5 Back-Saving Exercises When Squatting

Hey, if you are in Canada, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. If you are not in Canada, I hope you spent some time with your friends and family over the weekend.

The family and I went to the Monashee Mountains.


We did a family trip to Revelstoke. We enjoyed the time together and had fun exploring the area.

Today, I will share the five back-saving exercises when squatting. If you get back pain from squatting, here are a few exercises that will help you overcome back discomfort.



In today’s video, I will discuss the exercises that you can do to relieve back pain when squatting.

What To Do About Back Pain When Squatting

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

I got Alix to demonstrate the exercises.

#1 – Wall Plank with Knee Drive and Leg Back

Go against the wall. Arms are straight up against the wall.  Head, shoulders, hips and legs are in a straight line, activating the core. Drive the knee up and then bring the leg back.


Wall Plank with Knee Drive and Leg Back

As you bring the knee up, you are working on knee flexion and working on squat depth. As you bring the leg back, you are working on dynamically stretching the hip as well as working on activating the glutes and the hamstrings.

Perform 1 set of 5 reps on each leg, so a total of 10 movements in a smooth controlled movement holding the end position for a second.

Modification to Wall Plank with Knee Drive and Leg Back: Knee Bent Over Rows

Feet are both hip-width apart and then bend through the hips. The trunk, head, shoulders and hips are in a straight line making sure to activate and contract the abdominal area, then go through the rowing movement.


Knee Bent Over Rows

Perform 1 set of 10 reps in a smooth controlled movement, holding the end position for a second.

When squatting, some people get pain when they move into an upright position and then forward-flex the trunk. We want to strengthen the muscles that help decrease the stress in the forward-trunk position.  Going through the bent over row exercise helps strengthen the core area.

#2 – 90-90 Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel down with one knee down and one knee bent. Tighten up the abdominal area, glutes and hamstrings and then bring the hips forward in order to stretch out the hip flexor.


90-90 Hip Flexor Stretch

Perform 1 set of 2 reps on each side, alternating back and forth holding the end position for 20 seconds with light intensity.

#3 – Knee-To-Chest Exercise

Lie on your back. Bring knee to chest. We are working on the deep hip flexion.  Poor hip mobility and movement leads to back pain when squatting.


Knee-To-Chest Exercise

We are stretching the hip, the outer part of the muscles around the hips, hamstrings and glutes. Perform 1 set of 5 reps on each side holding the end position for 20 seconds with light intensity.

#4 – Deep Squat with Weights

Grab a kettlebell and utilize that as a weight. You can also make use of a plate or dumbbells. Hold the weight and try to sit back in your hips with elbows on the inside of the knee to stretch out the hip capsule.


Deep Squat with Weights

Perform 1 set of 2 or 3 reps, holding the end position for 20 seconds with light intensity.

#5 – Front Squat

Most people worsen their back pain by placing the weight on their back when performing the back squat, as this exercise tends to be more forward trunk flexion. Forward trunk flexion leads to more back pain. Thus, do a front squat instead of a back squat.


Front Squat

Hold the bar in front you instead on your back. Sit down between your knees and drop as low as you can. Ideally, let the hip just past the knees to get more glutes and hamstring activation and then return to the top.

Give these 5 exercises a go for back pain relief especially when you are squatting.

If you want to learn how to permanently get rid of your back discomfort, then check out the Fix My Back Pain program here.

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS