What Can Cause Lower Back Pain When Squatting? 7 Reasons Explained

A woman Barbell Squat

Squats are one of the most fundamental exercises for building a strong lower body. But if you have ever experienced lower back pain while doing squats, it can be a frustrating and discouraging experience. There are many factors that could contribute to this issue, from improper technique to underlying injuries or conditions. In this blog post, we will be covering 7 common factors that cause lower back pain when squatting, as well as causes of hip pain while squatting. We will also provide you with tips on how to prevent and manage lower back pain during squats, and when to seek medical attention if necessary. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of how to perform squats safely and effectively without risking any injury.

7 Factors Contributing to Lower Back Pain When Squatting

Improper squatting technique

Proper form during squats is essential in avoiding discomfort and low back pain. Strain on the lumbar spine and muscles happens when an individual resorts to improper form like leaning too far forward or rounding their low back while doing squats. Individuals with weak core strength are also prone to improper form leading to higher loads on their lumbar discs leading to discomfort or even injury. It is important that individuals focus on maintaining good form by being mindful of their posture while performing a squat. Consulting a physiotherapist for muscle strain or spasm caused by improper movement patterns is recommended.

Poor ankle mobility

During squatting movements, it’s common to experience discomfort in the low back area due to poor ankle mobility. To alleviate this issue, you should perform ankle mobility exercises such as calf stretches and ankle circles. Another option is to wear weightlifting shoes that have a raised heel as they help in improving ankle flexibility and thereby reducing your lower back pain. Remember to avoid overloading or skipping the warm-up while performing squats. Your foot placement and stance width could contribute to low-back discomfort if not correctly done.

Insufficient hip mobility

Poor hip mobility is one of the common reasons for experiencing discomfort in the lower back while squatting. When you are unable to move your hips correctly during a squatting motion, you tend to overcompensate with your lower back muscles leading to soreness and potential injuries. To avoid this problem you need to perform exercises like lunges, hip circles, or dynamic stretches that enhance your hip mobility and provide better support for your spine. You should adjust the squat depth according to your range of motion in order to reduce stress on your lumbar spine. You need to ensure that you address any underlying issues with proper form before increasing weight or attempting advanced movements.

Poor core strength

To avoid discomfort in your lower back while squatting, it’s essential to address poor core strength. Engage your core during the movement and use a weightlifting belt if needed for additional support. Incorporate exercises like planks, crunches and Russian twists into your routine to strengthen your core muscles. For personalized guidance on proper form and specific exercises tailored to your needs, consult with a trainer or physical therapist.

Wrong Bar Placement

When performing squats, it’s important to be mindful of how you place the bar. Incorrect placement is one of the common reasons for discomfort in the lower back area. If placed too high or too low on your spine, it can disrupt your movement patterns and lead to poor technique and lumbar flexion. Optimum placement of the bar should be at the top of your trapezius muscles with a tight grip and perfect alignment of your torso. Also using squat pads helps ease pressure from the lumbar spine as well as ensure proper upright posture.

Lower back injury

woman with Lower back pain

To prevent low back injuries during squats, it’s crucial to maintain proper form and not lift more than you can handle. Herniated discs or muscle strains from improper technique are common reasons for lower back pain. Rehabilitation exercises and rest may be necessary for recovery. Consulting with a physiotherapist or trainer can help prevent future injuries and improve squatting technique. By incorporating warm-up exercises that target the core muscles and hip mobility before squatting can also reduce the chances of injury.

Insufficient hip mobility

Individuals who experience discomfort in their lower back while performing squats should consider the role of insufficient hip mobility. It can lead to poor posture that puts undue pressure on your lumbar spine and surrounding ligaments. To avoid this issue, it’s essential to practice good form by focusing on your pelvic alignment during the movement pattern. This involves engaging your core muscles and keeping an upright torso throughout the rep. Practicing proper form will help you maintain a neutral curve in your lumbar spine and prevent compression or spasm in the back muscles. However, if you still experience low back pain despite good form, incorporating hip mobility exercises into your warm-up routine can help improve range of motion and decrease soreness in the glutes and calves. Furthermore, consider using knee sleeves or a weightlifting belt during training sessions to alleviate stress on the lower body and protect against muscle strain.

