Lower Back Pain After Squats – Active Spinal Decompression

Lower Back Pain After Squats – Active Spinal Decompression

Here are some strategies to help you deal with lower back pain after doing squats.

Barbell squats and back pain are typically associated because barbells tend to put vertical pressure on the spine.

Leaving tissues like the psoas and lumbar erectors to pull downward facilitating a compression on the trunk.

By employing the techniques in this video, you will get a better idea of how to take this tension off of the lumber and place it on areas meant to support the body functionally.

Whether you choose to continue to do this exercise or not is up to your discretion.

All we are doing here are fanning the flames so that people do not hurt themselves too badly.

Train intentionally, not habitually,

Naudi Aguilar


This is Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns, and for today’s video tutorial, I’m going to show you guys how to take pressure off your lumbar spine after a heavy set of squats. This is something that happens pretty commonly with people who do weightlifting, and today, I’m going to show you guys some strategies that you can employ to decompress your spine and essentially take some pressure off of that lumbar and get functioning better overall as you go on throughout your day. Should actually help your lifting capabilities as well once you begin to employ these strategies, because it’s going to teach you how to integrate your body a little bit better, but just to explain what I’m going to try and do for you guys so you get a better understanding, what I’m going to do is actually, I’m going to grab this bar here, and I’m going to show you what’s likely the problem of what’s going on with your lower back while you’re doing a back squat.

For one, we have to think that I have a bar on my back and that it’s pushing me downward. Gravity’s pushing down, but more than anything, especially when you start stacking two, three hundred pounds, I know some of you guys are really strong, you’ll stack even more weight than that, and you guys are going to inevitably have to deal with some kind of spine compression when you’re in this position. It’s inevitable. Yeah, you’re going to train your legs. You’re going to get them more well-developed, get some glute activity in there, but the ramification of spinal compression is, it’s inescapable. Pretty much at any phase through the range of motion, you’re going to find yourself in that spinal compression. This is always pressing downward.

What I’m going to show you guys today is a way to decompress the spine, how to lengthen the spine a little bit further, how to pretty much separate the pelvis from the ribcage, so that way that lumbar is not taking that constant pressure, that constant agony. The first thing we’re going to do before we actually employ this technique is, I’ll actually go in and start releasing the psoas, because oftentimes, when that spine gets compressed, and it’s not just the spine, it’s the ribcage getting pressed downward, the psoas, which has fascial segments that run through the diaphragm, also get a little bit of a compression. Again, there’s that downward force that’s going to be happening. What we’re going to be using is actually a softball. Now, there’s an assortment of different myofascial release tools that you can use for this technique, but this is going to be the one that I’m going to use for myself. It’s pretty cheap. You go to a store, pay about five bucks at any sporting outlet, and you should be able to find one of these balls pretty easy. They’re everywhere, pretty much.

I’m going to be using this. You can vary the sizes depending on how big you are, but the spot that we’re going to be hitting right here is going to be kind of the lower proximity, lower to mid proximities of the psoas right above the pelvis, and we’re going to be targeting that at about a 45-degree angle. I don’t want you guys pushing straight downward this way. That’s going to be hitting more abdominal, like a rectus abdominis, a little bit of obliques. What we’re going to try and do is actually get out about a 45-degree angle off here to the side. We’re going to take a very passive approach. We’re not going to go too aggressive here at all. I don’t want you guys to do any damage to your viscera. Again, this is meant to be very, very passive, very easygoing in terms of the way that we’re going to release this.

What I’m going to do is actually lay down on the ground here. I’m going to turn my body at about a 45-degree angle, and I’m just going to allow my body to kind of settle into these issues here very gently. I’m going to wiggle around to make sure that we kind of get that viscera out of the way, get those organs out of the way, and you should let the body kind of settle in. One thing you can do to kind of get the organs out of the way, too, is expanding the ribs. That will kind of pull the organs upward towards my neck, and that will also kind of get those, that visceral tissue out of the way so you can get a better manipulation on that psoas. You’re also going to get some of the oblique tissues. They’re right around there, especially if you have really tight obliques, you’re probably going to get some of those tissues as well, which is completely okay. Okay? You’ll do that on both sides. You’re going to attack it on both ends of the spectrum.

