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Back pain with low bar squats

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I've been squatting now for at least several months now. I'm at 265 lbs in terms of working weight and a high bar squat. I've read up on Rippetoe's low bar squats and tried them out yesterday. Warm up sets were fine but once I got heavy the back pain commenced. It's sore above the small of my back, where one would get a lower back tattoo (or tramp stamp! ;) ). It was sore all of yesterday after we left the gym and I couldn't sit or lie down or try to get up without some sort of pain. It starts to when I twist my back or am sitting for a lengthy period like driving. I have a stand up desk and it doesn't hurt to stand. I take it I went to heavy on the low bar squats way to quickly. Once the pain is gone, I will return to squatting but a most likely stick with my high bar squats unless someone has a better suggestion. From what I understand, the low bar squat engages more of your hamstrings and posterior chain than high bar ones. I'd like to get the most bang for my squat but don't want to come out with back pains because of it. Thanks again guys! And if your wondering, I've had no major groin pains to contend with!

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In all seriousness, it sounds like you're letting the bar go too far forward. Trying to "good morning" your squat weight is most likely going to leave you with back pain like that. Low bar is a different beast to high bar with completely different mechanics, so you're going to have to learn form all over again.

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Yeah, I tried low-bar for one set and it wasn't pretty. Keeping the bar over your feet means you get into the hole in a completely different position than the high-bar squat. There's a good graphic I saw in another thread that explains it well, but heck if I remember where it is. I'm sure somebody has it...

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Ya, I figured I was doing something wrong like leaning too far forward when I was trying to concentrate on driving my hip out of the hole. I got the idea of low bar squats after reading something that Rippetoe wrote, about how he learned how to squat with a buddy in a uni gym and seeing some old guy squatting or something like that. It had that graphic too. I also figured I'd need to relearn how to low bar squat. Might just stick to high bars for now. Soreness is still there and it's 10:28 EDT but definitely not as bad as yesterday!

Thanks guys!

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I have to agree with El Danger on this one. If your high bar was going well, don't mix it up.

If you're going low bar, the key thought is to raise your chest at the same time as your hips. The reason you fall into the good morning is because you're focusing on getting the hips up and forget that there is a whole lot of weight leveraged out in front of you.

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I'm sure you'd be fine if you lowered the weight a bit to get used to the form; without knowing and seeing more it sounds like you've just used your back more than normal, so it's sore. If it's something you want to pursue, you can probably get the hang of it without losing much progress.

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I've had lower back pain for a good 6 or 7 years now. It stems largely from my hamstrings being really inflexible (the only inflexible muscles I have). Anyways, when squatting there are a few things I've noticed regarding back pain. I'm more apt to feel pain if I squat with a narrow stance as opposed to a wide one. I also get more pain if I go ATG instead of just parallel, which sucks because I love ATG squats. If your back is hurting a lot the first step is usually to lower the weight though. Mine usually subsides within a few days but it can really screw up some workouts.

In the future try to loosen your back and legs up with some stretching/yoga, and maybe work on your lower back strength with good mornings or hyper extensions. I've found the harder I try to hit my lower back in isolation exercises, the less it hurts during compounds.

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I've had lower back pain for a good 6 or 7 years now. It stems largely from my hamstrings being really inflexible (the only inflexible muscles I have).

Try doing a side split. I bet your hip flexors are tight. You don't need to have a full side split, but if your hip flexors are tight, they will pull on the lower back, which can lead to some back pain. You can compare this with pushups where you're arching out, that often leads to some lower back pain as well because the hip flexors try to help out with the pushup.

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