Overcoming Hip Flexor Pain When Squatting: A Full Guide

Are you a fitness enthusiast who loves to squat but is held back by nagging hip flexor pain? You’re not alone.

Hip flexor pain when squatting is a common issue that can hinder your performance and progress. 

But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the causes, symptoms, and most importantly, the solutions to overcome this frustrating problem. 

So, let’s get you back on track to pain-free squats and a stronger, healthier you.

Key Facts:

  • Hip flexor pain when squatting is often caused by conditions like Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) or muscle strains .
  • Symptoms can include discomfort, stiffness, or sharp pain in the hip area during or after squats.
  • Treatment often involves improving flexibility and mobility, with exercises like the ½ Kneeling Stretch.
  • Proper squatting technique and ankle mobility can help prevent hip flexor pain.

With these key facts in mind, let’s dive deeper into understanding hip flexor pain.

We’ll start by exploring what hip flexors are and their role in squatting.

Then we’ll discuss common conditions that can cause hip pain during squats, how to identify symptoms, and the steps you can take towards hip flexor pain recovery.

Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or a fitness newbie, this guide is designed to help you understand and overcome hip flexor pain when squatting. So, let’s get started!

Understanding Hip Flexor Pain

Let’s start by getting to know our hip flexors a bit better.

These are a group of muscles located in the front of your hip, playing a crucial role in movements like walking, running, and yes, squatting. 

When these muscles are strained or overworked, it can lead to discomfort or pain, especially during exercises that heavily involve the hip joint, such as squats.

Hip flexors

The Role of Hip Flexors in Squatting

Squatting is a complex movement that engages multiple muscle groups, including the hip flexors. As you lower yourself into a squat, your hip flexors work to stabilize your hip and lower body.

When you rise back up, they help control the movement to prevent any sudden or jerky motions.

However, if your hip flexors are tight or weak, they may struggle to perform these functions effectively. This can lead to an increased strain on these muscles, resulting in pain or discomfort when squatting.

Squatting - illustration

What is a Hip Flexor Strain?

A hip flexor strain refers to an injury in one or more of the hip flexor muscles.

This usually happens when the muscle is overstretched or torn, often due to overuse or a sudden contraction during activities like sprinting or jumping.

Hip flexor strains can manifest in several ways:

  • Mild discomfort during movement
  • Sharp pain when lifting the knee towards the chest
  • Swelling or bruising in the hip area
  • Difficulty walking or running due to pain

Remember, hip flexor strains can vary in severity, from minor tears that cause slight discomfort to major injuries that can significantly impact your mobility. 

In the next section, we’ll delve deeper into some common conditions that can cause hip flexor pain when squatting, and how they can be identified and treated.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of hip flexor pain and its connection to squatting, let’s delve into some specific conditions that can contribute to this issue.

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

FAI is a condition where the bones of the hip joint don’t fit together perfectly.

This can cause the hip bones to rub against each other during movement, leading to pain and discomfort. 

In the context of squatting, this friction can be exacerbated, particularly at the lower part of the movement where the hip joint is most flexed.

Hip Flexor Strain

As we’ve discussed earlier, a hip flexor strain is an injury to the hip flexor muscles. This can occur due to overuse, sudden movements, or improper form during exercises like squats.

The strain can range from a minor tear causing mild discomfort to a complete muscle tear leading to severe pain and limited mobility.

Hip pain - illustration

Symptoms of Hip Flexor Pain When Squatting

Identifying hip flexor pain early can help you address the issue before it worsens.

Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Sharp pain in the front of the hip or groin area during or after squatting
  • Increased discomfort when lifting the knee towards the chest
  • Swelling, tenderness, or bruising in the hip area
  • Difficulty in performing activities that involve the hip flexors, like running or climbing stairs

In the next section, we’ll explore how these conditions are diagnosed and the different grades of hip flexor strains.

This knowledge will empower you to better understand your body and take the necessary steps towards recovery. So, let’s keep going!

Diagnosis and Grades of Hip Flexor Strains

Understanding the severity of your hip flexor pain is crucial in determining the right course of action. Let’s explore how hip flexor strains are diagnosed and the different grades of severity.

Diagnosing Hip Flexor Strains

A healthcare professional will typically diagnose a hip flexor strain based on your symptoms and a physical examination.

They may ask about your exercise habits, the nature of your pain, and any recent activities that could have led to the injury.

