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Old 02-18-2014, 09:02 PM   #1
Alex Thomas
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Hip Abductors & Front Squat

I started CF about 2-3 months ago but I've been working out long before that. (Lots of different programs, besides the point.)
Anyway, I've always had extremely tight hips... abductors & flexors. I did yoga for a short period of time and my hips always gave me the most problems. Now during crossfit, I feel as if the tightness of my abductors* has increased tremendously! I am fairly strong (nothing crazy, but not a weakling) and my front squat max is horrible!

As soon as I hit parallel, even just doing an air squat, I really feel some pain & tightness in my inner thigh. It's not pain as if I pulled something, but as if it's just really tight and REALLY inhibiting my mobility.

This frustrates me because I know I can max more than 110 on my front squat but as soon as I hit parallel, my inner thighs cause me too much pain to break parallel. On top of that, they make it really difficult for me to get back up quickly, ruining essentially my whole squat.

My coach gave me some stretches & such to help open up those abductors but I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem? Or any resolutions?

I apologize for my lengthy post, also.

*I say abductors assuming that is what is in my inner thigh getting so tight.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:46 AM   #2
Jeff Enge
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

What are you doing with your feet? How wide are they? How far are you turning your toes out?

Squat motor patterns are easy enough to diagnose in person if you know what you're looking for. A little harder to do by description, since everybody is built a little differently.

I'm of the opinion that a healthy person can learn to squat below parallel efficiently even with minor mobility "issues" if they are taught to move correctly - most people can't fix themselves because they can't see themselves!
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:21 AM   #3
Alex Thomas
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
What are you doing with your feet? How wide are they? How far are you turning your toes out?

Squat motor patterns are easy enough to diagnose in person if you know what you're looking for. A little harder to do by description, since everybody is built a little differently.

I'm of the opinion that a healthy person can learn to squat below parallel efficiently even with minor mobility "issues" if they are taught to move correctly - most people can't fix themselves because they can't see themselves!

well, I'm 5'11 so my stance is a little wider. I try not to point my toes too far outwards but they are slightly turned.

I'm not sure if it's my form that inhibits my squat or a deeper issue such as my abductors. Usually though I make sure my form is correct so I don't know, I'm stumped! My abductors haven't been this tight, (ever) until I started doing crossfit.

Maybe it could be lack of proper warming up/cooling off/stretching?
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:30 AM   #4
Jeff Enge
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

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Originally Posted by Alex Thomas View Post
well, I'm 5'11 so my stance is a little wider. I try not to point my toes too far outwards but they are slightly turned.

I'm not sure if it's my form that inhibits my squat or a deeper issue such as my abductors. Usually though I make sure my form is correct so I don't know, I'm stumped! My abductors haven't been this tight, (ever) until I started doing crossfit.

Maybe it could be lack of proper warming up/cooling off/stretching?
Could be. And I'm not saying your form is incorrect. It could be right from a textbook sense but just not be the exact right thing for you, because, again, everybody is built differently. You may need to open your stance up a bit (by how wide I mean relative to shoulders/hips) in order to make room in your joints to sit down.

For instance, I'm a gangly 6'1" or 2" with narrow but relatively flexible hips and really long legs for a lifter. I don't have to make much room to sit down but I do have to take a wider stance to accomodate my legs down there. And I've had to tinker with that a bit to find out what works best.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:30 PM   #5
Carmen Malcolm
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Unhappy Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

Alex, I have the same problem. I don't think it's a form issue. I am incredibly tight in the hips / groin / glutes area according to my coach. I never thought I was until I started crossfit (nine months ago) when I discovered that I can't do a basic squat! If I do a simple air squat I struggle to go below parallel. It doesn't hurt - I just can't go lower. That's irrespective of my foot stance. I do find that if I squate with a weight (back squat, front squat or even wall balls) that almost forces me to squat lower - but then I find that I'm weak relative to other women. I'm quite strong actually but other girls can squat way heavier than me. I lose power in my squat too. Not sure what can be done though, other than stretching - but if anyone can offer some advice to Alex and I that would be appreciated.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:29 AM   #6
Jeff Enge
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

Is that not what I'm trying to do?

I do kind of know what I'm talking about here.

Sorry if that comes off as bitter but I have had a lot of success with tweaking little things in people's squats and getting more comfortable depth.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:11 AM   #7
Carmen Malcolm
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

I'm sure you do know your stuff Jeff - I'm simply responding to Alex's initial post where he asked if anyone else has had the the same problem.

Last edited by Carmen Malcolm; 02-20-2014 at 05:19 AM.. Reason: Duplication
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:14 AM   #8
Carmen Malcolm
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

I'm sure you do know your stuff Jeff - I'm simply responding to Alex's initial post where he asked if anyone else has had the same problem.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:45 AM   #9
Alex Thomas
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

Well, first off, I'm a girl. Sorry I know the name is misleading.

Second, Carmen's problems sound very similar to mine. I'm not sure if it's my inner thigh's problem but I also have a huge issue coming back up out of my squat. It's as if I pause too long at the bottom and it makes it (nearly) impossible for me to get back up. My back squat is better, my front squat is horrible.

Jeff - I do appreciate your help. I think it's all good advice. I guess I just need to make sure I'm stretching out my hips and playing around with my stance. Hopefully something will help me get out of this tough spot and improve my squats.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:25 AM   #10
Shaun R Sullivan
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Re: Hip Abductors & Front Squat

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
- most people can't fix themselves because they can't see themselves!
This was my problem; I thought my form was good. After doing back squats for 20 years, I attempted my first front squat after starting CF. I didn't have the hip mobility or core strength to go deep enough with my elbows high and the weight in my heals. Luckily I get to work with exceptional coaches who have a lot of patience.

I started practicing with just the bar all the while working on hip mobility and rolling my quads. I can finally do decent front squats and it has really increased my core strength. Prior to CF I was under the false impression that core strength was just about stomach muscles.
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