Think you can't do squats because your have back issues?
What if squats are actually part of building your back strength & rather than avoiding them, you learn how to engage your abs effectively as a way to elongate the spine and protect the back?
Avoiding an exercise all together because you experience discomfort is a mistake.
The better approach it to look closer at how you are executing the move. Fine-tuning your technique is the secret sauce to build up the muscle group that you otherwise dismiss as "weak."
Here are my tips for keeping your lower back protected through every phase of your squat:
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, comfortable distance, toes most likely slightly turned out.
- Tuck your tailbone under slightly & notice how your lower ribs pull in which causes you to engage your ab muscles.
- Find the place where your tailbone is tucked (slight squeeze of the glutes) AND your rib cage is tucked, but not so much that you are rounding thru the lower back. You should be able to keep your shoulders back & your chest wide. That's "neutral position" for your torso. Does it feel weird? If so, that's an indication that you need more practice in this posture so it becomes more natural for you.
- Keep this ab engagement as you sit back in your squat. What often happens during this phase of the move is your ribs will pop out & your lower back arches. There is the issue with back pain in your squats. Tuck your tailbone at the very bottom of the move - it takes conscious practice, but you can do it!
- Only when you have this mastered should you add any weight like a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbells. Never add weight until you have the body weight move down first. Ok, you're up. Give it a go & let me know what you learn.
Want more coaching WHILE you squat? You go it! That’s one of the awesome reasons our members have stayed training with me for so long! Get the coaching & the cues during your workout where you are going to learn and improve the fastest! Join me here.
RealFit Strength: Baby Got Back (Bench optional)
OOoooo this was a blast from the 90’s past… Da Dip… Look it dem girls with the daisy dukes on…. Space jam… & of course, baby got BACK!
Today’s workout we DIP & we also work da backside!
A bench will be helpful, but you can do every one of these exercises without it (in fact, the one-arm dips are a bit easier because they will be more shallow & your booty will most likely rest on the floor between reps)
You’ll want a couple dumbbells for a couple options. Think Bicep strength & think upper back strength. I use a 25lb for biceps & a 30lb for rows, then swap them by set #3 (30 for biceps, 25 for rows)
You’ll also want a mat for kneeling & for the core exercise, so your spine has some cushion underneath it. You may also want to use a wall for a “handstand prep” ab exercise we do as the final exercise of our 7-series block.. Don’t let “handstand” scare you - we are NOT doing handstands. This is just an exercise I did in yoga to help us engage our core & lengthen our lower back so handstands become easier when we are indeed upside down.
If one arm dips are out of the question for you, follow Eileen’s lead - she does a one arm overhead tricep extension instead. Which is still a GREAT option!
Here's what some RealFitters had to say about Baby Got Back: