mid/lower back gives out on squats

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    mid/lower back gives out on squats


    im having a problem lately. when i squat, and start to fail its my mid/lower back area. it fails and i start to hunch over. i could still push more with my legs and glutes but my back is the weak link in the chain. what can i do to work on this. i was thinking of goodmornings or maybe stiff legged deadlifts. i really concentrate on my form so im confident my form is pretty solid throughout the movement. i keep my lower back arched and tight. i squat back and down pushing my butt out then down and i squeeze the bar hard and look about 30 degrees over my head. i would appreciate any help/suggestions that you guys might have. thanks
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    2 things are likely happening - your lower back needs more strength, or you have a weak upper back that doesn't keep upright, so you lean over more and you getting stapled to the floor. To cover both bases, I would recommend standing and sitting good mornings. I would not go heavy on the seated good mornings, just work up to a set of 8 or more. Standing GM will help your lower back and hip thrust a lot, so that should take care of that. You may alternate standing GM with rack pulls, too.

    And as always, make sure to follow the basic tenents of the squat: chest out, pinch shoulder blades together, straighten/arch lower back. Take the bar out, and look up (don't hyperextend, just look up as opposed to forward or down). To begin, sit back, knees out, and chest up. Arch the back when you hit parallel/whatever your aiming for to help generate that upwards motion. I know you said form was perfect, but it's still good to reiterate these points.
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    I am going to say the oppostie of Torobestia. I am thinking your abs/obliques/serratus and everything up front is weak. When my core was weak I would naturally have bent over squats like that to put the weight over the strongest muscle group I had.... the lower back. Once I religiously trained the core then my squats sorted themselves out in a hurry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    2 things are likely happening - your lower back needs more strength, or you have a weak upper back that doesn't keep upright, so you lean over more and you getting stapled to the floor. To cover both bases, I would recommend standing and sitting good mornings. I would not go heavy on the seated good mornings, just work up to a set of 8 or more. Standing GM will help your lower back and hip thrust a lot, so that should take care of that. You may alternate standing GM with rack pulls, too.

    And as always, make sure to follow the basic tenents of the squat: chest out, pinch shoulder blades together, straighten/arch lower back. Take the bar out, and look up (don't hyperextend, just look up as opposed to forward or down). To begin, sit back, knees out, and chest up. Arch the back when you hit parallel/whatever your aiming for to help generate that upwards motion. I know you said form was perfect, but it's still good to reiterate these points.
    bump this, sounds a lower back strength issue.
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    This sounds like the reason for your over problem of not getting the weight off the floor with heavy reads.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlinteris View Post
    I am going to say the oppostie of Torobestia. I am thinking your abs/obliques/serratus and everything up front is weak. When my core was weak I would naturally have bent over squats like that to put the weight over the strongest muscle group I had.... the lower back. Once I religiously trained the core then my squats sorted themselves out in a hurry.
    I agree with this. You should learn to tighten up your midsection while squatting. Inhale and push all the air into your diaphragm pushing out against your belt (if you squat with one). This locks everything into place. If you suck in a deep breath and hold it in your chest, your lacking support in your midsection. I threw a 100# onto my squat by learning and practicing this technique. Hope this helps. Could also be weak lower back also. Im not saying it isnt your lower back, but could be your abs and breathing also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drinkyboy View Post
    I agree with this. You should learn to tighten up your midsection while squatting. Inhale and push all the air into your diaphragm pushing out against your belt (if you squat with one). This locks everything into place. If you suck in a deep breath and hold it in your chest, your lacking support in your midsection. I threw a 100# onto my squat by learning and practicing this technique. Hope this helps. Could also be weak lower back also. Im not saying it isnt your lower back, but could be your abs and breathing also.
    I agree with this -- and the fact that your lower back likely needs some work. These kinds of problems are precisely the reason why I believe that lifting belts are a hinderance to squats rather than a benefit. You need a strong core for proper squats, and in the meanwhile just bump down the weight until you can do it comfortably and go below parallel.

    Another issue is likely your height. Squats get exponentially more difficult if you're 6'0" or taller, due to leverage issues. Something that might help is to put a couple plates on the ground to stand on with your heels. This will shift your balance forward a bit, and result in more focus on your quads, rather than your back/hamstrings. Here's Arnold giving an example (though he appears to be dipping his back forward a bit, but can't blame him with that weight..): http : // ablog4guys . com /wp-content/uploads/2009/03/arnold-squatting.jpg (remove the spaces)
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    Core strength could also be an issue. I would be interested in knowing how you do with deadlifts. I feel if you deadlift pretty well (you feel you don't have any real problems with it) then it's more of an upper back issue. If not, then I would first concentrate on your core strength (abs and lower back). But I wouldn't waste my time with oblique and serratus exercises.

