Tightness When Squatting

  • kevmoran

    Posts: 1543

    Mar 04, 2015 10:58 PM GMT
    I recently started increasing weight when I squat. I seem to be doing correct form, but right where my legs meet my hips and into my inner thighs I feel really tight and I can't seem to stretch it out. Anyone else have this issue/know how to solve it?
  • DJEsco_

    Posts: 80

    Mar 05, 2015 6:49 PM GMT
    Not familiar with that feeling. I do squats with lower weight as a warm up before getting into my real sets. Id suggest lowering the weight and see how it feels. Other than that I dont really have anything to offer.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 06, 2015 5:09 AM GMT
    Sounds like hip flexors. I have that problem. A trip to physio, some stretching, and even a massage therapist can bang that out, but yeah, it sucks, and requires almost everyday stretching to get it better.

    Work stretching into your workouts more. It's all connected so even just focusing on just hips won't work. Back and legs need doing too.
  • tnlifter

    Posts: 76

    Mar 06, 2015 9:52 PM GMT
    I'm an Olympic-style lifter. This means I squat not just every workout, but with every lift. I'm also over 50. The way I am able to do this is stretching with yoga.

    Yoga will keep you stretched out, and that flexibility, along with warming up with light weight and working your way up slowly, will allow you to lift progressively heavier weights.

    Good luck!
  • kevmoran

    Posts: 1543

    Mar 06, 2015 10:02 PM GMT
    tnlifter saidI'm an Olympic-style lifter. This means I squat not just every workout, but with every lift. I'm also over 50. The way I am able to do this is stretching with yoga.

    Yoga will keep you stretched out, and that flexibility, along with warming up with light weight and working your way up slowly, will allow you to lift progressively heavier weights.

    Good luck!

    Do you suggest doing yoga before a lifting session or just add yoga into your week? I do a 2 hour yoga session once a week but I've considered upping it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 07, 2015 12:37 AM GMT
    kevmoran saidDo you suggest doing yoga before a lifting session or just add yoga into your week? I do a 2 hour yoga session once a week but I've considered upping it.


    No, do WARMUPS before squatting. Stretching beforehand will decrease your performance.

    If you're adding stretches, these must NOT be on a day that you're working out that muscle group.
  • davfit

    Posts: 309

    Mar 07, 2015 2:49 AM GMT
    Had same thing happened to me ..I kept going ...oops..... caused small damage(cyst) to groin.. yes right there.. ..Beyond....PAINFUL...no agony is a better word.. STOP squats for awhile!!!! time to heal!! no fukin one told me,but I'm telling you!! its very common stop.. now
  • tnlifter

    Posts: 76

    Mar 07, 2015 6:22 AM GMT
    kevmoran said
    tnlifter saidI'm an Olympic-style lifter. This means I squat not just every workout, but with every lift. I'm also over 50. The way I am able to do this is stretching with yoga.

    Yoga will keep you stretched out, and that flexibility, along with warming up with light weight and working your way up slowly, will allow you to lift progressively heavier weights.

    Good luck!

    Do you suggest doing yoga before a lifting session or just add yoga into your week? I do a 2 hour yoga session once a week but I've considered upping it.


    Definitely afterward. Stretch out and do some warm up exercises. Do yoga afterward - I do an hour usually 2-3 X a week. I do some light stuff right afterward on the alternate days.
  • Ironskape

    Posts: 2

    Apr 08, 2015 1:20 AM GMT
    It's probably not an issue of the hip flexor(s) being too short, so stretching probably isn't the best fix for your issue.

    It's hard to give concrete advice based on your description, but I'm going to take a stab at it and say that the pain is worse at the bottom of your squat. If you could post a video of your squat form that would be super-awesome, but just from personal experience:

    Usually, when I have a client who complains of tight hips when they squat (or when mine start getting creaky) the issue is almost never at the hip. This is especially true if they feel that pain and tightness in their hip flexors at the bottom of their range of motion. At that point in the squat, the hip flexors are in a shortened position; they're not being stretched, so it's not an issue of length, and stretching them isn't addressing the problem.

    What might be happening -and this is just a guess- is that that sucker is holding on for dear life because it's trying to provide stability to your core. There are lots of "hip flexors", but in a general fitness sense, when we refer to them, we're talking about one in particular called the Psoas. It inserts at the inside/front of your hip (the area where you're jacked up) and attaches to your lower back. Believe it or not, it's actually a part of your core, in the sense that it plays a role in spine stabilization.

    So if the other muscles around your lower back aren't doing their job to stabilize your back, the psoas might try to pick up the slack.

    So, that's one theory.

    The other is that, whether you can tell or not, your knees are caving in a bit, and it's irritating that muscle and/or your hip capsule.