Causes of hip pain when squatting

Hip mobility

To avoid low back discomfort during squatting, improving hip mobility is crucial. Limited range of motion in the hips can put undue pressure on the lumbar spine while squatting, causing numbness or soreness in the low back area. To prevent this, practice exercises like hip openers, lunges, and foam rolling before starting your squat routine. It will help improve your range of motion without straining your low back muscles. Additionally, incorporating proper form and technique while squatting will ensure that you don’t cause any damage to your core muscles or ligaments around the pelvis. If you’re unsure about your technique or have a history of back injuries, consult a physiotherapist or physical therapist to get an expert opinion.

Hip flexor strain

Hip flexor strain is a common cause of discomfort while squatting. The condition causes pain in the front of the hip and makes it difficult to move the leg. This occurs when the muscles connecting the hip to the thigh are either stretched or torn due to factors such as poor form and inadequate warm-up. Resting, applying ice, physical therapy sessions, and stretching exercises are some remedies for this issue. To avoid this problem, one should focus on improving hip mobility and strengthening core muscles.


Due to the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the joints, Osteoarthritis affects various joints including your hips. The squatting exercise can worsen this condition by adding more pressure on your hips which leads to more discomfort and pain. Besides squats other weightlifting exercises may also have negative effects. Physical therapy or medication are possible treatments along with surgery as a last resort option for severe cases.


Experiencing discomfort in the hips while squatting could be due to various reasons, one of them being hip impingement. The condition occurs when the ball and socket joint of the hip grind against each other, causing pain. Bone abnormalities or muscle imbalances are the leading causes behind it. It’s important to note that squatting with poor form or lifting too much weight can worsen your situation. If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort while squatting, consult a healthcare professional who could help you identify the root cause and recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to alleviate some symptoms.

Hip bursitis

Inflammation of the bursae leads to painful hip bursitis on squatting. Hip bursitis symptoms involve stiffness and pain on the outside of the hip while performing an upright movement pattern. Overuse or injury resulting from compression caused by sitting for an extended period while having bad posture or sedentary lifestyle often contributes to this issue. A physiotherapist recommends rest, ice application, muscle-strengthening exercises, and working on improving flexibility to treat it effectively.


When blood flow to the bone diminishes, osteonecrosis sets in, and this causes severe hip pain during weight-bearing activities like squatting. It is caused by several factors like prolonged use of steroids, alcohol abuse, and some medical conditions. Treatment depends on its severity and may require medication, physical therapy or surgery. To prevent this debilitating condition from occurring, it’s essential to avoid risk factors like excessive alcohol consumption while maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular workouts and warm-ups.

How do I stop my lower back from hurting when I squat?

To prevent lower back pain during squats, concentrate on maintaining proper form, starting with lighter weights and working your way up gradually. Strengthening the core muscles through planks and bridges can also help, as well as stretching before and after squatting to enhance flexibility and reduce muscle tension.

At What Point is Lower Back Pain a Cause for Concern?

Lower back pain that lasts more than a few days or is severe should be a cause for concern. Pain that radiates down the legs or causes numbness/tingling in the legs should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Loss of bladder/bowel control with lower back pain requires immediate medical attention. Seek advice if it interferes with daily activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Sit?

Lower back pain when sitting can be caused by poor posture, lack of support, weak core muscles, or medical conditions. Alleviate pain with stretching, strengthening exercises, and proper ergonomics. Consult a doctor if the pain persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.

What are some good tips for deep squatting?

Before attempting a deep squat, warm up properly and maintain good posture with your heels flat on the ground. Engage your core to support your lower back. Start with lighter weights and progress gradually for best results.


Lower back pain during squatting is a common problem that can be caused by various reasons. However, it’s important to understand that not all lower back pain is the same. While some discomfort is normal, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and listen to your body. If you experience severe or persistent pain, seek medical attention immediately. In conclusion, preventing lower back pain when squatting involves proper form, mobility exercises, and strengthening your core muscles. By taking care of your body and addressing any underlying issues, you can continue to reap the benefits of this powerful exercise without fear of injury. For more tips on how to prevent lower back pain while squatting, check out our comprehensive guide on lower back pain management.