T Nation

Coping with Pain with Squats and Presses


Hey all. I’m loving the 5/3/1 program, however I am having some shoulder issues and pain with the press, and hip pain with the squat. My bench press is pain free, deadlift also pain free. Are there any substitutes for the press? I know I shouldn’t substitute, but I’m 16 and want longevity in the gym with no future nagging pain problems. With the squat, I want to keep squatting. This is a video of me squatting:

I’m not sure why I’m getting pain, I work on mobility every day twice a day and foam roll. Maybe I don’t warm up properly, so if someone could leave a warm up routine for 5/3/1 that’d be great. I just want to stay healthy and get bigger. I will admit I do feel my lower back working during my squats and I do high bar because I am a new lifter and this is comfortable for me. I may be using too much weight, but I’ve dropped it a good bit. If someone could help that would be great, thanks!


Also forgot to mention my hip now pops when I lift my right knee, kind of concerning.


Congrats on choosing a smart training program.

First of all I’d definitely see a doctor - lifting is no joke and you might have some never-before diagnosed issues (like scoliosis, hip displasia or whatnot).

Second - the video is just one angle from the floor - I’d definitely show my squat to a qualified coach / a physical therapist and let him see it from different angles (or wait for some more qualified people here to evaluate it).

Good luck with your training.


You could widen you stance. Popping is not a problem unless it hurts - but I’m not a doctor so get it checked out. As for shoulder pain when pressing at 16 years old - again, get it checked out by a doctor. Do you play sports where you throw a lot? If so, you might need some coaching on how to throw properly. I sure could have used that when I was in HS because I’ve dealt with shoulder pain all my life as a result - I’m 39.

Your squat looks fine by the way. No one does anything perfectly but yours looks acceptable. Try a slightly wider stance perhaps and point your toes out. Make any adjustments you need to in your squat to where you don’t feel pain. Wide/narrower stance, toes more in/out, high/low bar, wide/narrow grip - all acceptable adjustments and just play around to see where you’re most comfortable and pain free.


No help with the hip or squat technique. I’m not a doctor or a coach. But, a couple of things stand out to me that I feel encouraged to mention…

  1. Get some decent shoes. Just some cheap Chucks if you’re on a tight budget. “Squishy” athletic shoes aren’t the best for squatting.

  2. Stop fidgeting with your feet! Walk back, get set, and squat. Don’t change foot position between every rep.


First see a Dr about hip pain. There could be an under lying problem. Not trying to scare you but better be safe than sorry. One thing you can ask is does it hurt to do, say leg press or another movement pattern similar to squats? If so then it could be more concerning, if not then it could just be squat technique. Regardless see your PCP .like someone said set your feet and get reps.

I believe Wendler prefers de Franco’s agile 8, I use it to this day to combat hip stiffness daily and some of my own protocol I’ve used with my patients as a therapist.


single leg work for assistance. I like rear foot elevated split squat when my hips get tight. could try DB OHP for assistance to see if a neutral grip helps. when my shoulders get cranky, I do behind the neck press for assistance, starting very light.


Have you tried changing the Press for the Incline Press and the Back Squat for the Front Squat?

Lower your TM by 10-15%, a step back to move 3 steps forward. Clean up your form, etc.


The form doesn’t look bad, so I would certainly talk to a medical professional. Like others have said, it could be an undiagnosed condition.

What’s your warmup like?


11 months old guys, give up…