Most people are familiar with squats, but for those who are not familiar, according to wikipedia a squat is one of the ultimate tests of strength. This exercise involves the person lowering their hips from a neutral position, and then standing back up. This can be done with either any form of weights or without. When the person descends and ascends it activates the hip and knee joints. The big question today is whether or not squats are good or bad for back pain. Let’s take a look!
Benefits Of Squats
Firstly let’s look at the benefits of squats. Probably the most important thing with regards to injuries and potentially back pain, squats make your core strong, this will inevitably help reduce injury frequency. Secondly,it is such a good exercise for burning calories, which is always good if you want to get in shape. This exercise makes your lower body stronger i.e. your back. This exercise also increases your ability and strength as an athlete. Squats also improve your whole body physically, it doesn’t just turn your legs into tree trunks, it affects other body parts too. Squats build your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, buttocks and your lower back. Not many exercises can lay claim to affecting all these different kinds of muscles!
Squatting is what you call a load bearing exercise, this means it helps you with, and this is the key, your overall strength. It also has an enormous effect on your bone density, in most cases causing your bones to become more dense, which can help younger and older people. Squatting also increases your ability to jump and your speed. By training legs and using squats as your main exercise, this contributes to your lower body extremities, this improves your ability to generate speed and power. Squats also naturally improve your posture, with the added core and leg strength, this will influence your muscles in your front back which contributes to your overall posture. Combine them and in the end you will have perfect posture.
A not so well known benefit of squatting on a regular basis, is the improvement in your circulation and digestion. When you train legs, fluids travel much quicker through your body to ensure every part of the body has enough oxygen and nutrients flowing through them. This also has a positive effect on your small intestine and its overall efficiency. Probably the most important benefit of squatting is just the sheer improvement in your physical abilities in daily life, objects that you couldn’t even think about moving and now suddenly you can pick them up!
Disadvantages Of Squats
At first glance it looks like squats are relatively beneficial for your health, but in closer investigation squats can be hugely detrimental for your back and other parts of your body if not done correctly. It’s never a good idea to put your body under huge amounts of stress, and with most people, we are always trying to go bigger, heavier with regards to using a bar. This is very detrimental, and at any time this can cause a massive injury. How many times have you seen people walk into the gym, try and attempt a squat with a weight that is too heavy? Use a weight that fits your strength and body type, and increase the mass slowly.
Most people don’t know how to do a proper squat. You can seriously hurt your lower back, and in worst cases you will have to get surgery done. If you are not a fan of surgery, Amr Hosny’s spine practice in New Jersey offers non-surgical treatment, which maybe will be more time consuming, but with his specialized team you’ll be back fitter, faster and stronger! Squats also have a detrimental effect on your glutes and knees. If you have weak glutes or knees, this exercise will quickly have a negative effect on your body. In most cases people who started going to the gym early, and doing squats, it usually stemmed their growth. When you go to the gym the first time or do squats for the first time, be sure to consult a trained professional and make sure you master the technique first before going heavy.
The Honest Truth
In my opinion it depends on the severity of your back pain. If the pain is manageable try to squat, but maybe for two weeks, train with a slightly lighter weight, to ensure the pain doesn’t turn into a serious injury. If you have back pain for a long period of time the best would be to skip squatting and focus on some rehabilitation exercises, and if the pain becomes too unbearable, visit a back and rehabilitation centre!