    For abs, I really like standing ab work, so maybe hit the lat pulldown and do ab curls with either some sort of straight bar or rope. Stick to heavier sets - 6-12 reps, would not do more than 12 on a regular basis. I suggested lower back work earlier - some people like stuff like hypers and reverse hypers, up to you what you do for lower back. And then otherwise work on your breathing, making sure to keep that air in your belly and not the lungs (if this doesn't make sense, take a look at what drinkboy said).
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    Like alot of others said, back and abs. Focusing on these things will increase ur squat tremendously. Look up some basic powerlifting routines and u will see how much back and ab work is involved to have an impressive squat. Not just for moving weight, but having perfect form while doing it. Goodmornings, glute ham raises, hypers, reverse hypers, pulldown abs, partial deads. Gotta have a strong back and core to keep up with those legs.
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    Dave Lipson recommended yoke walks for the all-in-one core corrective-strength exercise. Really though? lol. I guess if you have the utilities ...
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    Stop trying to go so heavy and concentrate on getting a full range of motion with your core tightened the whole time. Work on abs as well, and you can do rack pulls to work on your lower back strength. Your core is giving out, its hard to say what exactly is the culprit but it could be your lower back, your abs, or a combination of both. JMO
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    You guys might not have seen his other post about his problems getting his heavy reads off the floor. He said he can rack dead 500 from knee height but can't get it off the floor. Don't know if any of you responded to that thread or not but seems like the same problem hindering both exercises.
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    Quote Originally Posted by owlicks View Post
    I agree with this -- and the fact that your lower back likely needs some work. These kinds of problems are precisely the reason why I believe that lifting belts are a hinderance to squats rather than a benefit. You need a strong core for proper squats, and in the meanwhile just bump down the weight until you can do it comfortably and go below parallel.

    Another issue is likely your height. Squats get exponentially more difficult if you're 6'0" or taller, due to leverage issues. Something that might help is to put a couple plates on the ground to stand on with your heels. This will shift your balance forward a bit, and result in more focus on your quads, rather than your back/hamstrings. Here's Arnold giving an example (though he appears to be dipping his back forward a bit, but can't blame him with that weight..): http : // ablog4guys . com /wp-content/uploads/2009/03/arnold-squatting.jpg (remove the spaces)
    You guys realize that his body is failing on the front cauing him to lean forward and putting MORE weight on his lower back in which he is handling. I think his lower back is fine. I still say that this is completely a core issue.

    As for putting plates under your heels, I do not recommend that either. Simply widen your stance a tiny bit, point your toes out a little bit more and start your rep leading with your ass. I am 6'2 and used to squat silly like that until I figured out how to squat correctly. You do not want to put all the stress on your quads. You want your glutes and hamstrings to easily do just as much work as your quads. So start a little wider and as you gain more achilles flexibility, you can bring your stance closer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlinteris View Post
    You guys realize that his body is failing on the front cauing him to lean forward and putting MORE weight on his lower back in which he is handling. I think his lower back is fine. I still say that this is completely a core issue.

    As for putting plates under your heels, I do not recommend that either. Simply widen your stance a tiny bit, point your toes out a little bit more and start your rep leading with your ass. I am 6'2 and used to squat silly like that until I figured out how to squat correctly. You do not want to put all the stress on your quads. You want your glutes and hamstrings to easily do just as much work as your quads. So start a little wider and as you gain more achilles flexibility, you can bring your stance closer.

    i have to say, i agree with you completely. my abs have always been a weak point and i dont give them the attention that they deserve. my abs are very weak and im aso very, very tight. i do stretch everyday but i have ALOT of knots and being so tall it makes the problem worse. when iw ake up in the morning it takes about 3 hours before i feel somewhat loose. im all cramped up.

    but to everyone who responded, thank you. i didnt think id get so many replies. i really dont think its my lower back. i think my back is my strongest point and when i always make the best strength increases in lifts like pulls and DL's.

    i always mean to incorporate ab work but by the time im done with my WO im so physically drained i just wanna get out of there. seeing everyones replies though, its clear that it is my weak abs and thats what im moving forward because the front of my structure cant support the weight so naturally the weakest side will collapse..

    thanks alot everyone who replied. i appreciate it
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