SI Joint + Broken Squat Help

Long story short, SI joint in a lot of pain. Gave up deadlifts for 3 weeks, no change. Coming to the realization it’s probably my squat.

So how is my squat broken. I started squatting Olympic style about 2 years ago and now I find myself squatting 315 1RM yet I can’t even do a 205 5x5. I squat ass to grass and I think maybe I need to switch to low-bar.

I find after a few reps of any moderate weight my back starts collapsing forward. Hence the SI joint problems (even with 205!). Need advice plz.

Tight hip flexors can cause SI joint pain. Try to fix that and see if it helps.



Your squat doesn’t look “broken”, you just lean forward because the weights are heavy or you start to get fatigued when you do reps so you shift the load to your glutes and hamstrings. If you squat low bar you kind of have to lean forward more. The problem with leaning forward with a high bar squat is that your upper back will become the limiting factor, if your back collapses you will fail a squat that you probably could have finished if the bar was lower on your back.

So either switch to high bar and accept the forward lean or focus on building your quads up.


Back in December '09, I injured my SI joint fairly badly. Occasionally, it’ll still nag me today, but nothing that slows me down much.

I would see threads about people SI joints every once in a while so I made a notepad file of the some of the stuff that helped me. There’s bound to be something there that’ll be helpful. Here goes:

I’ve like tractioning. I’ll set up a band up high, loop it around my ankle, lie down with my leg at a 45 degree angle up and out and kind of wiggle my hip around until the SI pops back into place. I really only find it useful if it’s out of place, but it can still nag you while it’s where it should be just because of inflammation.

For long term SI health, I found using minamalist footwear like 5 fingers or the Adidas minimus to be very helpful. I was landing with too hard a heel strike to let it heal and this taught how not to.

Clamshells might help shuttle blood in there and teach proper movement.

I like really light and easy goblet squats and 1 leg stiff legged db deadlifts. You’re just trying to stretch things out and ingrain proper movement patters, maybe get a light pump sometimes but that’s not even necessary.

Be sure to stretch out your piriformis. Also get a soft ball and work it into your entire hip complex. Stretch and do soft tissue work on your hip flexors. Sometimes they pull on your hip in a way that irritates the SI.

For SI the stuff on this link: The manual correction will work if you use a band set anchored up high too, just be sure to get the angle right.

These vids helped me too. For us weightlifters, you’ll need to use a bit more than pressure from your hands.

I do this after first warming up the area with general light exercises. When my SI clicks out of place and I’m having a lot of trouble popping it back into place I’ll cross friction by placing a broom into a corner and lean the tight ropy parts of my hip close to the SI into the round part of the broom and hold it gently moving it into there for a minute or so. I do this only if lax ball work and stretching and tractioning doesn’t fix the problem because it does cause a good bit of inflamation and soreness and tenderness. The premise is that you’re basically opening up tight tissue and reinflaming the area but having it inflamed where the SI should be so your body can build back the correct way. Followed by lying clams and very strict one leg db romanian deadlifts and bird dogs with a very slow tempo to make sure it’s in the right place after loosening things up. Do not take anti-inflammatories. You actually want it to keep your SI there while it heals.

Google ‘band man dave tate’ and you’ll see a couple of things for band tractioning for the lower back.


Any explanation on why my 5x5 strength is less than 60% of my 1 RM. I can’t make sense of it.

Any thoughts on my rep strength disparity with my 1rm?


Belted (1rm) vs. No belt(reps)?

If you had a hernia and now your SI is acting up, you’re mid-section/core/and/bracing is probably behind everything else, or not exactly right.

As a result, squatting without a belt is extra tough.

Yes, with a belt I feel like I have magical powers. I will try releasing my hip flexors, work on my core and do more single leg ISO.

Yes, all good stuff. Stretch hip flexors, fire up glutes and abs/obliques.

Also related, how is your deadlift stance?

Single leg stuff is like the ultimate close stance work. “Oly” squats are close stance. Conventional Deadlifting is done heels close. All this narrow stance work can reenforce forward lean too.

You should definetly try some wider stance work, and see if pushing your feet “out” and really using glutes/hips can help you get a little more upright on squats. You don’t have to get crazy with ultra wide squatting or full range Sumo deads. But you could easily do some rack pulls from knee-cap height with an outside shoulder width stance. Push the feet/heels out, brace hard, and drive your hips to the bar. Even holding the bar in place and trying to “get tighter” works.

I struggle with forward lean and back pain, and this has been really effective for me.

poor work capacity

Yeah but, I train legs twice a week. At one point I was even doing 10 drop sets of squats in 1 session. I did ignore isolation work though.

Yes I Do Sumo DLs and external hip abduction.

Deadlift 1RM 410 @ 175

Ok, so how does your squat 5rm compare with your 1rm then? Maybe you just suck at doing reps. My heaviest set of 5 is 405 and I squatted 480 in a meet with more in the tank, 5 reps with 80-84% isn’t particularly impressive either.

How often you train legs or how may sets you do isn’t an indication of work capacity. You did 10 down sets in one workout, but what was the weight compared to your top set? And were you able to maintain the same number of reps and same weight for all 10 sets? Anyone can do 10 sets if you keep taking weight off the bar.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how many reps you can do for 5x5 or at a given percentage, the only thing that matters is your 1rm and that you keep making progress in whatever rep ranges you are trying. If I can suddenly do 450x5 but 500 crushes me, I certainly haven’t made any improvement in 1rm strength.

Some people just suck at reps and vice versa.

Making progress. Today I did 225 x 5 and 275 x 1 with no belt. I’ve been doing high reps twice a week with isolation work. Very happy.

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If interested something that has been greatly increasing my high bar is a an extreme quad dominate squat. I use a Smith machine to do it.

Bar very high on neck as high as can comfortably stand, feet as close to together as your hips will allow, then squat down TORSO never moves in any way stays extremely vertical. Break only at the knees and allow them to go forward and slightly out. Your heels will raise to about as high a postion as possible and will wind up on your toes. Do not drop down quick, really keep tension, and raise under control.

I’m going to try that, reed. So far single leg leg press and extensions are what’s helping me.

The squat I am describing is essentially a closed chain leg extension/sissy squat. Picked it up from an old Tom Platz Video.

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