep squats could cause an increased injury risk of the lumbar spine and the knee joints. 5. As human beings we were MADE to squat! The Box Squat is one hell of a teaching tool to perfect a hip dominant pattern. Even today in many parts of Asia, Africa and South America, squatting is still a very common resting position. Happy April Fools' Day, fool! We’re keeping it super simple:  10 squats, 3x per day. Squats are also helpful for burning fat, strengthening your knee, hip, and ankle joints, and boosting your core strength, which can help ease lower back pain and make twisting and bending easier. Maybe you’ve tried squatting with plates under your heels, placed the bar lower or higher on your back, or used special curved bars to try and work around your lack of squat-worthiness. It's not like the ability to exert force using a rigid, neutral trunk and activating the musculature of the hips, knees, and torso is ever going to come about in everyday life. The back squat involves placing a weighted barbell across the backs of your shoulders as you bend your hips and knees to move toward the floor. Press play for a complete explanation. When done properly, squatting is an excellent way to build mobility, strength, and stamina throughout your whole body and it is a super-important movement for the spine to function properly. We are talking about the chances that your spine with shear in half if you bend over when squatting, which is slim to none. Idk, even though people say they aren't, there has been deemed 'facts' in the past that have been debunked. E: info@mykanatachiropractor.com, 6 Steps To Make Your Kids More Productive, Why Prolonged Sitting May Be Worse Than You Think, 10 Tips to Get Your Protein At Every Meal, 5 Simple Exercises To Protect Your Spine When You Can’t Get to Your Chiropractor. In reality, the exact opposite is true since hollowing your core decreases spinal stability and significantly increases your risk of lower back injury. I know some of you trolls out there are going to say that these are only nine reasons. Therefore, heavy squats will hurt athletic performance. The challenge with them is that 80% of people that do squat, do so badly. I just don't see how having 200 pounds of weight squeezing onto your spine is safe. I dare you to find one. All those lifters who used squats were on steroids, and that's the only reason they got results. Your information is private and confidential. It would be different if there were some kind of muscle group there, maybe trapezoidal in shape, that could form a cushion between the bar and your delicate spinal structure; but since that hasn't yet been discovered, this statement is 100 percent accurate. It’s practically in direct contact with the vertebra. Assuming you don't bounce off something hard at the bottom of the squat, the spinal compression forces are extremely low and should present no risk unless you have a pre-existing spinal injury. And as a movement, in order to squat this weight, your spine will be loaded and you will complete the movement as fluidly as possible, pain free. It’s … You may regularly include the back squat in your lower body workout routine. He says that as long as one can maintain a safe and stable spine while squatting, pain and the risk of injury shouldn’t be a problem. Then START HERE and learn more about The Wellness Group! I won't bore you by actually explaining what any of that means in terms that any normal person could actually understand. Bodybuilding.com℠ and BodySpace® are trademarks of Bodybuilding.com. A Certified Life By DesignChiropractic Office, I bet if I asked you “What is more risky for your body, squatting or sitting?” you would say “well squatting, obviously.”  And, I can understand why…. If they didn't do them, you don't need to do them. In addition, because front squats generally require less weight to get the same effect on the body, they put less compressive and shear force on the knees, lowering the risk of meniscus or ligament damage. There are different variations of the squat, but in barbell training, two types are the most common: the high-bar squat and the low-bar squat. You hear common complaints of squatting being bad for the knees and the lower back. Plus, the physics says so. Enter your question below and one of our Doctors will get back to you within 48hrs. First time visitor? Therefore, it is vital that you maintain a neutral lower back when squatting. Build Your Squatting Flexibility - There is a fair amount of flexibility required from the ankles, hips and low back in proper squatting posture, particularly of you want to hold the posture for a while. Here are 10 reasons why this is so: We all know this to be true, especially if you squat anywhere near to parallel. If you’re reading this article, it’s no doubt you’re currently suffering lower back pain from doing squats. TAKE A FEW DAYS TO REST AND AVOID ACTIVITIES THAT CAUSE YOUR BACK TO GET SORE. We all know this to be true, especially if you