Barbell Squats – The Treatment for Lower Back Pain

Here’s me (Macedonio) squatting 374 lbs (170 kilos) x 7 Repetitions WITHOUT A LIFTING BELT. This is not only an assessment of my overall strength but most importantly the assessment of my lower back and spinal strength. This has helped me and will keep helping me keep away lower back pain that accompanies aging.

The ability to hold the vertebral column (spine) in a fixed position under such load is possible only when the trunk (core) musculature is able to produce force equivalent to the load.

A majority of people in their 30s and above suffer from lower back pain. There are many factors contributing to pain. However, two factors that are most common in this demographic are: pain due to weakness that arises from lack of muscle mass (in the trunk) responsible for maintaining a strong spine, and the pain that arises due to the inability to produce force from the trunk’s muscle mass.

Unfortunately the treatment recommended in such cases are suboptimal floor “core” exercises and stretching. The pain goes away after a few sessions; however, not because the spine and muscles acquire strength, but because of other pain response mechanisms. Ask the same individuals to lift something off the floor after the pain subsides and they either fail to lift or fear lifting altogether. This is because they lack the strength and the confidence inspite of the so called “core strengthening floor exercises”.

However, this is not the case with those who perform barbell squats to fix their lower back pain. People who perform barbell squats, and progressively increase the load on the barbell, acquire extraordinary strength in their spine and the overall body. And yes, ask them to lift something from the floor, they will lift it with ease and authority.

I have many trainees who started training after being diagnosed with chronic lower back pain and other lower back pain arising from issues like a slipped disc. I’ll share with you a video of my 68 yo trainee diagnosed with a slipped disc who fixed his back by lifting progressively heavy weights on barbell lifts program. He now lifts 198 lbs (90 kilograms). On day 1 of his training he’d found it extremely hard to squat with his own body weight.

If you are suffering from lower back pain and want to fix it permanently, call for a consult with me to understand the various reasons for lower back pain and the optimal treatment of lower back pain via barbell squats.

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