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Squats and Lower Back Posture

author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Squats and Lower Back Posture
Groups doing squats together outside. Photo Credit: Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

An effective move for developing your core and improving lower body strength, squats are a compound exercise that can be both challenging and rewarding. Maximizing the benefits of squats requires correct form. The lower back is often a source of tension during squats; too much of an arch can pull your body out of alignment, which may impede your progress and cause you to sustain an injury.

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Strong Upper Back

Though squats primarily strengthen your lower body, your upper body posture is integral for proper execution; once your upper back starts to round, your lower back will likely arch to counterbalance. Center your upper body over your pelvis, and pull your stomach in toward your spine. Maintain a slightly lifted chest and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Keep your upper back straight as you bend your knees and lower into the squat.

Drop the Weight

Using weights that are too heavy for your fitness level can take a toll on your back. Holding heavy dumbbells in your hands or placing a barbell on your upper back that is too much of a load can make it tough to keep your upper back straight and in proper alignment. Your core and pelvis can then be thrown off, causing your stomach to move forward and your lower back to arch. Scale back on your resistance levels if your form is suffering.

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