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Is Flexibility Genetic/Joint-Shape Dependent?


Is flexibility genetic/joint-shape dependent?

Asking because during convential DLs or narrow stance squats, I feel my hips literally crush my hip flexors when the hip goes into full (for me) flexion. As such, I'd guess this not due to anything being tight...

I can keep a ~flat back (somewhat hunched T-spine) when doing conventional DLs, but:
- I am not able to keep a flat back while keeping the T-spine straight
- if I go up an inch or two (reduce flexion at the hip), I can truly arch my back - it's just flat/slightly arched if I pick the bar from the floor (competition height)
- during semi sumos, I can keep the back arched but only if my shoulders are a little in front of the bar; trying to keep the shoulders directly above or behind the bar resulted in my back flexing

Any help greatly appreciated.



Sounds like flexibility is definitely playing a role.

For example - in sumos you say you can only arch if your shoulders are in front of the bar. What I am guessing is that your knees/toes are not out enough to get them out of the way, thus the bar is too far forward from your hips and thus you can't get into proper position.

I think in the vast majority of powerlifters, they would significantly benefit from stretching their hips, inner thighs and entire rear chain very thoroughly! Obviously some unchangeable biomechanics may still have an effect (like long femurs etc), but unless you are a huge anomile, I bet flexibility can fix at least 50% of the problems you have listed here.


I do DeFranco's Agile 8 before every session along with a few other similiar exercises for my upper body. Makes a HUGE difference in getting into position and maintaining "form" during SQ/DL.


2 Things come to mind with what you described:

  1. You probably sit a lot. At work or school or just throughout the day. Not sitting with good form for long periods of time, yes, I said there is form to sitting, can shorten every muscle you are having problems with. The hip flexor complex can become bound at the hip and so can your psoas. Once your psoas is tight, you are pretty much fucked. Check out MobilityWod and search the videos for good psoas stretches. These tight muscles will in turn, put the upper back muscles in constant stretch. Making it hard to tighten that area during pulls.

  2. These tight muscles can pull your femur out of whack in the hip capsule. Look up some hip distraction and capsule streching/setting for your hips.

So, get your psoas and hip flexor loosened up and get your femur where its supposed to be in your hip and that should help tremendously.

And yes, there are genetic components to flexability. If you have shitty genetics, you just need to stretch more.


The genetic aspects are more joint related than muscle related. Like If you have trouble going to parallel in a squat you may have a capsular issue. This probably isnt the case unless you pull really really wide. Sometimes body dimensions can play a role.

Just stretch everything which could be tight and limiting, lats, hammies, glutes, hip flexors. Do it right before your warmup sets and test for any immediate improvement. Thats my two cents.
Pretty much the same advice as above, I didnt read that first.


Thank you all very much!

I'll add some stretching for the psoas.

I tend to sit reclined (135 degrees or more between thighs and torso), but I did sit a lot, wrongly, the years before.

I think my hams and glutes don't limit my flexibility; I can bend to over 90 degrees with legs straight, and can pick up something on the ground without rounding the lower back (somewhat hunching the T-spine, and keeping the L-spine arched) (i.e. I have to grab it at ground level; some 9" lower than than the bar).

Thanks again


i used to get a jamming feeling when i front squatted ATG.

in time... i realized that i was getting some anterior femoral glide (the head of the femur was grinding against the pelvis socket).

i discovered that some of the smaller gluteal muscles have a stabilization function (they help pull the head of the femur back so it doesn't jam in front).

x-band walks. get the medial glutes working.
step ups. pretty high step. trying to do these really very much like a squat (leg high enough so i'm breaking parallel if you get what i mean and really focusing on pulling myself up with my raised leg rather than pushing myself up from my grounded leg).

the step ups (particularly holding weight) got some tiny stabilizers that lie under the glute max firing (don't let your knee cave in!).

i haven't had a problem with anterior femoral glide since then.


(edit isn't working)

my hip flexors used to be short and tight. once i started stretching them out i developed the anterior femoral glide. turns out the short tight hip flexors were functioning to stabilize the femur in its socket. it shouldn't be doing that, though. you need your hip flexors to be stretched out before you can get proper glute activation (one inhibits the other). did have a painful time of things, though, at the transition point where my flexors were properly lengthened but my glutes weren't working properly. still need to focus a bit on making an effort to contract the glutes on every walking stride. part of it might be because i have shallow sockets in the pelvis so the muscles / tendons really do need to work properly for proper stabilization. dunno, though.


Thank you very much Alexus. I'll start doing abduction type exercises and see how it's going.

btw, where did you learn these kind of stuff?