Squats are one of the more functional and popular exercises performed for physical conditioning and sports. But because you squat you incorporate multiple joints and muscles, the faulty exercise technique can cause excessive pressure on your lower back. Small changes in the execution can correct its shape and remove tension and pain.
Anatomy of squatting
The squat is a compound exercise consisting of the muscular action of three different joints. The muscles involved include the gluteus maximus, which acts on the hip, quadriceps and hamstrings that act on the hip and knee, and the posterior tibialis, the calf and calf soleus and the smaller muscles of the foot that act in the ankle. The extensor muscles of the abdomen and trunk are activated isometrically to stabilize the pelvis and protect the spine. When executed correctly, the coordinated contraction of the muscles will give optimal results with a minimum of stress to your joints. The alignment of the spine, the position of the bar and the speed of execution are key factors that influence the compression forces in your lumbar spine during squats.
According to a 2010 review by J. Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," spine joints are the most vulnerable to squat injuries. Avoid anterior flexion of the trunk and maintain a normal lordotic curve in the lower back, keeping the spine rigid throughout the movement. Look forward and look a little upwards to reduce your tendency to unwanted anterior flexion. Keep the contraction by tightening the extensor muscles of the hip and abs to stabilize the spine and pelvis.
The three common positions of the bars are on the lower back, with the bar placed slightly below the acromion, the bone process on the upper part of the shoulder blade; the high back, with the bar placed just above the acromion, and in front, with the bar placed in front of the clavicle. According to strength and conditioning, specialist Brad Schoenfeld mentions that when the bar is placed on the back, a greater forward inclination of the trunk is experienced, putting more pressure on the lumbar spine. Front squats produce less lumbar stress and can be a better alternative for people with back pain.
The speed with which the squats are executed has a direct correlation with the amount of tension placed on the joints, with greater speed greater joint forces are generated.In the column, the double peak compression forces are performed when you squat quickly. To reduce spinal stress, perform the squats slowly in the ascending and descending phases. Keep control in the down phase using two to three seconds of time.
Other factors that may compromise your performance in squats and give rise to back pain are muscle weakness, especially of the abs and extensors of the trunk, poor flexibility that limits range of motion and muscle fatigue that can cause injuries from a faulty execution. Carry out your training program, working your core muscles, stretching regularly and a lot of rest between training sessions.