The squat, when performed correctly, is one of the most useful tools in strengthening important spinal stabilizers. However, when performed incorrectly can actually contribute to low back pain and injury.
Avoid these common mistakes when performing the squat to protect your low back and avoid injury.
1. Initiating the Squat
The squat needs to be initiated by sending the hips back. One of the most common patterning faults we see is individuals who initiate the squat by unlocking at the knees.
Initiating the squat at the knees puts increased load on the anterior aspect of the knee and will cause the trunk to fall forward (picture on the right), leading to increaed loads on the spine.
2. Bottom of the Squat
The bottom of the squat is the most vulnerable position for our low back. Sinking lower than our body is capable causes our pelvis to roll backward in what is known as the 'butt-wink' position. This puts our spine in a very unstable position and overtime, will lead to low back pain.
Moral of the story: Never sacrifice depth for good form.
Note: there are many variations to the squat exercise, all of which require slightly different movements and patterning. In this article we are referring to air squat or back squats.