Pain in hip flexor? Bad squats..?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Sayian, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Sayian

    Sayian Blue Belt

    Nov 14, 2009
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    Hey guys, i been having this pain in my hip flexor region recently.Its only in my right side, whereas my left side is completely fine.. Just started getting it last week and it really gets in the way of my leg workouts. I cant do squats properly at all.. and am wondering if it originated because of bad squatting technique?
    It only hurts when i squat down.. i been stretching it alot but still remains sore.

    any of you guys had similar experiances? Could this be due to bad squatting technique?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks guys

    ps: i train alot of bjj.. but it is doubtful the injury is from that

    edit; hip flexor is the bit where the thigh joins the groin, for those of you who dont know the terminology
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  2. Keiwil

    Keiwil Blue Belt

    Jul 1, 2005
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    I had hipflexor problem for some time like you explained.
    What worked for me was the following:

    - I increased my core strength so i could squat straight up without having to lean forward. I had the bar up a little higher on my shoulders also.
    Didnt feel any pain when squatting after this. But was sore between workouts.
    - Did mobility excercises between sets.
    - I sit alot when i work so i started to stand up more so the hipflexors could recover better between workouts. I also started walking more to enhance recovery.
    - I started using bicycle shorts underneath to keep my hipflexors warm between sets.
    - more warmup sets

    It helped me. good luck
  3. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

    May 9, 2005
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    When you squat, you use your hip flexors to prevent your pelvis from tilting posteriorly when you are in the hole, in order to avoid lower-back rounding. It follows that the more upright the stance the less hip flexor involvement (as Keiwil noted), and the more hamstring flexibility the less hip flexor involvement. Switching from low-bar squats to high-bar or front squats can be a good way to work around the injury, until it fully heals.

    The problem with the way hip flexors function in squatting, is that they are called to contract in their most shortened position (except for the rectus femoris, whose overall length is not as shortened because of knee flexion). The chances for injury in that position are greatly increased if your hip flexors are shortened/tight to begin with.

    If you have an injury, then you need to avoid anything that aggravates it until it heals (so "if it hurts, don't do it"). You can facilitate the healing process with lots of stretching (at first you might only be able to stretch you hip flexors a tiny bit before the start to hurt), avoiding long hours of sitting (so they don't stay shortened for a long time; sitting on your knees is a good alternative to sitting on a chair), ice and massage (you can use a foam roller, if it's painful you might need to go very light at first). You can also try exercising your hip flexors very lightly in a more lengthened ROM (maybe from -10 to 30 degrees, very light intensity, many reps, to get the blood flowing; exercise in a swimming pool would be ideal for this).

    In order to avoid this from happening again, you need to make sure you address any postural issues (anterior pelvic tilt is very common in people with hip flexor issues), and you need to make sure you get a proper warmup before each squat session.
  4. spinach

    spinach White Belt

    Nov 28, 2009
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    From the information you've given I doubt anybody will be able to diagnose you perfectly over the internet. Find a good doctor and get checked out.

    BUT now that I've got that out of the way, I have actually had a similar experience. I don't know if it's the same thing, but a couple of years ago I started to get a pain in my upper and inner right thigh on squats. And only when I was doing them "properly." That means parallel depth, knees out, and hip drive from the bottom. As I would start to stand up I would get a pain in the front of the right hip, sort of in the groin area. I can't say for sure where it hurt, because it was never exactly the same spot, but it was always the same pain. Sometimes it was on the outside, in the TFL/ITB area. Sometimes it was deep in the front part of the hip capsule. Sometimes it felt like adductor pain.

    Regardless, it very quickly (over a few weeks) became absolutely impossible to squat properly. I settled on narrow stance squats for a while even though I couldn't do much weight, but then the pain spread to those too. I started foam rolling but that didn't do much, partly because I didn't know what muscles to focus on. Eventually I stopped squatting and worked a bit more deadlift volume to try to compensate.

    Obviously it was a pretty bad situation, so when I was really sure it wouldn't clear up on its own, I made an appointment at a sports rehab place. They had an MD on staff and after a few tests he told me a few things. First, that my right leg was about an inch longer than my left. Second, that my hip flexors were very tight, especially the right psoas. Third, he said that because of all that stuff, my glutes weren't working properly which was in turn pissing off my TFL and other stuff in the groin area. I got the feeling that there was more to it than that, but I had to do what he said.

    So on the doctor's advice, the next appointment was with an ART massage guy who proceeded to beat the hell out of my hip for a month or two. At first the progress was slow, but eventually I was able to start with some light squats. I was also foam rolling and stretching at home, focusing on rolling my outside glutes, TFL, and IT band and stretching the hip flexors.

    Once I started squatting again the process really picked up speed and about three months after I first stopped squatting, I was actually able to compete in a Powerlifting meet almost painlessly. My first meet, actually, and it was a lot of fun.

    Nowadays I still feel the pain from time to time, but as long as I continue the foam rolling and stretching and really focus on good squat form, I'm usually okay.

    A long story I know, but hopefully it helped a bit. My advice boils down to a few things:

    Buy Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. This will teach you to squat properly.
    Buy a basic anatomy book to study. I have Kinetic Anatomy by Robert Behnke.
    Get an appointment with somebody who can treat your problem.
    Stretch your hip flexors!
  5. ExtremeStandard

    ExtremeStandard Yellow Belt

    Jun 19, 2010
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    I have experienced pain in both my hip flexors and my right hamstring. I simply started doing full Olympic squats instead of my parallel wider stance squats. I also placed the bar higher on my trapezes muscles, and forced myself to sit a little more in squat as I go down and all the pain left and never came back.
  6. 89vision

    89vision White Belt

    May 6, 2010
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    I had pain in my right hip from squatting for about 2-3 months. It developed after starting squatting from scratch, about a month in. My hip flexors were very tight on my right side and I had to take a week off squatting. Lots of stretching and easing back into squatting when it stopped bothering me during the motion helped.
    Probably not much help, but for me just keeping good form let everything even out over time. I feel squatting helped fix my out of whack hip flexors from long term poor posture and sitting.
  7. TheBrokenVow

    TheBrokenVow Green Belt

    Jun 7, 2010
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    I was in the same boat as you, this is what I found helped me, through trial and error:

    - Decreasing the frequency of squats (from three sessions, to two a week for me)
    - Increasing my core strength
    - Dynamic stretching before squatting
    - Front squats
  8. WitchCraft

    WitchCraft Blue Belt

    Mar 17, 2010
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    La La Land
    Totally agree with all of the points above. I have had pain in my right hip flexor for a while and doing all of the above has helped. I'd also include some PVC/foam rolling on your hip flexors and the areas around it.

    HAWTRIDDUM Gold Belt Platinum Member

    Jan 25, 2009
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    Las Vegas
    I had hip flexor problems for several years, and it was caused by degenerative scoliosis. My L3 and L4 were worn down on the left sides, so it caused my back to curve to the left and made my hips unlevel, which in turn caused the hip flexor problems.

    I started doing more core work, weighted hyperextensions, and lighter high rep squats, inversion table every day, and my hip is significantly better.

    Sleeping with a pillow between my legs seemed to help heal it faster as well.
  10. journeyman

    journeyman Blue Belt

    May 10, 2004
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    I'm having the same problem. When I do lowbar squats the pain is very uncomfortable to put it mildly.

    I guess I'll do those things recommended above.

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