After a long lay off from squats due to a back injury I started doing them again last monday. I had been stretching for a couple of weeks leading up to this. I also warmed up with five minutes cycling, body weight squats and some hamstring stretches. I performed 5 x 10 very deep squats, with no complaints from my hip. At first I'd tried to keep a very tight arch in my back, but found that this limited my range of motion to just about parallel, so I concentrated on keeping my back straight rather than just arched.
Today I did squats again, but my hip flexors were really hurting. I warmed up the same. Having looked forward to getting back in the squat game, I plowed on with the sets in spite of the pain, through sheer frustration.
I note that I have had this problem before.
I have had this problem before, but am puzzled why it didn't affect me on monday but did affect me today.
I will perform more hip related stretches now, such as the one where you lie on your back and pull your knee toward your chest. However I was wandering whether dynaimc stretching might be more useful.
It also seems odd that this problem is quite transient in nature. I can't quite figure out the determining factor when it comes to what does or doesn't allow me to perform full squats without hip pain.
I know a problem for me is a tight achilles, but the hip flexors also seem to be assisted with slight heel elevation. I incorporate stretching as well and hopefully will be able to get rid of the heel block, but using it allows me to go ATG and is helping me stretch in any event.
Probably not the answer you were looking for, probably after stretching advice etc but it's all I've got!
Cheers mate, but I'm not sure my achilles tendon is that tight really.
Deep squats really aren't that difficult to perform IMO, individuals in the vast majority of cases just need to make a few minor adjustments and they can perform decent squats within a couple of weeks. At least this is what I've gathered from limited personal experience, and the reading I've done.
Anyway, I suspect that the pain in my hip flexors could be due to sumo deads which I've switched to lately. Way back before my injury I did conventional, and had no problem with my hip flexors when doing squats. This problem seems to only occur when I have done sumo stance deads in the past few days. When I performed squats succesfully last it wasa because I had not done sumo stance deads for a while. So there does seem to be some sort of correlation. I suppose the pain could be likened to that experienced in the tendons of the elbow after doing preacher curls. It's odd because I'm physically able to go very deep with good form, but I just exeperience this pain.
I hear ya on the hip flexor discomfort. Some days it hurts more than others, but only on the earliest sets. It seems a good, long warmup is the only solution. I started doing bodyweight squats before putting a bar on my back. I do a few sets of 8-10 reps all the way down. It seems to have helped dramatically with the hip discomfort on deep squats.
Buy Steve Maxwell's Joint Mobility DVD. Can't remember how much it is off the top of my head, but his mobility work is WELL worth the cost.
Guido, cheers mate. I have tried looooong warm ups. !0 minutes of cycling, followed by 4 x 15 body weight squats, followed by gradual build up to working sets, with stretches in between. But it all seems to do no good. Some days the pain just wont be there, and I wont have to do any warming up at all. Other days, it seems nothing helps.
Front squats seem to involve slightly less pain, but I haven't quite figured out the form, and end up nearly choking myself during sets. I think the narrower the angle between my torso and thighs, the more it hurts.
Chubrock, can't afford the DVD now man.
I guess I'll just do loads of body weight squats each day, followed by stretches. I'll see where this gets me.
I'm getting really p*ssed off though. Every time I psyche myself up for a good squat session, I end up giving up because of the pain in my hips. My legs are seriously lagging.
You may want to do a bit more in your warmup. 10 minutes of foam rolling, dynamic stretching, and mobility work would do you some good.
Foam roll your hammies, IT band, quads (be careful no to squish your boys), calves, etc. If there's meat, roll it. Avoid rolling your joints though.
Dynamic stretches and mobility would include:
Lunges - hold for a second at the bottom to really stretch your hip flexors
Lunge with a twist - if your left foot is forward, rotate your torso to the right.
Spiderman Crawl - assume a pushup position. Keep your back flat and your hips level, and bring your right knee up and out to the side so that it gets as close to your right elbow as possible. Hold for a second, then return to the starting position. Then do the left leg. If you do them right, you'll look like Spiderman climbing a wall - hence the name.
Leg swings - swing legs front to back, side to side etc.
Knee thrusters (for ankle mobility) - set up a couple plates a foot or two from a wall. put the balls of your feet on the plates, and try to 'thrust' your knees over your toes while keeping your heels on the floor (kinda like a 3 inch squat). If your ankles lack mobility, your heels will want to come up.
For some glute activation, you can do x-band walks, birddogs, clams, side leg lifts, supine bridges, etc.
Hope some of this helps!
Really appreciate the advice Steve.
With regards to glute activation work, when do you recommend doing them? Before squats and deads?
Also, what's your view on static stretches? The one where you lie on your back and hold your knees towards your chest seems to stretch the hip quite well.
The glute activation work can be done on off days, or as part of your warm-up to get everything firing.
Static stretching can definitely be helpful. The one you're talking about will stretch your glutes, periformis, etc. That's good and fine, but that one won't necessarilly hip your flexors much. But, I'm betting if you incorporate some of the dynamic stretches and mobility work into your warmup, you'll see a lot of improvement in your hips.
If you do static stretches, be sure to do them after you lift.
Ok thanks again.
I think I will incorporate a mix of dynamic and static stretches everyday, twice a day on training days.