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Very Sore Hips...

Since the start of my new Westside cycle about 6 weeks ago things have been going well. My lifts haven’t improved a ton, but that is mostly to do with my attempts to focus on fixing form, plus Im trying to cut flab right now also. Okay, so today I went to ME Squat, and my hips were so sore I had absolutely zero power out of the bottom. I probably don’t cycle excersizes as much as I should, but I feel because I lift so much less than the guys at westside and because my form is bad I could get away with it. I did ME squat for 2 weeks then ME deadlift the third, last week ME squat and tried ME squat today and it didnt go so well.

A typical week for lower body would look like this:

Tues: ME squat (max 350, have been working up to max set of 3), 3x3 @135 clean, 2 movements of 3x8-15 (dimels, back raises, pullthroughs or goodmornings), abs

Sat: DE Squat 10x2 @205, Dead 6x1 @205, clean 3x3 @135, 1 movement 3x8-15 of aforementioned movements, abs

So, anyone have any thoughts on why my hips hurt? Should I scale back volume, and if so where? How bout stance, would moving it in help? The problem with rotation occurs with the fact that next year at college and D3 football, the team doesn’t dead, they clean instead. I know i should dead some still as it is such a good strength builder, but I want my numbers up in the clean and squat as much as possible. (which is also a problem as my clean form is horrendous)

Sorry for the length of the post, but any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Not everybody can hit things hard every week, especially if they don’t cycle volume. It looks like you’ve kept everything the same (volume and intensity) over the entire five weeks while just changing exercises. It’s just your body telling you that you need to take a backoff week. Try a repetition day or just skipping a few sessions altogether; your joints can only take the heavy loading for so long, especially if (as you noted) your form isn’t so good.

Squat w/ a close stance during ME box squats. Save the wide stance for DE squats. This should save your hips. Go to elitefts.com and read as much as you can, including searching the questions. Switch up your ME exercises more, they have plenty to choose from.

Well actually I have been ME free squatting. Would switching to box squat for both be a good idea?

Ive read a lot on elitefts, but I guess Im just nervous by not freesquating often my form will suffer as it already isn’t great.

Get some briefs!! Unless you want to tear up your hips beyond belief. Just some fairly loose one to protect your hips are fine. BTW I’d suggest box squatting instead.

I’ve been reading the q&a over at elite fitness, and they highly recommend either wearing briefs or not squatting ultra wide, due to the added stress on the hips. On a side note, after about 6 months of my own Westside training my hips hurt so bad I couldn’t even DE box squat for a couple weeks. Apparently wide stance=greater hip stress. Here’s a quote from Thomas Deeble at Elite:

"GET BRIEFS!!! We get regular questions that mention hip pain and the guy doesn’t have briefs, but is wide stance squatting.

EVERYONE, don’t squat wide off the box until you get briefs.
It only gets you hurt."

I say narrow your stance until you can squat without pain.

Thanks for the help guys.

A question about the briefs though. For one, I dont squat all that wide, feet less than an inch from the sides of the rack normally, but Ive been trying to bring it in a little. Im somewhat worried about the briefs though as I probably wont be able to use them next year, and I don’t want to become too aquainted with them that squatting normal would screw me up. Any thoughts on this?

[quote]BigDirk wrote:
Thanks for the help guys.

A question about the briefs though. For one, I dont squat all that wide, feet less than an inch from the sides of the rack normally, but Ive been trying to bring it in a little. Im somewhat worried about the briefs though as I probably wont be able to use them next year, and I don’t want to become too aquainted with them that squatting normal would screw me up. Any thoughts on this?[/quote]

I don’t know what you mean by normal but a loose pair of briefs won’t change your groove much if at all and you could grow into em. I wear a pair of briefs even on dynamic squat day. Don’t leave home without em. Start box squatting and after you get those briefs widen out your stance. For me with box squatting it is a lot easier to correct my form and you can release your hips at the bottom of the range of motion.

I just want to echo what the above poster said. Get some briefs! They don’t have to be top of the line Metal gear, which are awesome btw. I would go with single ply power pants from Inzer, they only cost $40 shipped, and your hips will thank you.I would order them a size or two too big. After you get your briefs take your stance out uncomfortably wide when you DE box squat. The power racks at the Flowerhouse…I meant Powerhouse gym I train at are too narrow for my DE squat. I have to squat outside the rack. Remember the wider the stance the better the squat mechanics, and the bigger your numbers.

Ok, i will give them a try.

Should i do box squat for both ME and DE squats? Ive been free squatting for ME up to this point.

If so, what should i do for box height?

If you box squat on your ME day I would use a slightly lower than parallel box and use a close stance with a high bar placement. Do you do any Goodmornings or Zercher squats for ME? Or do you just squat for ME? When you DL for ME do you always pull from the floor? Conv or Sumo? And do you do rack pulls? Sorry for all the Q’s I just am interested in your program.

Great thread.

I’ve been having some pain in my hip flexors as well but mine was so intense I dropped squatting completely to focus on the sumo deadlift.

It’s killing me not to squat heavy and this thread has me convinced to pick up some briefs and start back squatting.

One question though.

