Lower back pain on squats..only on smith machine

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    JoeySon's Avatar
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    Lower back pain on squats..only on smith machine


    So I go to a few different gyms in my area because I'm a busy guy (work, school, gf, ect.) and some of the gyms I go to don't have a squat rack. I understand the Importance of squatting so I still wanna do it but sometimes on leg day I end up at one of these gyms.

    I feel fine squatting normally but whenever I use the machine I get pretty intense lower back pain that lingers for a couple days and my form just feels very weird.

    Anybody have any suggestions?

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    The fact it would restrict your form, it's very understandable it could hurt.

    You might try your luck with front squats.
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    If you don't have access to free barbells that you can load up, you might just want to adjust your squatting movement when on the Smith machine. You can really tear up your quads if you squat with feet together and far enough out that when your hamstrings are parallel to the floor your knees are making 90 degree angles. Much less ham/glute recruitment, but it'll fire up the quads!

    I think KK is right about the restricted ROM causing your pain - just experiment with your technique and you should be able to find something that doesn't hurt.

    Does the gym without a squat rack have a leg press?
    Go hard. Go heavy. Never stop.
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    Squating on a smith machine is different than free squating. In the smith machine I find I have to lean back slightly into the bar i.e. my feet will be a couple of inches in front of the bar. If I don't do this then I have the same issues as you with the back pain. It feels weird at first but give it a try with a light weight and you should find you have a fuller ROM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warsteiner
    Squating on a smith machine is different than free squating. In the smith machine I find I have to lean back slightly into the bar i.e. my feet will be a couple of inches in front of the bar. If I don't do this then I have the same issues as you with the back pain. It feels weird at first but give it a try with a light weight and you should find you have a fuller ROM.
    This. Squatting on smith is almost like hack squats. And feet are out in front of hips.
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    Not a big fan of squating w/ a smith machine but if I do I will use it for front squats only.. If your gym does not have squat racks you can always kill it on the leg press and than do some walking lunges if there's room. If not you can still do unilateral lunges.. Lunges would be a great alternative
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    Had legs today and tried a couple of the variations u guys suggested. Sticking my feet out didn't help much as it only seemed to put more pressure on my lower back. However, front squats seemed to help a little. The stance and motion felt weird but that's likely just from never really doing them. The only downside is I was not able to do much weight at all and it was difficult keeping the bar flipped over (preventing it from racking back and latching)

    Thanks for the input guys I'll keep trying to figure this out
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    if you are going to do front squats learn to clean it from the floor. and dont worry about the weight. it will still work the body quite well. there are some athletic trainers that believe the front squat is a superior lift then back squats for performance reasons.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    Simple solution: actually squat with a barbell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RicFlair View Post
    Simple solution: actually squat with a barbell.


    While I agree with this, OP says sometimes he does not have access to a squat rack.

    You could try using dumbbells also, and do higher reps when you don't have access to the rack. Lunges were also mentions and a great alternative. And then when you can use the squat rack, hit it heavy and hard.

    What does your program look like?
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    Squats on the smith machine is terrible on your back,
    It forces you into an unnatural plain of alignment.
    Better to do front squats or dumbbell squats if you don't have access to a squat rack.
    Peace
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogyman View Post
    While I agree with this, OP says sometimes he does not have access to a squat rack.

    You could try using dumbbells also, and do higher reps when you don't have access to the rack. Lunges were also mentions and a great alternative. And then when you can use the squat rack, hit it heavy and hard.

    What does your program look like?
    Yea that was the point of this thread I don't always get to use a barbell and a rack lol

    As far as a routine I'm still mapping it out and it depends which gym I'm at. My gf lives a little over an hour away and if I go to the one in her town there is no rack but the gym in my town has one.

    As far as alternatives I think the front squat is likely the best option I just need to work on form.
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    you can always steinborn squat.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    must be youfit or planet fitness. this is good info. I used to be at that type of gym up untill recently
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    Quote Originally Posted by cokeholio View Post
    must be youfit or planet fitness. this is good info. I used to be at that type of gym up untill recently
    Yup planet fitness lol
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    I think it's your body recognizing you shouldn't be in a smith machine. Solution - free weights barbell squat.
    Former Marine, UT-BSN, NSCA-CPT, NASM-CPT, CSCS
  

  
 

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