T Nation

Squat Strength Drop, Minor Injury?

Hello T-Nation, I have a question regarding squatting. I recently joined a gym this month to build some leg strength. I’m aiming for 3x3 on the squat. I’m 3 weeks in and I get my squat to 275x3 and then multiple singles. Next session, I try 275 and barely get one rep; I drop the weight to 225 and it feels heavier than it should. I notice an injury-like feeling in the upper, inner-hip area (hip-flexor maybe?) on my left leg, could that cause a strength drop like I described?

EDIT: For what it’s worth, my height and weight is 5’ 7" 180lb-185lb. I was also on a cut, I have decided to increase calorie intake since the strength drop. I also have had no prior squatting experience before the last 3 weeks.


Yes it could

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If you just started squatting 3 weeks ago then you shouldn’t be doing singles any time soon. Sets of 3-5 are good, get lots of volume in to practice proper technique and do some high rep assistance work to add muscle.

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Is it possible that even a slight, minor injury/pull could cause a sharp decrease in strength? How many sessions should I take it easy, before I go 1-3 reps again?

I did one set of 3 reps on 275 and then some singles, are overuse injuries common in beginners going 1-3 reps?

Overuse injuries are the result of repeatedly putting too much strain on the same body part. Acute injuries are common in people with poor technique trying to lift heavy weights.


I thought my technique was pretty good, toes pointed out, no more than 30 degrees; breaking parallel (ATG). I was aiming for at least 305lb for reps when I hit the one month mark, but that may not happen :frowning: do you think a belt would help?

Yes and yes

You have been squatting for 3 weeks and now your leg hurts. Don’t tell me your technique is good enough to do heavy singles, that is complete nonsense.

If you plan to compete in PL then a belt will help you lift more. It won’t make your technique better or make you leg stop hurting.

Ok, you’ve got a very good point. Maybe my hip flexors are overcompensating due to bad form and that’s why I’m experiencing pain?

Just for classification which muscle would you say


I’d say it’s either the pectineus or the abbductor brevis.


Take a few days off and see how it feels. You could just be tight.

Sounds like a slight groin pull

Yeah, at first I thought it was my left testicle, haha. Then I realized my testicle isn’t a muscle, so it had to be something else :slight_smile:

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Must be, it only bothers me for a little bit when I get done squatting. Everyday activities don’t irritate it.

like a year or more. seriously. squatting in that range is not going to build strength. At best, it will get you neurologically adapted to squatting near your max potential. But that’s not very useful unless you’re actually competing in powerlifting. Squatting in the 5-20 rep range is how you will actually BUILD strength and size. 1-3 rep sets are for testing, and for CNS adaptation.


1-3 reps doesn’t build strength, but you’re saying it’ll make CNS adaptations? Seems like a contradictory statement. I have to actually compete in powerlifting to reach my maximum strength potential, why not just for fun? I thought I was doing alright by making 10lb increases each session for a 3x3 rep/set scheme, while on a cut (with the exception of 275x3 + multiple singles) at a BW of 180-185lb, in 3 weeks. Not trying to be an asshat and brag (probably not that good anyways.) just trying to defend my choice of trying to maximize strength gains.

Mass moves mass. You’ll maximize strength gains by going deeper into sets of 5-20 and not going on a cut.

yeah I have nothing to add…

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