    In either case, try these cues:

    Brace your core. If you don't know what I mean, imagine someone is about to roundhouse-kick you in the gut, and you need to break their foot; every muscle around your midsection, and I'm talking front, sides, back, and every angle in between, should get rock solid.

    Alternatively, and also more scatologically, imagine you're taking the biggest dump of your life. Should result in the same braced core, but hopefully not a ruined pair of Andrew Christian's.

    This is what you need to do at the top of each rep. Take a big gulp of air, put it in your gut, brace hard against it, hold it as you descend, keep holding it until you're halfway up, and then finally let it out. If a weak core was the reason your hip flexor was lighting up, this should fix it (it would also explain why the problem only occurred when you increased the weight).

    The second cue is this: "spread the floor" during your reps. That basically means pushing your feet out against the outside of your shoes as you approach and come out of the bottom of the squat. When you do this (do it now! Do it, no weight required, go!!) you should feel the outside of your hips turn on. You know, your butt. Your butt helps keep your knees from caving in, and also it can look nice, so make sure it's working in your squat.

    My third suggestion...wait, did I say I only had two? Sue me: Foam roll like you're getting paid to do it. Specifically, your IT band, hip flexor, quads, adductors, and glutes. If you have no idea what I'm talking about...uh, never mind. Whole 'nother wormhole.

    Try these during your next squat session, and see if they help at all. If it/they work, then you've identified the problem, and now you know how to fix it.

    If you have any questions, I obviously love geeking out about squat mechanics.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 04, 2015 3:22 PM GMT
    Ironskape saidIt's probably not an issue of the hip flexor(s) being too short, so stretching probably isn't the best fix for your issue.

    It's hard to give concrete advice based on your description, but I'm going to take a stab at it and say that the pain is worse at the bottom of your squat. If you could post a video of your squat form that would be super-awesome, but just from personal experience:

    Usually, when I have a client who complains of tight hips when they squat (or when mine start getting creaky) the issue is almost never at the hip. This is especially true if they feel that pain and tightness in their hip flexors at the bottom of their range of motion. At that point in the squat, the hip flexors are in a shortened position; they're not being stretched, so it's not an issue of length, and stretching them isn't addressing the problem.

    What might be happening -and this is just a guess- is that that sucker is holding on for dear life because it's trying to provide stability to your core. There are lots of "hip flexors", but in a general fitness sense, when we refer to them, we're talking about one in particular called the Psoas. It inserts at the inside/front of your hip (the area where you're jacked up) and attaches to your lower back. Believe it or not, it's actually a part of your core, in the sense that it plays a role in spine stabilization.

    So if the other muscles around your lower back aren't doing their job to stabilize your back, the psoas might try to pick up the slack.

    So, that's one theory.

    The other is that, whether you can tell or not, your knees are caving in a bit, and it's irritating that muscle and/or your hip capsule.

    In either case, try these cues:

    Brace your core. If you don't know what I mean, imagine someone is about to roundhouse-kick you in the gut, and you need to break their foot; every muscle around your midsection, and I'm talking front, sides, back, and every angle in between, should get rock solid.

    Alternatively, and also more scatologically, imagine you're taking the biggest dump of your life. Should result in the same braced core, but hopefully not a ruined pair of Andrew Christian's.

    This is what you need to do at the top of each rep. Take a big gulp of air, put it in your gut, brace hard against it, hold it as you descend, keep holding it until you're halfway up, and then finally let it out. If a weak core was the reason your hip flexor was lighting up, this should fix it (it would also explain why the problem only occurred when you increased the weight).

    The second cue is this: "spread the floor" during your reps. That basically means pushing your feet out against the outside of your shoes as you approach and come out of the bottom of the squat. When you do this (do it now! Do it, no weight required, go!!) you should feel the outside of your hips turn on. You know, your butt. Your butt helps keep your knees from caving in, and also it can look nice, so make sure it's working in your squat.

    My third suggestion...wait, did I say I only had two? Sue me: Foam roll like you're getting paid to do it. Specifically, your IT band, hip flexor, quads, adductors, and glutes. If you have no idea what I'm talking about...uh, never mind. Whole 'nother wormhole.

    Try these during your next squat session, and see if they help at all. If it/they work, then you've identified the problem, and now you know how to fix it.

    If you have any questions, I obviously love geeking out about squat mechanics.



    This is probably the most helpful and informed post I've read on the site in a loooong time. Fundamentally, he's reminding us that the most obvious muscles are very often not the cause of performance issues. A trainer with knowledge can analyze your form and give specific instruction for each move.

  • ZakSayWhat

    Posts: 573

    Jun 13, 2015 6:04 AM GMT
    i squat and pretend theres a penis under me. it makes it easier