T Nation

Can't Squat...So Now What??


Hello, my boyfriend is a structural mess, to cut a long story short, he cannot do any squatting variations - when he gets below parallel (or even just above it), and comes back up to complete the rep, his right hip bone clunks back into place at lock-out point. It feels very wrong, and comes along with right hip flexor pain.

However, he has no problem with any deadlift variation (obviously whatever is happening only happens when he reaches a certain point of hip flexion)......I guess what I'm wondering is, assuming that this issue can't be "fixed" (he is seeking professional help) do you think an impressive physique can be built without squatting, and just with single-leg exercises and deadlifts??


Of course, heck I know people who don't lift at all but since the have laborous jobs are built strong. There is all kinds of shit to do but total comfort and ease of reps don't build muscle on any exercise.


I don't think this guy squats more than your boyfriend, and he's built a very impressive physique. Hope your boyfriend is having his problem fixed quickly!


Haha!! Okay yes I see your point, however I think I'll rephrase the question - "can an impressive lower body be built without squatting?"


leg presses are a good exercise.


I'd have to say yes, but I wouldn't expect to be able to become absolutely huge or anything. He'll likely be able to get good strength from deadlift variations, the main thing that will suffer will be his quads from not squatting i suppose. Work with the mind muscle connection there and things like sissy squats (which involve zero hip flexion and very large quad focus) should be able to help a fair bit. Good luck to your boyfriend, I'm impressed he still tries to squat and hasn't given everything up as a bad job like so many would.


Cool, I don't think he has the dedication/drive to become absolutely huge anyway so that's not a problem!

I'd forgotten about sissy squats, thanks - do you know of where there is a good description of how to perform them correctly? We train at home, so only have squat racks & free weights.....

It is very disheartening for him (he loved squatting), especially when you add in the fact that his left shoulder is also fucked!! Can't bench press/dip/pushup heavy without issues, can't overhead press fantastically......:frowning:


Many people can build very impressive legs without squats, contrary to what many people believe.

I actually see much more leg growth from leg presses, leg extensions, and leg curls than i do from squats or deads. It might be just me, but my legs just see much more growth with those exercises. Yet i rarely do leg press or extensions. The reason being is i don't feel like i get a carry over to my athletic endeavors.

The reason i squat and deadlift is for the benefits i get from doing them as it applies to my sport performance. But for me, as far as building mass, there is nothing that compares to leg press and extensions.

If you only train at home and don't have access to that equipment i would try lunges, but that might cause strain on the hips as well.

Hopefully whoever he is getting help from will be able to fix his problem.

Good luck!


Lunges don't cause him any problems, and bulgarian split squats are fine as well. Seems if there's only one leg going down past parallel then it's all good!

Will look into getting a small footprint leg press for home - thanks!


It looks like he needs a good rehab program (I've tried this one with good results: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_part_iv ), before thinking of getting into an intense mass program. Check all Cressey and Robertson articles about shoulder issues, injury, muscle balance...Aside from the fact that going heavy doesn't seem imperative for muscle gains (according to Abel Scott):



try and make sure hes firing his glutes to complete the squat.

dong some dynamic flexibility and activation work can give you great results.Dynamic flexibility exercises wont irritate the problem. By integrating movements that combine glute activation with hip flexor lengthening, you kill two birds with one stone.

foam roll prior to all dynamic flexibility warm ups.


just a suggestion...

i would let him get professional help first and go from there before you make an investment on a leg press. it really could be just an easy fix that only takes a few weeks or months.

i would do lunges and mobility work for now. you really can build impressive legs from just lunges, when i do them i feel em everywhere in my leg and am sore for a few days.

but the most important thing is to see if a professional can fix the problem so you don't have to deal with any of this.


Yeah for sure - we're pretty sure no glute activation is a big part of it - when he does split squats for instance his left glute will be really sore, but the right won't really be.

He is doing dynamic flexiblity stuff and foam rolling, but I guess he'll need to do lots more, as he's pretty messed up!

Unfortunately we don't trust any professionals in Oz, so we're hoping Cressey can help over the net :confused:


Seppuku, OP. That's the only choice you have left.


if he does it everyday the foam rolling and the static stretching instead of just before he squats it might be more benefical

i had lower back pain and shoulder pain and once i started foam rolling and stretching every
morning after a few weeks it went away.


Hehehe I'll be sure to suggest it :wink:


Lunges, Leg press, Leg curls, Leg extensions, etc etc




Squats are really over-glorified.. and deadlifts. You don't need squats to build good legs; they're just an option that a lot of people use. There are tons of other exercises and wonderful machines that you can use.


I guess after a while it kinda gets drilled into you that squats are so essential and the best mass builder of all time.....so you think gotta squat gotta squat gotta squat, it's good to hear from people doing it that they're not essntial, just useful :slight_smile: