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Hips Swaying to Side During Squats


I'm a personal trainer, and I've noticed with a few of my clients, when squatting, their hips tend to sway to one side at the bottom portion of the lift. And were not necesarily going below parallel either.

Usually doesn't show up till heavier weight.

After taking notice, I've come to see that I do it as well.

I know I've seen it plenty more on the smith machine than free weight, and can't readily recall seeing it on free weight squats at all.

Can some1 explain this, and maybe how to correct it?


As far as the shifting to one side, I've had very good results by stretching (PNF) the hamstring on the side that he/she sways toward.

If that doesn't do it (or even if it does), try stretching the gluts and maybe even rolling the ITB which I always do anyway.


You have your clients squat on a smith machine?

I've seen some weightlifters doing this grinding out of the hole from a clean; I wonder if one leg has quad-dominance while the other has stronger hams/glutes and you favor them at different portions of the squat.


Get out of the smith machine. Problem solved.

I have had some twisting type problems coming out of the hole, caused by sleepy glutes, a tight piriformis, or a tight psoas. Your clients may require more stretching and rolling.


I have a Junior lifter that trains with us and he always had that problem until we had him set up with a slightly staggered stance. He sets up with his left toe farther forward than his right. Problem solved.

His left leg is longer than his right leg. He's known about it basically for 10 years. I asked him about if after trying numerous things, stretching blah blah, and he was like, "Oh yeah, my left leg is longer than my right."

Not that uncommon of a thing.


Its probably because of the machine, go to free weight. They also probably have poor hip strength. When they squat heavier, do you see their knees buckle in?


People will always have one side more dominant than the other. There will always be some type of asymetry.


Stop training them on the smith machine! And make them all go below parallel! If you are a personal trainer you aren't training them very good, not correcting their shallow squat.




We train 30 minutes sessions. A lot of times people are back to back. Half of them you can tell 100 times to do a certain action or hold your form a certain way, they don't listen. A lot of my workouts I'm not even training them for squat, I'm using medium weight squat as a warmup, or just trying to activate most of the muscles in their legs before we start.

What the hell is wrong with the Smith machine? we're talking average joe's and jane's, not powerlifters.

Or should I just have them squat everytime, and throw shocking the body with a different kind of resistance out the window?

Is the excess glute and ham activation irrelevant to gains, because the regular squat is superior?

Open minds guys.


Squating on the smith machine is not recommended due to spinal safety, that's why people are saying don't do it. It has increased risk of injury without any offsetting positive benefits. Get rid of it.

If your clients dont listen when you correct thier form. . . .what the hell are you doing there? counting?


"What the hell is wrong with the Smith machine? we're talking average joe's and jane's, not powerlifters."

See, that is an attitude we often lament; this is what gives alot of PT's such a bad rap. A proper, ass-to-heels squat (even just a bodyweight one, for fuck's sake) is absolutely superior to anything else in improving mobility and strength in the average Tarzan and Jane's. Case closed.


As APWsearch has mentioned, leg length discrepancy definitely can be an issue. Most people have one leg, which is stronger than the other. Single leg step ups, split squats, etc. should also be a consideration to even out differences in leg strength.



Agree on the Smith.
However squatting below parallel isn't always possible / suitable. People should squat to the depth where they can maintain low back stability (no rounding). Tall people often are unsuited to the squat.


Tall or short, everyone should be able to perform a squat that breaks parallel. With tall individuals, who in general have long limbs and short torsos, the stance will need to be wider. Also pointing the toes outwards helps the person hit depth.



By the way, Most squats I train people to do on smith machine I have their feet quite a bit in front of them, as opposed to under them.

I have long limbs in proportion to my torso, but I've never tried exadurating on the width of my stance, that sounds like a great idea, I will attempt to apply it to my next med-heavy weight squat attempt, and see the results, thank you.


smith squats are great for hypertrophy, don't let these idiots slow you down.


free weight squats are superior to smith period bro. the only reason someone should be doing something besides deep free weight squats is if the have an injury that doesnt allow them. in that case they should be consulting a physical therapist. Oh and if this has anything to dowith hypertrophy your in the wrong forum...


Oh geez, don't ask for legit help or information on here man.


they should only go below parallel if they can without back rounding. if you force them lower and the back rounds you can cause alot of damage. below parallel squatting is not always the answer.