squat anywhere near to parallel. Don't be an April fool. But there’s good news: you have the capacity to regain this movement in adulthood. They can sit in a squat with bum down, chest up for minutes at a time, without effort. Squatting is a completely healthy and normal movement that if done properly is an extremely powerful exercise. Just look at the name: back squat. Why Squats are Bad for You… 10/08/2016 Share this Squats have the power to ‘make’ or ‘break’ you… Okely dokely I must admit i’m guilty of this… always raving about how amazing squats are! Squatting more than once per month will totally burn out your CNS and lead to overtraining. Say you’re squatting 400 pounds. Be the first to receive exciting news, features, and special offers from Bodybuilding.com! The “horizontalization” of the sacrum during the squat lift makes those working out highly damaging causing fractures in the lumbar spine. Most of us have lost this ability due to the ‘use it or lose it’ principle. 5777 N Meeker Ave, Boise, ID 83713-1520 USA. Chris Smith is a strength coach from New York City and the founder of Train Better Fitness. This is just stupid. Squats Require You to Place a Loaded Barbell on Top of Your Spine! While there is a certain amount of shear stress at each vertebral level, remember that the spine is extremely strong and built to withstand this type of stress with very strong ligaments and large muscles. When done properly, squatting is an excellent way to build mobility, strength, and stamina throughout your whole body and it is a super-important movement for the spine to function properly. This in part relating to something called the wrapping effect. Suffice it to say back squats are terrible for your spine. This is achieved through bracing your core, and therefore stabilizing your spine. The content on our website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. Carrying a heavy load—or even a relatively light one—with the lumbar in flexion is unquestionably dangerous. It's practically in direct contact … The Bulgarians were all on steroids. The straighter you can keep your back, the better. Therefore, nothing you have to say regarding training is evenly remotely applicable to us natty lifters. So why waste your time? This is why people with restricted ankle dorsiflexion feel like they can keep their knees and torso in better alignment when using a heel lift. Unfortunately this suggestion has not taken the influence of the wrapping effect, functional adaptations and soft tissue contact between the back of thigh and calf into account. No sport outside of powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, or CrossFit requires you to place a load on your back and lift it straight up. But the increased spinal compression that is exaggerated due to the force of the box makes this squat variation notoriously tough on the lower back, causing aches, pains and injuries at the lumbar spine and SI joint.. 2. But a properly performed squat – the way we are designed to “sit” – is not only safe, it is one of the most fundamental movements we can (and need to) do as humans. I wish it were true, but unfortunately it isn't. When performed properly, squatting is unlikely to result in injury. They are reckless, dangerous, and an inefficient use of your time. To help maintain spinal alignment, look forward as you move through the squat and avoid looking up, which can break neutral position of your cervical spine (neck) How to Relieve Your Lower Back Pain. Again, your body naturally had this flexibility at one point, and would still have it if you hadn't spent decades sitting in chairs. Unlike the back squat, if you lean too far forward on a front squat you’ll drop the weight, so you have no choice but to keep your spine and pelvis upright. Therefore, squats are not a functional exercise. If they didn't do them, you don't need to do them.". "Squats hurt your knees. “Your spine should avoid extreme movement, because it’s meant to stabilize your body. © 2020 Bodybuilding.com. However, the spine is the most vulnerable of the joints during squatting and you may experience pain here. for the few million years prior,  squatting, kneeling and lounging on the ground was our most common way of resting. Avoiding deep flexion has been recommended to minimize the magnitude of knee-joint forces. Saying squats are bad for your knees is such a silly thing when you think about it. This is normal as your body is responding to weight be added to your body. When squatting, depending on how much weight you are using, there will be compression of your spine. The fact of the matter is, that squatting is not only NOT BAD for you but it’s actually really beneficial and I might even say necessary. We’ve been taught that squatting is dangerous… a sure-fire way to hurt your back and knees…sitting, on the other hand, must be safe because, well, we sit all the time and nothing bad happens right? You need to train the small, assistance muscles in