T Nation

Squat Form Check. Past History of Hip Pain and Butt Wink

Hey guys,
I’ve been squatting for a while, but it’s never been an easy lift. I’ve had some hip flexor pain almost as long as I can remember. I got up to somewhere around 285lb quite a few years ago, but ended up having to take a break from said pain, probably from pretty poor form. Later, while trying to lazily rehab, I started getting lower back pain when squatting above 180-200lb, which I also attribute to bad form and some bad mobility resulting in some dysfunctional butt wink.

I’ve since spent a long time front squatting and working on mobility and starting to do Limber 11 everyday before lower body work, and have read a lot about hip pain and butt wink and squat form in general, which has all worked together to create a slightly confused squat form, and this is what I’ve come up with here.

I’ve been trying to keep my back angle more horizontal - do I need to keep it more? I haven’t felt issues in my lower back much yet - this is partly because I used to hyperextend from the get go which definitely put my back into flexion much sooner - does the butt wink look alright? Anything else I should look at?
Squat shoes - I know my ankle flexibility may be creating some issues for me, my chucks are about to expire - would it be a good idea to invest in some squat shoes? Can I wear these while deadlifting?
Last question - I’ve read a bunch of different opinions on belts - at what point should I even consider using one?


Squat 180lb =

Side view 160-180ish=

Another view =

Quick Deadlift at 275ish if you’re bored =

(I’ve since tried to keep my back more horizontal with some decent results)

Hey there.
Squat: I would spread your feet out to at least shoulder width apart, and also angle your toes as such. When you descend, pull the floor apart with your heels. Drop the weight and watch your form as you perform the movement.
Deadlift: Drop your ass just a bit lower. I would suggest trying different forms of DLs out because you may find another form easier to move up in weight that feels more natural. I switched from conventional to a hybrid of both conventional and sumo and it was like night and day.

At the end of your session, train the farmer walk and any other weighted carries because you are weak in the abs.

I am not a fan of Chuck Taylors, as my ankle hurts when I use them. I would suggest getting a pair of VS Athletics, Reeboks or Adidas. I like the Reeboks and they’re a good buy. VSA are ugly as fuck but they’re a good brand.

Hmm, considering I have some issues with hip pain and everything I’ve read tends to suggest that feet and stance should be brought in when dealing with hip pain, and doing a scour/rock back test has my back staying neutral longer with a pushed in stance gives me evidence to keep them narrower - thoughts on this?

I have some qualms with the idea of dropping my ass lower in terms of my understanding of optimal back angles (ie: literature like this - https://www.t-nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift) - however, I’m not sure if my hips are in optimal position - I was thinking higher, not lower though.

I would like to try some different DL forms. I’ll check out the shoes thanks!

100% Opinions, from a non- powerlifter, with a terrible squat:

I would put a belt on right away. Powerlifters wear belts. Join them! If you hyperextend or over-arch, or did these things in the past, you are probably not using your abs and obliques exactly right, now. Wearing a belt, pushing against it and “feeling” what’s going on can help you learn to move better. This might tighten you up immediately.

Possibly Contoversial:
I would not squat so deep. You may be butt-winking simply because you are going so far below parallel. No extra points are awarded for extra depth. A wider stance might allow you to use more hips and limit your depth automatically.

Possibly Inflammatory:
I think you should get a “second opinion” about squatting. Get some info from a different coach about what should go on during a Squat. Not everybody advocates looking at the floor.

Are you referring to me?

Incidentally, if he is powerlifter or is training to be one, he’s going to need to break parallel. What kind of advice is that? USAPL withstanding any squat higher than that will be a red light.

I wasn’t referring to anybody. I was, alluding(?) to the idea that squatting with the back horizontal to the ground and looking at the floor is pretty much recommended by only 1 guy. Other lifters and coaches do things a little different. Maybe a new perspective will provide info that results in a breakthrough.

1 Like

I just want to get some clarification on your goals. You posted in the powerlifting section, but you didn’t really talk about goals with squatting at all, so I figure it’s worth asking. Are you squatting with the intention of competing in powerlifting competitions? If that is the case, then you should be working towards getting your max squat number up using the absolute best leverages you can. If your goal is simply to get stronger legs and enjoy lifting, and see progress over time, then the advice will be slightly different.

I will say that, in my opinion, most people, regardless of goals, are best served by finding whatever squatting method lets them squat pain-free. Longevity is key for almost any goals. I’ve seen a lot of powerlifters absolutely wreck themselves using techniques they thought were ideal for moving the most weight, only to ultimately come to the conclusion after years and years of training that maybe they should have just found ways to stay healthy.

1 Like

That’s a great question. I’ve always hoped to one day compete, however I’ve had issues with squats for such a long time now, at this point I’m just looking for the best way to get stronger squats while staying healthy.

then I would keep doing what you’re doing as long as it feels fine. Everyone is a little bit different when it comes to best leverages, hip structure, limb length, muscular balances/imbalances, etc. I wouldn’t worry about bringing your feet position wider or anything like that if this feels good. Just pay as much attention to bio feedback as you can. If you start to develop lingering pain anywhere, address it immediately.