Then this, so that’s going to be more of a passive manipulation. Okay? We’ve essentially switched off the muscle with the ball, but the brain may or may not connect to that as well. What my concern with this next technique that we’re going to do is try and actually make this an active connection. We’re going to try and make the brain and the body associate this, and really the connection that I want you guys to consider is the connection between your transverse abdominis, the corset-like muscle that comes around your core, and your diaphragm, which is, again, it’s somewhat, there’s going to be a relationship between the diaphragm and the transverse abdominis. It’s going to form almost like a balloon.

When that balloon engages, you’re going to notice that your spine begins to lengthen. You guys have probably seen my post on Instagram, maybe here on this YouTube channel, where I showcase before and afters, and you actually see the length of a spine appearing to get, that the length increases on the after pictures. A great deal of that is because we emphasize the lengthening via the usage of the transverse abdominis and the diaphragm. Okay? This is what we’re going to try and emphasize the most with this technique.

You’re going to need two super bands. Depending on how tall you are and how resistance you want, it’s going to tell you how much resistance you want on the bands. These are the blue ones. I got them, they’re from Serious Steel. Yeah, this is just going to be the variation that I use. Depending on how aggressive you want to get, it will tell you how much weight you’re going to want to put on this.

First and foremost, I’m going to step my foot inside this band. I’m going to throw this over my shoulder to the opposite side. Hopefully, this microphone won’t get a little too screwy here. I’m going to bring that over. That’s going to begin to drop one side of my shoulders, but I want to get both sides elevated. What I’m going to do is now step into my left foot as well. I’m going to bring this up and over, and now I have something actively compressing me downward.

Now, what you have to do, what you have to consider, if you haven’t read my book The Power of Posture, you haven’t done any work in the 10-week course that I offer, I highly suggest that you check that information out, so make sure that you prepare yourself for this kind of an environment, because there’s a lot of little details that kind of, that I need to explain at a very basic level before you can employ this. I would greatly advise that if you haven’t read my book, I know most of you guys already have read my book, just apply the principles that are there onto what you’re doing here. The main principles are going to be that we’re going to probably get you out of an anterior shift, because as soon as this pulls you down, you’re probably going to want to go into an anterior pelvic shift.

Most people in general tend to operate from an anterior pelvic shift. What you’re going to do is actually shift your pelvis posteriorly. You’re going to retract your abdomen and expand the ribcage. Okay? After you do that, it’s going to be essential that you do this, you’re going to retract your abdomen, and you’re going to begin to breathe into your ribs. You inhale, fight the bands upwards. You can do even a little bit of scapular elevation. Nothing too crazy, but just a slight elevation of the scapula, and then you exhale. Inhale. Exhale. You might begin to feel a great deal of your T-spine begin to engage or your core begin to engage. If you feel either-or, it’s just telling you that these are muscles that are probably dormant on your body that you need to have active in order to facilitate a greater length between the pelvis and the ribcage.

If you guys see here, before I even do another set for you, just because as this pulls me down, I’m creating an active compression between my ribs and my pelvis, which in turn is going to lead to an active compression of my spine. As I fight against that, retracting my abdomen, elevating my ribs, and then breathing to all the spectrums of my ribcage with the slight scapular elevation, now I’m going to get that length. You can breathe through your mouth, through your nose, whatever you want. I used to be a big nose breather until I started doing the Wim Hof Method, and I breathed through either-or. It’s not a big deal when I’m training. Again, that’s through my nose.

That lights up the T-spine pretty damn well. I can feel a little bit of core engagement. Most of my weakness is probably going to be mainly linked at my T-spine, but that should then begin to create an antigravitational force through the usage of your transverse abdominis and your diaphragm, your usage of these bands over here.

I hope you guys found that to be informative. Please like it, share it with any friends that may be dealing with these same issues of feeling pain after they do some squats. I’ll be making another post on what we can do when it comes to deadlifts here in the near future. Be on the lookout for that. Until then, this is Naudi Aguilar reminding you to train intentionally and not habitually. See you soon.



  1. John March 14, 2017 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Naudi,

    Great video! Do you have any video/tips to decompress the neck?


    John R.

  2. Gomez Emmanuelle May 4, 2017 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Hello 🙂
    Thank you for this video. I speak french so maybe I didn’t understand everything you said but just a question : Why not put some weight at the top of the head (like a bag with sand in it for example) to have a better alignment of the entire spine, and do an active exhale which begin by a pelvic floor contraction instead of doing this sort of paradoxal breathing? To have the connection between TVA and diaphragm, isn’t important to incorporate the pelvic floor also and make it go up the same way as the diaphragm does during an active exhale to decompress le spine? Sorry for my English, I hope you understand what I mean…

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