order to pull the skin closer to the muscle anyway. Weakness of the core or other surrounding muscles 4. Back squats have had a bad reputation amongst some people for a long time. Incorrect or ill-fitting footwear, providing inadequate arch support 6. Nobody in the history of lifting has ever been successful by squatting more than once per week max. You're better off doing basically anything else. “Squatting is bad for your back,” this is one of the more common things I hear from patients and it is normally relayed to them by a health professional. How to Stop Lower Back Rounding Every time you get out of a chair/take a dump/get out of your car – that’s a squat. A common piece of advice trainers will give to their clients is that they should hollow their spine and draw their belly inward while squatting. You already squat multiple times every day: getting out of bed, going up and down from a chair, going to the bathroom, getting in and out of your car…. Access our super-popular dynamic mobility program that will help reduce pain, improve your mobility and ultimately get you moving toward the healthy body you want! Whereas, squatting with your feet flat forces your ankles to move into dorsiflexion. Enter your details below and one of our assistants will get back to you within 48hrs. • Squats require you to place a loaded barbell on top of your spine! For example squats work the entire leg region and they also have the potential to burn a ton of calories! It is also complete nonsense. This back angle allows the bar to stay over the middle of the foot -- the body's natural center of balance against the floor. This is particularly true of the hack squat machine. Not to mention it’s a great strategy to help manage any back pain you may be dealing with. Anyone who says differently is probably on steroids. It’s true the squat is a fantastic exercise for a multitude of reasons. If you need any further evidence that the squat is a highly efficient and comfortable resting position…  Just watch a group of toddlers! The main reason you may suffer lower-back pain when squatting is due to your spinal position. The chair only became a common household item about 400 years ago. The primary cause of lower back pain when doing a squat is a bad technique. When lifting weights, your core muscles should be engaged with the help of neutral spine. The squat is bad for your back. No worries, there is a regression called the Goblet Squat that is just as beneficial. These dudes were jacked and strong, and we're all pussies nowadays because we don't do anything they used to do, including putting extra Es on of the ende of stuffe that doesn't neede it. Previous injury to the lower back 2. Any exercise is bad for your back as it exposes it to a higher risk of being injured than sitting on the couch. Join the 30 Day Squat Challenge! If that’s too easy, keep adding 1 rep each day until you hit your limit. Does anyone have any scientific evidence that squats are indeed safe for your spine? But despite all that, you still come away from a squat session with aches and pains, or worse. When doing a squat, make sure that your legs -- not your back -- are doing the heavy lifting. Step back from the rack and save your knees and spine from the dreaded squat! P: 613.271.8555 Somewhere along the line people decided even though there are bachelors, masters, and PhD's in exercise science, anyone can be an expert if they read enough articles. That’s it. All rights reserved. Squats aren’t bad of your knees…the way you are doing them is bad for your knees. Because there were no steroids back then. Here’s What You Need To Know… 1. Crucify me if you want, but I can promise you the anterior spinal compression created during a deadlift is a BAD thing for a spine with posterior deficit (ie your herniation). Everyone knows that lifts that move slow make you slow. If you over-arch or round your back when squatting, you place pressure on your spinal discs, which can result in lower back injuries such as a herniated disc. If my math is correct—and according to my doctorate in Mathology from the Correspondence College of Nigeria, it is—the following formula illustrates my point perfectly: L2*Sq=(R3/3I)531. Do 10 squats before your breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is well documented that squats are a horrible exercise choice for anyone who actually cares about their body. From my experience, if you can do them well, back squats are a tremendous exercise to add into your routine. Don’t ditch the Box Squat quite yet. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program or taking any dietary supplement. All of those Olympic weightlifters, pro athletes, powerlifters and bodybuilders who squat all the way down are genetic outliers with divinely engineered knee joints. Boyle says that you’ve not … Not to mention it’s a great strategy to help manage any back pain you may be dealing with. Nobody. 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