Would the briefs help stabilize me enough to see a benefit in my sumo deadlift form?

You should always box squat for DE Squats(box height at parallel). As for ME squats, these should be done on a lower box(2-3inches below parallel) w/ a closer stance(shoulder width). Make sure to switch up your ME movement though. How often do you switch up your ME movement? Which ones do you typically do? Suspended GM, GM, Pulls standing on blocks,mats,or plates, zercher squats on a box, manta ray squats to a low box, squats to a low box, if you have access to a Safety squat bar, cambered squat bar, front squat harness, or manta ray I recommend using these for ME movements. Use the Q&A over at elitefts.com and the “search questions” function as most all of your questions have been answered there. Good luck

In addition to squatting in briefs, you can also use a suit with the straps down. Since I don’t own briefs, this is what I do.

A few more quick q’s:

  1. I would like to add front squats and/or zercher squats into my routine. I know the guys at elitefts use them often as ME movements, but while Im learning them I figure that’s not a good plan. So, where would they be best placed as supplemental excersizes? On ME or DE days or does it not matter?

  2. I know it is advocated to move out very wide for DE box squats. My problem is that my form is not great, and Im constantly working on it. Will squatting really wide hurt me in an attempt to find my groove for squatting?

  3. I’m having a few problems with soreness staying around a little too long. I know my work capacity is too low, would the best way to fix this be too increase my sets in the main movement of the day and decrease supps, or less sets and more supps? Right now on ME lower I normally do 2 other excersizes and on DE i do 1 as I do both DE squats and speed deads.




  1. You say you’re learning the movements and its not a good idea to throw them in as your core movement right away. I disagree. The zercher squat, although uncomfortable on the arms at first, almost forces you to squat w/ good form because of the position of the weight. Start doing zercher squats and/or front squats for your ME movement. Since you’re new to the lift, I recommend working up to a max triple the 1st week, and then work up to a max single the following week. You can either try to beat it the third week, but I recommend moving onto another ME movement. Have you tried good mornings? You can do several variations for your ME movement. Regular(shoulder stance) bent over, Arched back power good mornings w/ a wide stance, suspended good mornings if possible, etc. Have you read the list of max effort movements they have @ elitefts? I recommend picking 4-5 movements. Say a box squat w/ a shoulder-width stance to a box a few inches below parallel, zerchers(on a box or not), front squats on a box, good mornings, deadlifts standing on something to make the pull an extra 2-4". I’d use each movement for 2 weeks, then rotate to another. You’ll wind up coming back to a movement every 6-10 weeks. Try splitting up your ME movements to 50%GM, 35% squats, and 15% deads. These are obviously rough #s, but remember the key on ME day is to strain on your last sets and give it your all.
  2. Definitely get some briefs as already recommended? Have you ordered a pair yet? If not, you should have. Frantz makes great briefs;you can get a pair of single ply for $45, custom made. Anyways, while warming up during DE squats, place some mats or plates on the box so you’re squatting higher than you will be for your work sets. Take them away after a few warmup sets and make sure your hips are warmed up. Squatting wide won’t mess up your groove. You’re new to this style of training, so be wise and start squatting wide on DE squats. Once you get your briefs, play around and take your stance out really wide. Follow the advice of Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, and the guys from westside. They know what they are doing.
    3.As for soreness, are you following the template laid out for beginners? The 9-week program? Follow that template if you aren’t. Like Eric Cressey recommended above, if you’re feeling beat up and unmotivated, its a good idea to take a back off week. This would mean cutting back the volume on your assistance exercises, and sometimes taking the week off from the ME movement. Instead you would just do assistance work on squat/dl days. On bench ME day, this would involve doing the repetition method for DB presses or DB floor presses. You could also work up to a 5RM on ultra-wide bench presses. To alleviate the soreness and improve recovery, try incorporating some extra workouts. If you work out in the morning for your main session, you could do some light work @ nite to get blood flowing to the areas you trained. You could also do this the next day. These workouts are short and serve to make you stronger by increasing your total volume and helping the recovery process.

How much reading have you done over @ elitefts? Have you read and re-read all of Dave Tate’s articles, especially the 8keys series? I really recommend doing a lot of reading as your questions are answered in many articles.

If not squating very wide is less than an inch from the sides of the cage, then how wide is wide?
My inseam measurement is 30" and my wide stance also happens to be about 30" from outside of heal to outside of heal.
For hip pain, I keep my ITB somewhat flexable. I know stretching is a bit taboo, but it keeps me in the game. Also, for the hip flexors, I do some one legged(foot back on the bench) squats, and relax deeply into the lunge.
From the box, before going up, I have to make a concious effort to relax the hip flexors, otherwise, I am working against them to straighten the femur, and pulling on them with a much stronger muscle. That definitely hurts, both the hips and the amount of weight I am capable of moving.
I don’t know if that applies, but I hope it helps.

[quote]BigDirk wrote:
A few more quick q’s:

  1. I would like to add front squats and/or zercher squats into my routine. I know the guys at elitefts use them often as ME movements, [/quote]

No, I don’t think they use these that often at all. They’ll go with squats from a variety of box heights and a variety of deadlifts, but they use these rarely, if at all