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Can't Feel Quads or Hams on Squats, Adductors are Killing Me. Why?

Hello. After every lowbar back squat session, my quads and hamstrings are fresh as a daisy, but soon thereafter my adductors (inside of thighs near groin, hope I have the muscle right) are absolutely killing me. They are even sore the next day and sometimes the day after.

One of the bros suggested that I do mobility work and stretches to try to get my quads and hams to fire, because for some reason, my adductors are picking up the slack for not being able to engage the quads and hams. At the learned bro’s suggestion, I did basically a body weight bulgarian split squat and held the position halfway for about a minute (maybe more). For the first time in my life, I actually felt my quad fire up. After doing that for about 30 minutes, my quads felt much more tired than they’ve ever felt after doing barbell back squats. The only other time my quads felt tired we after using the leg extension machine.

Does anyone have any comments? Also, are there specific exercises or stretches that I should be doing before squatting to get the quads and hams fired up? Does anyone know why my adductors might be doing all the work in my squats? Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

Although this is not a form check question, for reference an example of my squat is below if that helps. Advance through the huffing and puffing. Also, stats-- age 49, 5’7", 163 lbs. Thanks.

Chances are it’s going to be one of the three below

  1. Congrats! Yours quads are not your particular weakness for your current squat, strengthen the adductors and watch your squat improve.

  2. Google: Google: 3 Ways I Stopped Straining My Adductors

  3. Ab work. Brace better and/or wear a belt, it’s potentially your adductors taking over stabilization due to weak abs.

As for hamstring and glutes, with your particular squat style you shouldn’t feel them much as all, potentially glutes after a lot of reps, but your squat is going to be mostly quad dominate.

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If your toes are way turned out as you squat down your knees will spread and that can stretch the hell out of your groin.

Or if you overdo the Knees Out cue you can push your knees out too far, outside of your feet and really blast your adductors that way.

Whats the difference between your foot position in squats and your Bulgarian split squats? You don’t necessarily need to squat feet parallel with toes pointed straight ahead, but maybe you could adjust your stance, or maybe pay close attention to make sure your knees are moving over your feet, in line with your toes.

As far as pre-squat moves you could try Peterson Step ups for a little quad warm up and to focus on knees over mid foot motion.

Or regular old step ups or even some leg extensions to Fire Up your quads.

For hamstrings you could try some leg curls or some easy 45 degree back raises pre squat. Just something to get some blood in there and gets things moving nicely.

Some abs during your warm up won’t kill you either.

Look up the article “Squats are Secretly an Adductor Exercise” by Greg Nuckols.

Your hamstrings won’t do much when you squat unless you have a lot of forward lean.

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I have this issue or should I say had this issue, it has gone away as I have put in weekly use of the adductor machine. Yes the one that only the women use! (LOL) I get lots of funny looks when the 6’3" 345 lb guy who was just squatting five or six plates for reps goes over and starts doing sets of 15 and 20 reps on the adductor machine. I feel much more stable in the hole, and don’t get that ridiculous soreness the next few days. Good luck!

At a Kabuki Workshop I was at, they showed the “Copenhagen Drill” for adductors. They mentioned that the way they diagnose adductor weakness is if your squat stalls out 2/3s on the way up. I had that issue till I worked in some off-season sumo.

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