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Squat Technique Help to Avoid Hip Pain?

I am getting hip, glute and SI joint pain when squatting, particularly in my left hand side and the SI joint pain is particularly bad the day after. Below are some videos of some squat sets from different angles, can anyone see anything I am doing wrong? Not sure if this is more appropriate here or in the injuries sub-forum.


More background:
I was alright at squatting a few years ago then stopped doing it often and worked a desk job 40-50hrs a week and drove 10ish hours a week which seemed to mess up my hip. My left one in particular seems extra tight because when I’m driving there’s less room to stretch out vs my right leg.

My goal is to squat pain free to get bigger and stronger legs but no sport in mind. Let me know if any more info will help and thanks in advance.

It’s probably a minor impingement in you lumber which is aggravated by squats. It’s nor being caused by them, nut it’s pretty easy to aggravate someting with a little inflammation when it’s there sitting just under the surface. You probably need some serious stretching of the hammies and piriformis.

I don’t see any glaring issues with your technique, it could just be tight glutes or other muscles in the area. Try rolling your glutes with a lacrosse ball or baseball. The glute minumus in particular can cause a lot of shit if it’s tight or irritated. Also, what you call SI joint pain might just be a tight and cramped up quadratus lumborum, you can roll that too.

Long story short, unless you have some sort of pre-existing injury, you probably just have some tight muscles.

This. You’re bound up and your muscle mechanics have regressed as a result. Your glutes, hams, psoas, abs, low back, and piriformis have all been tightened (and weakened) from sitting so much. Upper back is probably compromised too with shoulders rounding forward over a keyboard and steering wheel. After you squat, these same muscles get even tighter as a result - which is what drives your pain the next day. I would bet that your left side is your non-dominant side or weaker side? Which is why you’re feeling it there more than elsewhere. All the same things for me.
The fix - as others are saying - mobility, but also strengthening the weaknesses as well as try to limit the time you’re sitting as much as you can. From personal experience I would look at Matt Wenning’s warm ups or Dave Tate’s warm up in addition to some mobility work. The gist of Wenning and Tate’s warmups involve picking 3-4 areas you suck at - in this case hamstrings, abs, glutes, etc and focus on them to add additional volume to build them back up prior to your workout. Wenning prescribes 4 x 25 reps in a circuit fashion. The high reps are meant to keep the weight low. The biggest one for me on the Dave Tate side is the hanging leg raise (toes to bar) to open the hips and low back, and strengthen the abs. The first set will show you just how tight and weak sitting has made you. I would also suggest moving to a box squat with a wider stance to hit your hams and glutes by sitting back. This will also point out how much weaker those areas have become. You will immediately feel the ham and glute struggle when you stand up off the box.
On the form side from your videos, I see the above reflected in your reps. In the second video, look at your setup. Notice how uneven your hands are? Your left is in tighter than your right. May be just a set up piece, but could reflect upper back tightness and imbalance too. When you descend, your heels start to raise because you’re tracking forward. In the third video, this is confirmed by your bar path and your chest falling forward. Put a pencil vertically from the bar to the floor against your video at the top of your rep. You want the bar to track pretty close to up and down, keeping the bar over the center of your foot. You’ll notice that you track way forward. It looks like your chest drops (elbows are pointed way back) pulling you forward - bar path (vid #3) and heels raising (vid #2). Abs are not holding you up. Also, your head is not neutral. You’re looking down.
The fix - Mobility (Agile 8), hamstring/glutes, abs/low back, and probably some upper back volume added as part of your warmups consistently (even on non squat days) to build that strength back. Then go to a box squat with a wider stance to target and build up the hams and glutes even more. Then it’s technique - head position, tight core, even grip on bar, etc. It takes time to build it back and I was surprised with how light in weight I had to regress to, but it’s worth it. Stay consistent and it should be a big change for you!

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Thanks that’s a lot of advice. Don’t have much to reply to specifically but I’ll take it on board and see how I get on.

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You bet.

Here. These can help sort through everything and help clarify:

Dave Tate on warm up:

Matt Wenning on warm ups:


Louie on Box Squat technique (key on stance and sitting back):

and a good Wenning tutorial on box squat:

@darthmason cheers I’ll watch those tomorrow when I get time.

@chris_ottawa @hardartery sorry I forgot to reply to you guys. Seems a pretty unanimous verdict that I need to do some mobility work more than change my squat technique so I’ll do that and see how I get on. Thanks.

Probably worth backing off a bit volume wise or whatever seems to be driving your symptoms (could be weight on the bar, could be a particular technique, not warming up etc.). Little issues like this can be from structures getting irritated over time might not be any major tissue damage. Once irritated they just get more and more sensitised so bringing that down is important firstly because if every little thing flares it up then it’s hard to determine what’s helpful and what’s driving the issue so u can incorporate/avoid em. Once the symptoms chill a little u can try out all the things people have mentioned above and see if it helps or not. U may find that just giving things time to settle is enough, a temporary glitch in your body and u can keep lifting as normal without doing much extra/different. Worth having think/play with the above mentioned things tho to avoid a re occurrence. Training volume is a drives or exacerbates these things often because like even with perfect technique if u do too much volume something’s gonna give or get cranky.

So that’s the general approach. Specific things you might wanna try are setting a better brace in the torso and this includes controlling the pelvis and rib cage locking it all in relatively. I’m seeing your pelvis flick all over the place when you descend/acsend kinda ballistically lol. Might be exposing certain structures to extra load/instability x reps/sets/volume/time could lead to flare ups. I can link some breathing/bracing vids if you like because there’s a fair amount there to unpack

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I’ve cropped this to hopefully show it up better but check out the position of your knees relative to your hands (which are about evenly spaced out):

You are unable to turn the knee on the left of screen out as far as the right. Is that the joint causing pain?

Try banded hip distractions on that side.with both that knee up and on the floor. Give it a good 5 minutes with a tight band.

Then try single leg glute bridges. 3 sets of 5, hold the top position for 10 seconds.

See if that helps.

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@guineapig I gave up barbell squatting like a year ago because of this. The last few weeks I’ve been doing 4-5 sets of about 3 reps with 40kg-50kg (old 5RM is 100kg) once a week so pretty low intensity, volume and frequency. With this sort of weight I’m mostly pain free but this week (those videos) was worse than usual because I descended a bit faster whereas the other weeks they were more like tempo squats because I was trying to be careful. This week was the first time I’ve had glute pain during squatting too, normally my hip just aches. In terms of bracing etc I’ll watch some videos and see what I can find, thanks for pointing me in that direction though.

@strongmangoals I see what you mean and yeah the left side is the one causing 90% of the pain. Rotating it out like that can be pretty hard and it often locks and clicks when I do. After thinking more about it I think the problem stemmed from driving - there’s not much room for me to ‘open’ my left leg up whereas there’s plenty for my right. I’ll try your suggestions. Thank you.

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No one here can say what they’re saying without being able to do a proper analysis of your hips and lower back. The sacro-iliac joint is one of the most complex areas to diagnose and manage, and often SIJ pain is referral from the lumbar spine. Same goes for pain in the gluteal region.

I’m seeing the slightest left shift, in which case this could help (no guarantees) https://youtu.be/sY9MRc8Xlx8

To actually try and get more info about your structure, I need you to do the following tests

Thank you, I’ll give those a try tomorrow when I get chance.

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