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Squat ?'s: Flexibility, Hip/Knee/Feet


Hi All. I really love my squatting but always find something a bit akward. I feel it may have to do with flexibility (although I stretch extensively) and wondering if anyone can shed light on the topic.

When I squat I have very good form - it took a good year to get it right but finally got it nailed. I do it with varying foot positioning (ranging from narrow stance, pointing forward to wide stance, pointing outward). What I always find is that:

  • I start with legs, feet, knees all symmetrical
  • By the end of the set, I always see that my right foot is a good 5-10cm farther back, and pointed a lot more outward.
  • This happens subconsciously all the time, no matter how hard I try to prevent it, no matter how much I focus on keeping it still.
  • Accompanying this, I often find that as I go down, the left hip stays in position, but the right hip seems to move slightly backward too, almost causing the entire torso to rotate ever so slightly to the right.

This hasn't affected my quad growth, but it still feels very weird and would really like to fix it. For reference, my right calf is, and has always been, MUCH smaller than my left, something I just can't seem to balance out.

Any help/advice is appreciated,


No idea and I'm not qualified to help either. But have you tried overhead squatting? It helps everything.

Post on Cressey/Robertson threads in the Author's Locker Room - those two are awesome for stuff like this.


Ian King has an excellent leg program somewhere in the archives that focuses on imbalances. The main idea of the program is to perform single leg variants of each exercise, doing the weak side first and doing the same number of reps on the strong side. You may want to give it a try and see if it helps.


Hey read 10 uses for a smith machine.



Thanks for the tip. I will search the archives now to try and find it. I believe some one-legged work may do the trick.

I only noticed today that it also affects some other lifts, namely leg press and SLDL. Legpress: similar symptoms: right leg ends up 'lower' than left leg, and foot turned out more. With SLDL, when I come down, my right hip moves slightly backward while the left stays in the same position, ie. slight rotation of the trunk toward the right.

I almost missed that article on the Smith Machine: got some good flexibility tips there. I will give those a go. Since we don't have many smith's at the gym, I will try make something which would fulfill the same purpose at home. That way I could do those every night, a bit at a time, to try and improve flexibility.


Just use a lighter weight and concentrate on keeping the outsides of your feet hard on the ground.

Keep going lighter until you can do it with what you consider is perfect form. Then slowly up the weight. Too heavy would be anything that makes you revert to your previous movement pattern.


Hi There,

I have tried it with light weights. I have even tried it with just the bar, as well as freeweight (hands behind head) and it is just an autonomous slight twisting of the trunk toward the right. I am going to work on the flexibility as per those movements in the '10 things to do with a smith machine' article, as well as incorporate some one-leg movements.

Any suggestions as to similar flexibility exercises/drills to those in the article which can be done at home?



BUMP....I was thinking of a way to explain it more and also to figure it whether it is tightness or weakness which may be a cause. So, here goes:

When I squat, I feel the trunk rotate slightly to the right. I can feel this a lot in the right hip are, more specifically right at the top of the right quad where it joins the upper body. It feels like it is in the region of the right hip-flexor. It feels week, almost permanently under stress.

Furthermore, when I do something like SLDL I feel the same thing. What it feels like is that the left is very stable and does not move, but the right one moves slightly backward. Could this be caused by a weakness in the right side which is causing it to slightly 'collapse', hence why the trunk rotates to the right in those exercises?

Also when I do something like riding a bike, I don't even feel the left side (top of quad region where it joins upper body) but I can feel the right is stressed, as if it is being constantly exercises and not very stable.




You need to at minimum get one of the pros on this site to give you some advice. The best would be to find someone that knows what there doing in your area, and get an exam. Your problem does not sound minor at all. You could be making it worse every time you squat.


Living all the way in South Africa doesn't help my cause :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously though, I am almost certain that it is the right hip-flexor. It is far weaker than the left, and feels always stressed and overworked. I think I need to do some major work on hip-flexor strengthening - any exercises you could suggest?


Quick update: I had day 3 of the Waterbury Method and did lunges as per the program. Normal front lunges were too akward, but back/reverse lunges were fantastic. However my upper quads are now in serious pain! Must be working a weak pair of muscles which was not hit previously.


What is your sports background? What have you done before you started lifting?

I'll guess weak core. Or maybe I should asy "unbalanced core development" is the root problem. The foot position is just the manifestation.



No sports background really. To be honest I was a fat bastard till about age 16. Then lost lots, and since about age 21 have been slowly building back up.


I was thinking that maybe you were involved in a sport that would result in an unbalanced development, ie. baseball/cricket, tennis, etc.

Try some step-ups with heavy DB. Do all the step-ups with the one leg until you run out of gas. Rest well, then do the other leg. See if there is a significant difference between legs.
Set the box at 50% of your in-seam length (crotch to floor). Use heavy enough DBs to keep you around 10 reps or less. Tighten your abs REALLY hard when pressing down with the foot.



Hi There. In terms of serious sports activities, none. However I did in fact play tennis and cricket. Tennis from about age 6-12. Cricket from about 15-18. However these were simlpy extramural school activites. The imbalances never showed up even in the initial years of gym training, till about 2 years ago.

Normal lunges were difficult - even with very light weight there was trouble balancing. I actually also tried DB step-ups: could only manage with very light weights - about 10kg/side. The back lunges felt best: not too akward, better balance, but still hitting the weaker muscles.

I will probably stick to them for now, but do thing like BW step-ups at home to build up the proper form before attempting heavy loads. Are there any other exercises you could suggest, either at home or gym, to strengthen the hip-flexors and upper quads (preferably something I can one-legged in order to help the imbalance).



You have described areas of numbness as well as serious pain. I suggest you don't try to feel your way through to a solution. At minimum, you will waste a lot of time, and you may make things worse. I think the best thing to do is go somewhere and get a pro to look at you, and give you a thorough diagnosis with a plan of action, even if you have to get on a plane to do it. I bet you can find someone in South Aftrica though.


I think this has been blown a bit out of proportion. I don't feel any numbness. Pain I did not really feel until yesterday, the day after doing lunges for the first time in about a year. It is in imbalance and weakness in one area, yes - but not a major injury as it is seeming to be portrayed. Believe me if it was serious enough to warrant a specialist I would definitely go. The guys and gals over at the Center for Sports Medicine know me well as I have been there already for back pain as well as impingment and osteolysis in my shoulders.



I'd say if you're having problems with a hip or foot moving then by definition you haven't nailed it. You know the saying - when you think you've perfected something is when you stop improving.


That is very true. When I said nailed I guess I meant I got the overall movement right. Prior to this I was doing it with bad form - back would arch, knees would come very much in front of toes, head down etc.

Since doing squats primarily though, I think the fact that the other exercises were left out (such as lunges and other one-leg movements) has brought about an imbalance and inflexibility which I now need to seriously work on.


It's the 3rd day after lunges. My upper quads are still very sore, but surprisingly this didn't affect my squat session today (10x3). I actually went up in weight!

Been trying those smith machine drills to improve hip flexibility. Finding them quite difficult, especially due to balance being lost. Also the right side gets tired quite a lot quicker. I am trying to research into some more exercises specifically to improve the right hand side - upper quad, hip flexor, hip, whichever the culprit may be.