T Nation

Pain in the Butt

Last evening, during my first set of power cleans, I got this incredible pain on both sides of my butt, right where the curvy part meets the back of my legs (I am a female, if it helps with the visual).

It was a fairly light weight, about 60% of my 1RM, and I had done a decent warmup prior to this set.

I could barely move at first, but after about five minutes the pain was gone, and replaced by a mild stinging sensation, still on both sides.

I lowered the weight some and was eventually able to continue my workout, but this incident scared the hell out of me.

Can anyone help diagnose what this may be? I am thinking it was just a muscle spasm, but I am scheduled to try a new personal record in the deadlift on Saturday, and now I am kind of hesitant.

Thanks for any input


Does it still hurt? What level of pain? Right now, and i am no expert, I would not worry too much about it, but pay attention to it. Judging by the way you described what happened it does not seem that bad. Sometimes I get a shooting pain for a day but it goes away. It could be an irritated nerve but not too serious. When it stays for a couple days then I start thinking. as for Saturday I would play it by ear. If it completely debilitates you, obviously don’t go for the PR. Just listen to your body. Is the PR in training or competition, etc?

The PR is just for training. I could delay it, but just got into a training groove, and don’t want to wuss out.

The pain isn’t too bad this morning, but it’s definitely there - more discomforting than anything else, but it is not regular muscle soreness.

Like I mentioned before, the thing that freaked me out the most was that it occured with a low weight.

Thanks for the input


I’m no physical therapist, nor athletic trainer, but I think you might be over-training your butt/hammies. Don’t quote me here, but I don’t think that was a nerve pinch, rather a pull or cramping pain. How much pulling/squatting (type and frequency) have you been doing lately? I have had my middle glutes tighten up, almost cramping after an intense set of lunges, but I’ve never had a pain quite as severe as you are describing. It might also have been an upper hamstring pull since you indicated the spot where the ham ties into the glute. If you are DL and cleaning in the same session or without sufficient rest, I could see you easily over-training that area.

It’s not good practice to dismiss this severe pain as just some minor side-effect of hardcore training. A mild pull or burn can happen every now and then with hard working lifters. But, any intense pain is your body telling you something is wrong. If you were my athlete/client, I would have you STOP doing pulling movements - you probably should have not continued your workout that day either. And, don’t feel like a “wuss” if you need to back down the throttle and evaluate what your body is telling you. That’s called smart training!

Hope this helps.

Certified personal trainer and coach

Thanks TopSirloin.

I skipped yesterday’s workout, except for some light jogging, which wasn’t painfull. I think I’ll skip today too, and see how i feel tomorrow.

I am starting to think it was just a cramp - but if it was, what does that indicate? Not good enough warmup? Muscle weakness? Muscular imbalance?
Poor recovery? Some neuro-muscular thing that is way over my head? I just don’t want it to happen again, and will do whatever I need to correct the problem.

Since I train at home, sometimes I think I may overlook some fault that may be easily diagnosed if I were in the gym.

But then again, the majority of people dishing out advice at my old gym didn’t know what the hell they were talking about anyway.

How about you post what you did for a warm up. I am talking about the general warm up and the specific warm up.

Frogs has a good idea with the warm-up. But more importantly, if you could address those aspects I touched on earlier, that would help us help you better. Such as: training type (ie, power lifting vs. body building), frequency, diversity (what movements do you do for the lower body and on what days?), loading parameter, etc. Basically, post a typical training week for us.


I am a physical therapist and some general questions that every patient is asked follow:

During what part of the movement did the pain begin?

What makes it worse (activity, movement, etc.)?

What makes it feel better?

Describe how it feels during typical day (worse in AM, etc.)?

What does the pain feel like?

If you answer those questions, it will help us all to get a better understanding of your pain and problem? Then we can offer some advice and ask more specific questions.

Here’s the lowdown on what happened:

I was cleaning the weight up to my shoulders to do some front squats (I don’t have a squat rack in my basement) when the pain occurred.

I had pulled the bar almost to shoulder level, and was up on my toes, trying to get under it.

After five days off from training, the pain in the butt is gone. It had been a while since I had an extended rest period, so I figured now was a good time.

When it did hurt, almost any type of movement made it ache - even shifting when sitting in my computer chair. After the first day, I’d say I had only 25% of the pain I had initially, but it lingered all weekend, still on both sides of my butt. I wouldn’t say it was better or worse at any particular time of day.

The initial pain could be described like a charley horse I guess. Afterwards, it was just sore, like if you fall on your butt hard on the ice - not like soreness from working out.

I feel pretty good today - do you think I should just jump back into my regular routine today and play it by ear, or could you recommend that I just do specific exercises? Its been 5 days since I did legs, and I had been doing them twice a week previously, a heavy day and a speed day.


I used to get a pain in my hams when I did walking lunges for the first time in a few months. I used to do them every once in a while and when I did them, I’d get that pain. It was like I cramping pain.

IMO, I think it might of been just a cramp. The pain in my hams took about 4-5 days for it to be totally gone.

I have to agree with Natural Atlas. Every time I would do squats after having a long break, the exact same spot would hurt. Not tingle, or kind of hurt, but motha of god hurt. I’d stretch the crap out of it, and then do more sets. The next few days I wouldn’t be able to move right. Then I’d go back to squats and it would hurt less and less. Finally after years of non-stop squatting, its never hurt. I’d say not to stop doing what you’re doing. When I do, i can’t move. Sucks


Just wanted to give a quick update

Last night I did a light leg workout, and I feel pretty good this morning, expect for some soreness on the sides of my hips.

I assume this is because of tightness (or weakness) in my hip flexors. Does anyone know if this could have contributed to my original problem? Or am I way off base?


Every night when I crawl into bed I stretch my hamstrings. I also often stretch piriformis and hip flexors. If I didn’t do this regularly, I’d never be able to squat or deadlift more than just the bar. It might help you out.

Good luck.

TShaw, thanks for the tip. I have never heard of piriformis, but after googling it, I found a flexibility test at http://www.drbackman.com/piriformis-muscle-stretch.htm

Since my knee is higher than my foot when performing the test, I think I have some major flexibility issues to resolve.