T Nation

Squatting Problem

Hey, guys, I come to you with hat in hand. This is not my area of expertise.

I have a friend who asked for some help correcting her squat form. She tends to shift her weight when squatting, to her right side. It almost looks like she twists the left a little and sits down to the right. She’s been treated by a chiro before who said her hips were uneven. It’s possibly a genetic problem, as she has an uncle who was born with uneven hips (technical term, right?) and spent some time in a body cast to correct the problem.

Does anyone know any good stretches or which muscle groups (or muscles) she should focus on strengthening? She’s been trying to do work on equaling out the weight on each leg when she squats and is going to start doing one-legged suqats again to strengthen her left side.

At this point her main focus is on correct form. She’s not doing heavy weights until she corrects the problem

I’m going to search the forum archives, but any thoughts on the subject would be appreciated.

BB1 legged squats, DB 1 legged sqauts,1 legged body sqauts, those are a few varieties that should help although if her hips are un-even that might not help much.

Did she follow through with good chiropractic treatment to correct and then maintain her subluxation? Getting it corrected is only half the battle.

It sounds to me like a strength imbalance if it’s not the genetic thing and
it sounds like shes working to correct this. Not my area of expertise either(on a side note my area of expertise
is polar bear swimming) but this is what I think.
:slight_smile: Groove

I have the same issue when squatting and deadlifting. What works for me is shifting my left leg back just a bit to even the weight out, not sure if that’s the most brilliant way to go about it but it works to distribute the weight evenly between the two legs.

Since I have the same problem (uneven hips) I can say what I did and worked for ME.

first of all mobility drills, IT band stretches, and reverse trunk stretches. because of the uneven hips I get hip tendonitis from runnning/jumping and it inhibbited my squat even more, so first fix that.

Now when you are squating, while most epole will align the toes symetricly and point with the knees symetricly. uneven hips guys should and MUST SO IT CONCIOUSLY. even if I point my toes ok, one knee goes more inside as I go down and I have to litteraly force it outside with my gluteus medialis(I think) or whatever muscle. thats how I squat. whenever I forget about that - Bam I’m uneven and realy look like Im “squating to one side”

I squat pretty heavy, and still going strong.

A couple of possibilities come to mind:

Does she have back/hip pain? My mom had been in constant back pain (referred all over: from neck, to between the shoulderblades, to lumbar to sacral) for decades and had been under the care of several chiropracters for the duration of this time. On a lark, she went to a holistic healer-type and was “diagnosed” with her hips being uneven, but all that really meant was that one leg was 1/2" shorter than the other. After wearing a 1/2" lift for less than a week, the pain evaporated and she was able to quit taking the muscle relaxers, pain meds, TENS, and chiro care. That was several years ago and the pain’s not come back. Don’t know if this may apply to your friend’s case but it may be worth considering.

Also, I have a chronic sprain in my right SI joint and when it gets aggrivated I “twist”. My hips shift to the right and up, making my stride uneven and causing me to limp (sexy, right? ;-)). Anyway, I have to down some muscle relaxers and stretch to get “straightened out”. Since it’s my right side that’s cramped up, I stand with my right side to a wall about an arm’s distance away. I brace with my right arm, weight on my left foot and lean my right hip in toward the wall. I had to experiment a bit to get the right stretch feeling but it should feel like your right oblique/lower back/hip area is being stretched. Stand like that several times a day for about a minute.

I also looove traction. Ideally, I get to go into my PTist and get hooked up to about 110lbs of traction but if I can’t make it in, I’ll do it myself. It’s kind of hard to describe but the basic idea is to have your hips pulled away from your shoulders, elongating your spine. PM me if you want specifics.

I do know that doing weighted hypers, "SL"DLs and a weighted Swiss ball crunches help keep my SI joint from being a pisser. Whenever I slack off on these, I feel it - in a very negative way. Other than that I’d imagine your basic back stretches/low back strengtheners would be a good idea.

Don’t know if that helped at all…

Gluteus medialis? I think that you’re thinking of the vastus medialis, buddy (most medial of the quadriceps).

Yo karma
AS I said, I believe what you said about the pain nailed it. when I squat awkwardly it’s usualy that, and I realy have to concentrate on squating straight.

is she a runner?

BTW whats a good bf for a woman? my gf is 18.5 and pondering about a goal. what do you think?

No eric

whats the muscle that runs from the side of your but to your hip and when youre in deep squat you use it to “expand your hips”?

vastus lateralis

do you think I am fucking stupid?


"whats the muscle that runs from the side of your but [sic] to your hip and when youre [sic] in deep squat you use it to “expand your hips”?

vastus lateralis "

I don’t think that’s it, either. From what I gathered from your original post, your knee has a tendency to track inward (knock-knees) during the squat. Because the vastus lateralis has a slightly lateral pull, it sounded like you were trying to bring it into a greater mechanical advantage due to a weak VM.

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a muscle that “expands the hips.” Are you referring to medial rotation of the femur (which could have this effect)? In this case, the gluteus medius and minimus are what you’re thinking of.

No need to get angry, bro; just trying to help.

Karma, thank you for the details on how to stretch, the shoe lift and the traction. All very, very good ideas, and I’m going to forward them on to my friend.

glute-spanker, could you give me the quick details of how to do the mobility drills? Between you, Karma’s mother and Nightwing, I can’t believe the number of people that have this same problem!

