Back squats and skiing

ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 757 Crazy Baller
I work with a PT and he's been having me do back squats for the past several weeks.

While I love how it targets the major muscle groups in my legs, I haven't made much progress (and this is by far my weakest lift) on this particular lift because my lower back is always sore / stiff / weak.

I feel like I need one of those booster seats old people use to sit down on the toilet.

I've "tried everything"... lowering the weight to get better form... taking Aleve... Icy Hot... stretching... long warm-ups... toughing it out.

My theory is that doing back squats during ski season is just too much load on the lower back on a frequent basis - either that, or I'm just a wuss.

Last Thursday, after doing back squats in the morning, it really started to affect my skiing in my second set that evening. I just tried to tough it out but ended up frustrated.

I think the last straw came yesterday when I skied real tentative in a tournament. Round 1 I could feel my back stretching on every negative one pullout - it hurt. Needless to say I didn't ski up to my expectations. It stiffened up more later and I decided to end my day and dropped out of round 2.

I texted my PT and said "I'm done with back squats until at least until the season is over."

Anyone else have a similar experience?
Anthony Warren


  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 748 Crazy Baller
    Once your back feels better, consider adding deadlifts to your regimen. Proper technique is essential, start light. It will strengthen your back, work your LE's, and effectively enhance your slalom lean.

    If you stick with squats, use a Smith machine.

    Friluftsliv - stå løpet ut!
  • Chris TaylorChris Taylor Posts: 116 Baller
    DO NOT EVER USE A SMITH MACHINE!!! those force improper form and movement and will cause injury. Squats and deadlift are great exercises!! the key to soreness is stretching, stretching and more stretching. Once your hams and hip flexers are stretched properly your back problems will go away. It has done wonders for me.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,425 Mega Baller
    I'm thinking that may be too much to add in during ski season. Your already using your lower back a lot skiing. What I've found working with trainers is that my 48 yr old body just can't handle some off the exercises they want me to do. They may work for a 20 something or 30 something but not my beat up body. I had talked to a Physical Therapist a few years ago and they had me start the workout with cordio. Usually ride the recumbent bicycle and or elepical for 30 mins then do my work out and stretch afterwards. I was stretching before the workout and actually pull some muscles that way.

    Usually during ski season i don't workout much. I took out squats last year due to a knee injury but I'll add them back in the fall. I do weights that I can easily lift and concentrate on form. I bulged a disc out at 20 trying to max out on squats (just under 400lb) and been paying for it ever since.

    Also is it just soreness, make sure you don't have something else going on. Maybe some soft tissue damage or pull muscle?
  • mopowpowmopowpow Posts: 314 Baller
    I'm a personal trainer and I drop heavy squats during ski season. I stick to mostly stability type exercises to keep from affecting my skiing. TRX is great for this. I will still do some split squats, lighter weight front squats, and 1 leg deadlifts mainly for range of motion.
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 757 Crazy Baller
    @mopowpow thanks!
    Anthony Warren
  • AndyAndy Posts: 211 Baller
    Try front squats. They can help improve body position.
  • Tim VaioTim Vaio Posts: 29 Baller
    Dead lifts and box squats .....
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,340 Mega Baller
    If your lower back is always sore/stiff you either have a technique issue or you are trying to squat too much weight too quickly. I think back squats along with deadlifts are great exercises that build strength for skiing but you need to be very particular about technique or else you can hurt yourself.

    I don't see a big issue with putting off doing squats until your ski season is over but I also think you could begin doing squats but focus on very light weights and getting the technique right.

    When I started doing squats a couple of years ago I started with about 95 pounds and took video of it to have my trainer critique. When I looked back at those videos if I had been doing any serious weight even 135 my back would have been a mess. When I squat now particularly if I have been off for a week or two (which has happened recently due to some shoulder problems) my legs are sore but my back is fine.

    Regarding front squats they are a great exercise but you need excellent upper body flexibility to get the bar in the right position on your chest. I really struggle with that so front squats are tough for me. An option to front squats that can get some of the same benefits is a goblet squat where you hold a dumbbell vertically against your chest and squat. This an exercise you can do with fairly light weight and get good benefit which will help strengthen your back.
    Mark Shaffer
  • FatrollFatroll Posts: 204 Baller
    I have similar low back pain and soreness especially when I ski shorter rope lengths. Anyone wear a back brace when they ski?
    2016 Ski Nautique 200 OB 2016 Radar Vapor 69.5"
    Wish they had a bonus buoy count for increased body fat index
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,425 Mega Baller
    @fatroll I notice in the 5 hour energy videos that Thomas Degasperi was using a belt. Also seen Trent Finlayson with one on before.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,340 Mega Baller
    I thing Jon Travers uses a back brace also.
    Mark Shaffer
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 739 Crazy Baller
    Any sort of full squat movement hits me totally differently than skiing FWIW, totally nailing the entire posterior chain, particularly the hammies. I've tapered CrossFit down to about once a week during ski season because I'm skiing so much and it doesn't seem to conflict much, if at all.

    I will say that -28 is destroying my back this year.
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 757 Crazy Baller

    Back in the gym this morning and had a heart-to-heart with my PT about my lower back issues, squats, and skiing.

    Told him if the choice is between doing squats and dropping out of a tournament b/c I can't ski, then I'm not doing squats.

    We started discussing flexibility issues and spent the entire hour stretching... turns out my upper calves (behind the knee), hamstrings and lower back are super tight!

    Back in my p90x days I had great range of motion and now I have none.

    This makes sense to me because I was doing squats last year w/o any back issues.

    I agree with @jhughes, when squats are going right it totally hits my hams and glutes... I think I'm at the age and the way my body is wired (runner) that I need to complement squats with frequent stretching.

    We do other various squat movements - split leg, lunges, sandbag, front, goblet, etc. and I have no issues there.

    Could bad skiing form contribute? Possible. I know I don't have the best form or else I would be running more buoys, but I also know I've never had an issue until now. I also rarely take a slack shots.

    Of course, I live to ski, not squat - so this isn't a huge focus of mine.
    Anthony Warren
  • cragginshredcragginshred Posts: 685
    If he does not have you doing hip flexor stretching in 3 planes of motion you are missing a huge Cause of low back pain. The only squats I give my patients in the PT clinic are wall squats stopping before 90* at the hip/knees. Lastly Ice in the am and pm 12-15' until numb. Works for my sore back daily.
    Vapor pro 2017
Sign In or Register to comment.