Why Your Hips Pinch During Squatting (Even If You've Been Mobilizing Them For Weeks)

"Every time I squat deep or heavy, I get pinching in the front of my hips and groin...why is that?"

"Every time I squat deep or heavy, I get pinching in the front of my hips and groin...why is that?"

We get this question often.  So it begs an answer that should pack some punch and provide a solution.  We think we have one in this three part series.

So you’re a fitness athlete or a weekend warrior (or someone who needs to get lower to the ground properly) who wants to squat heavy or deep but seems to get that dreaded sensation of “pinching” that sometimes can even be painful.  What do you do for it?  

Static stretching?  Banded mobilizations?  Glute activations?  Ice?  Heat?  Ibuprofen?  Nothing?

Well, the reality is that depending on where you are and what’s going on any of those may be appropriate.  BUT, the individual that is having issues has tried many things already, and that would make sense why they still have issues as nothing has helped long term.

The reality is likely in between these two potentials for you….

  1. Either your hip is unable to co-contract or control the extremes or end-ranges of motion for you currently

  2. Your hip is not really the problem, something else is adding undue stress to the hip joint

We’re going to focus on the 1st potential in this article.

So why is your hip unable to control the extremes of end-range of motion?  After all, many of us work stretching and mobilization and our joint should be fairly capable of reaching that range.  And many of us can get to the end-range.  The issue is that many of us are not strong at the end-range.  We simply do not know how to “own the end-range.”  

And this is a motor control issue.  We simply do not have the ability to produce force through our muscle tissue at the extremes of motion.  Simply put, the muscle can be strong “in-between” end-range but is functionally weak at end-range.  

And thus, one way to decrease the pinching in the hip and improve the ability to actively get into flexion is by strengthening your hip flexors.  Many of us have heard of the benefits of stretching or the hip flexors, and there are still great benefits to this.  But just like any other muscle, we need to be strong for it to maximally function for us.  

Thus, we present 3 great strategies to improve the strength and control of your hips at the endest of end-ranges.  

This drill reinforces mobility by finding end-range control throughout the full movement of the hip joint. Work, slow, controlled and as large as you can and you will see hip mobility improvement and control improve after consistent work with this.
If you lack quality end-range hip flexion or get "pinching" in the hips with deeper squatting or knees to chest, then this drill may improve activation of the hip flexors at the end-range so you can control position better. OR, if your hip flexors always feel tight and stretching doesn't do much.
Improve end-range hip flexion and reduce "pinching" in the hip by controlling and owning end-range hip flexion. Also a great drill for separation of the hips while maintaining a stable core/spine.


Word of caution with these.  Like anything that’s good and worthwhile in life, these take a combination of hard work and patience.  You may see early results with less intense “pinching” but to get strong in the ranges and feel more secure may take a while.  Be persistent...at least if it is a big deal for you.  And soon enough, you’ll have the most impressive hip flexors in the gym which more than anything will help you squat heavy and often without that dreaded sensation.

If you're looking for other simple yet effective ways to bulletproof your body for any workout or activity, check out our free E-Book by clicking here


Stay in the gym my friends,


Dr. Eric Wallace, DPT, TPIMP