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Thread: Squats -- Significant Sacroiliac Pain!

  1. #1

    Question Squats -- Significant Sacroiliac Pain!

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    I have a tendancy toward lower back pain due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I started the basic 'Lift Heavy Things' workout in PB Fitness. On days that I do squats, I can hardly sleep at night due to sciatic pain from the sacroiliac joint.

    Does anyone else have this problem with squats?

    Any recommendations on how to continue without pain?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Flower Mound, Texas
    If you can, video yourself performing squats in order to check your form. If you are using good form and still have pain, then squats may not be for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by john_e_turner_ii View Post
    If you can, video yourself performing squats in order to check your form. If you are using good form and still have pain, then squats may not be for you.

    Though I would add in to then determine if there is a problem, be it alignment, joint, spinal, whatever, then explore if it can be fixed, before giving up on squats, as they are, IMO the #1 most important exercise.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Are you doing regular and consistant exercises to counteract the motion? I have L4/L5 disk issues and sacroiliac issues and I usually have no problems anymore. BUT

    I rarely sit. My computer is a desk on my treadmill.

    I perform corrective counter moves for my low back and my left hip/sacroiliac before working out, after working out and after any extended time sitting. I'm not going to detail my moves because I think this is somehting you should see a PT who specializes in back problems

    Ease into it. Squats are one of those things that can set mine off. When I reinjured my sacro/back last year I had to ease back by doing fewer squats with less weight. i.e. Use a bar to support some of your weight if you are currently doing body weight, do 5 squats instead of 50 or whatever the PB. Do your realignment/corrective techniques and move on. Find the level that does NOT aggravate and start there.
    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    RI, USA
    Split squats

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Invest some money in a personal trainer, just choose one who knows what he is doing. Ideally actually find yourself a physiotherapist who is lifting (I am not joking - this is how I selected mine) and ask him to look at your squats. The Internet is great but it is hit and miss - and even a near-miss can mess you up if this is about your spine.

    You should also send the video in - you will get great tips. But I would still want this person standing next to me once or twice if I was you....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie A. View Post
    Any recommendations on how to continue without pain?
    Use a leg press machine?

  8. #8
    I have been to PT for this and have several exercises which I have been doing. I think that I will need to build up the squats.

    Hubby and I watched Mark's video again and he confirmed my form is good. I think this is an issue with my body... so, I am going to try to reduce the number and see if I tolerate that better.

    Thank you for all your comments, support and advice! This is a great community!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    How much work have you done for your transverse abdominus specifically?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by js290 View Post
    Use a leg press machine?
    I know this may be sacrilege in the PB world but i come from a PT/ fitness background and i can never recommend doing leg press machines even though Art De Vany recommends them. I love his work but his recommendations on exercises are terrible. They are very 1980`s and are the exact kind of exercises that cause injury - lateral shoulder raise anyone !! - ouch. A great book Art but someone needs to call him out over the exercise selection - maybe he needs to spend a bit of time talking to Robb Wolfe. I bet he doesnt prescribe many of Arts staple exercises to his clients - injured or not.

    Okay - rant over.

    Leg Presses on machine - they will likely exacerbate your injury/pathology. It is obviously hard to comment on your individual case and would probably be negligent to do so without video of your squat etc. I can `suggest` something that may be going on as i have seen it a few times in the past. You could have shortened hamstrings like the majority of the population due to lots of time spent sat at desks at school/work and at the dinner table/couch at home. Anyway when hammys are adaptively shortened like almost everyones they can limit your form in the squat. Your form may be great for the 80% of the lowering part of the lift then as you get to the very bottom of the lift your short hamstrings pull your pelvis under. This brings your spine out of optimal alignment or its strongest position. Basically you could be curving your lumbar spine in the very opposite way it needs to be curved at the bottom of the squat. Obviously not good under load ( im assuming back squats - you didnt mention how you are loading the squats if at all).

    I would suggest working on lengthening your hamstrings through PNF techniques (google Leon Chaitow or just look up PNF stretching) and using foam roller techniques ( i think these come under Leon Chaitows ART - active release techniques but i could be wrong)

    I would suggest working on only squatting to 75-80% of your normal range which is still going to help you build up strength in squatting without aggravating the SI dysfunction. You could either judge the range to go yourself or use some kind of cue like a bench or box or preferably a partner.

    My reasoning for hating yes hating the leg press vs squattingis it is the equivalent of a bench press vs push up. It is a much inferior non functional equivalent isolating the muscles (chest, triceps, front shoulder for bench press - quads for leg press) whereas the squat requires sooo much more to perform correctly. It forces you to learn how to do something that you NEED to do in life. You will never find yourself in the position of a leg press machine in life - never never NEVER - so why do it in the gym?
    Also, the leg press lends itself well to further SI dysfunction and can even start it in people who dont have any beforehand. When you sit in the leg press machine you bring your knees right up to your chest almost at the start of the movement - guess what this does? - yes it brings your lumbar spine out of its normal alignment almost reversing the curve that it should be in - then what do you do ? - yes you load that spine up with hundreds of kilos of weight that your natural limitations would have stopped you from lifting if using the squat ( no one can squat anywhere near what they can leg press).

    I must say that as i dont know your exact problem then this is all hypothetical but i hope i have given more info than a simple `do leg presses ` answer.

    Good luck with it and please see a PT.

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