What’s a good BF% for a woman? 18% looks pretty darn good! But of course when you’re 18.5, you’re probably inclined to set the bar a bit higher. I think the greater emphasis should be on the development of a few more pounds of LBM strategically placed; overhead lifts for arm development, ab and calf work, and definitely some back work (pullups for lat spread and rows). She probably doesn’t need to lose more than a couple of percentage points or put on more than a few pounds of LBM, but putting on a few pounds in the places she would enjoy it most would do more to create the look she wants than just dropping BF.

Greekdawg, great exercises. Thank you!

Iron Maiden, no, she didn’t follow through with the chiro. I think her fear is/was that the more adjustments a person has the more likely they are to slip back out of place. Boy, where’s a good Irondoc when you need one. (grin) Anyone have any deeper knowledge of chiropractic and know whether that’s the case?

Nightwing, thank you for that idea. I thought I read that somewhere once before. Actually, it’s probably a pretty GOOD idea!

“Polar bear swimming.” Groove, what can I say. You’re incorrigible! (grin)

TT, I have the exact same problem (as far as I can tell from your description) as your friend. Towards the bottom of the squat, I want to “sit” down and to the right. I can very clearly see it in the mirror whether or not I am even holding any weight.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been going to an ART practioner to have him work on my right calf (very poor ROM, making it difficult to get a good contraction when working calves). Because I had heard so many great things about ART on the forum here (and because my insurance covered it :wink: I figured I’d have him work on a few other things too. One of them being my hip-shift thingy when squatting.

He made a few spinal adjustments on me and worked some ART magic on my hips - my right side, specifically - and it’s made quite a difference already… even though he’s really been concentrating more on my calf. I’ve demonstated the squat in front of him and each time it gets better. It’s nearly symmetrical now.

I wish I could tell you that that alone has added 50lbs to my squat but, to be honest, I haven’t been hitting them very hard lately… but I’m going to start up again next week to try it out. So I’ll let you know if there’s any dramtic improvement.

Not sure exactly what the issue with your friend is, but if ART, chiro, stretching and the like don’t do it for her, she may want to concentrate her efforts on the front squat; I don’t seem to have the same hip issues on those like I do with back squats.

Anyway, hope it works out for her!


Tyler, it’s funny, but I recommended the same thing to her; i.e., ART. Only you did it with greater specificity. And the fact that you’ve been struggling with the same issue makes your recommendation all the more persuasive.

Thank you, everyone, for your support and recommendations. You all make me proud to be a part of the T-Nation.

One thing that always irks me, is the old short leg thing. So many chiropractors want to throw in a heel lift to correct the imbalance when it could be a shortening of the QL on that side. Where the Quadratus runs into the glute max is a common trouble spot for such things along with a common cause of low back pain, Other potential trouble spots could be the external hip rotators and the hip flexor region. Also the dorsal sacral ligament and the sacrotuberous ligament. ART would help if it’s one of these areas, or stretching the muscles if available. You can’t stretch the above ligaments, the areas of adhesion can be to small, and I wouldn’t want someone to creat a new problem with hypermobility, especially in a female.

Regarding the Chiro Tx. More adjustments do not lead to you slipping out of whack easier…just the opposite. She needs to complete corrective treatment for her subluxation and then maintain with adjustments as needed. Once a month mihgt do it…but only after she gets correction. The trick is to find a Dr. of Chiropractic that is good. Like all health care professionals…they aren’t created equal. What city are you in? I could ask mine if he knows of anyone there. He himself is a wrestling coach and a power lifter, Rugby player and is truly gifted in his field. Great set of hands!!!
While many things might help her get relief in the short term, she isn’t correcting what is truly wrong, only compensating for it. Her body will compensate and might not experience any pain symptoms…but the subluxation is still present and will cause complications elsewhere eventually.

Oh Duh!!! Serious blonde moment here…Tampa-Terry…gee, wonder what city he is from…slap me and call me silly.

Sorry for the brain fart!

Iron Maiden, no, it’s a fair question. Of course I live in Tampa, but my friend doesn’t. I’m going to get her to check out activerelease.com to find an ART practitioner in her area.

Thank you, too, for your input and thoughts on chiropractic. That is exactly what I was looking for. Sounds like you’ve had some great chiropractic during your time!

Irondoc, has anyone thanked you publicly for your contributions and willingness to share your technical expertise? I’ve been reading your posts for a long time, and I was hoping you’d drop by. All you do is slip in, drop your knowledge bombs (that’s Timbo-speak) and quietly disappear. Thanks for taking all of us to a higher state of health and teaching us a thing or two along the way.

Glad you appreciate it Terry. My big problem believe it or not is that I’m a poor typist. I graduated from psu in 1985 before pcs got big. We used the mainframe terminal types back then. Actually as a freshmen and sophomore we had punch cards! In chiropractic college I never had to type, then afterwards, I had secretaries. This new keyboard I got is also a little twitchy. That’s why I seem to drift in and out. Also I said before I treat people. I don’t argue technique and such since I work in the real world and have seen what works and doesn’t.


What the hell other people can benfit from this.

The best way to correct this problem is to have squat on a balance board. w/ no weight in the begining. That way she learns to control her hips going one direction.

You have to remember she has uneven hips. As the Chrio suggested so what will do is correct those imbalances.

By the way did you find a pic of wobble boards and balance boards?

In Health,

Silas C.