Why Bodyweight Squats Hurt Your Lower Back And How To Fix It!

Nothing is more frustrating than starting a workout routine in hopes of improving your lower back pain and even the most basic of movements like the bodyweight squat hurts your back. 

Like seriously…what in the world are you supposed to do when something as simple as a bodyweight squat hurts your lower back!?

Well, this is a reality for a lot of people, and depending on your sensitivity at the moment these could feel completely out of the question or you’re afraid to do them again and cause another 2-week flare-up. 

In this week’s video, I break down the bodyweight squat and show you exactly how to find the perfect squat form that fits your body type and level of discomfort. So if bodyweight squats hurt your lower back you are going to want to check this video out! 

How Come I Get Lower Back Pain With Bodyweight Squats?

So there are lots of reasons why bodyweight squats could be hurting your lower back but we can take a very simple approach to this and give you somewhere to start. 

This video above will break this down into actionable steps but essentially we have to look at a few things. 

Common Reasons Bodyweight Squats Are Causing Lower Back Pain

  • Not understanding the mechanics of the squat. 
  • Relying too much on your lower back to be the “core” needed to keep your spine protected. 
  • Overcompensating for a lack of ankle range of motion or confidence in your ability to do bodyweight squats without lower back pain. 
  • Not squatting in a way that supports your body type. 

See anything that you connect with? Watch the video for how I break it down.

In the video, I mention a few products that I use you can find amazon links to them below (some are affiliate links).

Shoes I mention (Lems) 

Hip bands I use

Squat wedge option

Can You Hurt Your Back Doing Bodyweight Squats?

I am a firm believer in the fact that our bodies were created to move and we shouldn’t feel the stress or pressure of knowing which natural movements are dangerous. 

In my opinion, the bodyweight squat is a pretty natural movement. 

The problem comes in when we experience pain with these movements. Naturally, we use pain as some sort of navigation device to keep ourselves away from lower back pain but pain itself isn’t necessarily the best tool for measuring.

So if you’re doing squats whether they are bodyweight or not and you are experiencing lower back pain I think it’s time we assess what could be going wrong but not necessarily label the bodyweight squat as dangerous. 

With that being said I do believe that you can cause lower back pain with bodyweight squats….under pretty specific and obvious terms. 

Ask yourself this: If you continue to do bodyweight squats (or any squat) and your pain continuously gets worse and you DON’T adjust or stop doing them then yes, I believe this is when the bodyweight squat could cause a threat to your lower back. 

In other words, don’t allow your ego to get in the way of using common sense.

If you’re looking for lower body (squat or hinge-based) exercises that are safe for lower back pain check out this article here. 

What Are Some Safe Squat Exercises That Won't Hurt My Lower Back?

The first thing to look at when it comes to squatting and lower back pain is making sure that your program is balanced. 

We often go heavy on the quad dominate exercises and neglect the hamstrings. 

If this is you I highly suggest doubling down on the hamstring and glute exercises. Maybe follow and 2 to 2 ratio. For every one quad exercise or set you do make sure you do two hamstring exercises or extra sets. 

Below are some resources I have for training your legs with lower back pain. 

How Should I Exercise With Lower Back Pain?

One thought on “Why Bodyweight Squats Hurt Your Lower Back And How To Fix It!

  1. Have nerve damage to left leg from back surgery and now confined to wheelchair and walker. Trying to build up leg strength by doing stand-ups from bed to walker. But do not seem to be able to build strength in either leg. When I increase reps, I am later “punished” with leg spasms and pain. How can I build leg strength under these circumstances?

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