In some cases, imaging tests like an X-ray or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

Grading Hip Flexor Strains

Hip flexor strains are usually classified into three grades, each indicating a different level of severity:

  • Grade 1: Minor tears in a few muscle fibers, causing mild pain and discomfort but not significantly affecting mobility.
  • Grade 2: More extensive damage with moderate pain and some loss of function. You might find it difficult to walk or run without pain.
  • Grade 3: A complete tear or rupture of the muscle, causing severe pain and significant loss of function. This grade often requires medical intervention.

Remember, regardless of the grade, it’s important to address hip flexor strains promptly to prevent further injury and promote effective healing.

In the next section, we’ll delve into the treatment and recovery process for hip flexor pain when squatting.

We’ll discuss practical strategies to improve flexibility, reduce pain, and get you back to your regular exercise routine.

Treatment and Recovery

Now that we’ve understood the causes and severity of hip flexor pain, let’s move on to the most crucial part – the road to recovery.

Here, we’ll discuss various strategies to alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen your hip flexors.

Improving Flexibility and Mobility

One of the first steps in treating hip flexor pain is to improve flexibility and mobility.

This can be achieved through a combination of stretching and mobility exercises.

Here are a few you can try:

  • ½ Kneeling Stretch: This stretch targets your hip flexors directly. Start in a half-kneeling position, then gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Butterfly Stretch: This stretch helps open up your hips. Sit on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together, and gently press your knees towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.

If you want a more comprehensive stretching program to follow for your hip flexors, this one is all you need

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Soft tissue mobilization techniques, such as foam rolling or massage, can help release tension in your hip flexors.

These methods can be particularly helpful if your hip flexor pain is due to muscle tightness or overuse.

Strengthening Exercises

Once your pain has decreased, it’s important to strengthen your hip flexors to prevent future injuries. Exercises like leg raises, bridges, and lunges can help build strength in this area.

Understanding Hip Anatomy and the Role of Squatting

To fully grasp the causes and solutions for hip flexor pain when squatting, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of the hip. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, formed by the bones of your pelvis and the head of your femur (thigh bone).

The hip - diagram

This design allows for a wide range of motion, including hip flexion and extension, which are crucial movements in performing a squat.

The Role of Hip Flexion and Extension in Squatting

When you squat, your hips go through a cycle of flexion and extension. As you lower into the bottom of your squat, your hips flex.

This means the angle between your torso and thighs decreases. If you have tight hip flexors, this can lead to hip impingement, where the femur and hip socket rub against each other, causing pain in your hip.

As you rise from the bottom of the squat, your hips extend. This means the angle between your torso and thighs increases.

If your hip muscles are weak or imbalanced, this can cause pain, particularly in the anterior (front) part of your hip.

The Impact of Squatting Technique

The way you perform a squat can also contribute to hip flexor pain.

For example, if you lean forward excessively during a squat or fail to reach the bottom of a squat, this can put extra strain on your hip flexors and lead to hip pain

On the other hand, a deep squat, where you lower your body past parallel, requires a significant amount of hip mobility.

If your hips are tight, a deep squat can exacerbate hip impingement and make the pain worse.

The Connection Between Hip Pain and Other Discomforts

Hip flexor pain when squatting can also be related to other discomforts, such as low back pain and knee pain.

Tight hip flexors can pull on the lumbar spine, leading to low back pain.

Similarly, improper squat form can shift stress to the knees, causing knee pain.

Hip Bursitis and Squatting

Hip bursitis is another condition that can cause pain in your hip when squatting.

Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints.

If the bursae in your hip become inflamed, this can cause pain, particularly during activities like squatting.

In the next section, we’ll provide some practical tips to improve hip mobility and flexibility, helping you squat without pain.

We’ll also discuss how to modify your squat technique to prevent hip flexor pain. 

Hip Flexor quiz

Preventing Hip Flexor Pain When Squatting

We’ve covered a lot of ground on understanding and treating hip flexor pain.

 But as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” So, let’s explore some strategies to prevent hip flexor pain when squatting.

Mastering the Squat Technique

The first step in preventing hip flexor pain is to ensure you’re performing squats correctly. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Keep your chest up and back straight: This helps maintain a neutral spine and reduces strain on your hips.
  • Don’t let your knees cave in: Your knees should be in line with your toes throughout the movement.
  • Go as low as comfortable: You don’t need to do a full “ass-to-grass” squat. Go as low as you can without pain or discomfort.

Improving Ankle Mobility

Believe it or not, your ankles play a significant role in squatting. Limited ankle mobility can force your body to compensate in other areas, like your hips, leading to potential strain.

Regular ankle stretches and mobility exercises can help improve your squat form and prevent hip flexor pain.

Regular Warm-ups and Cool-downs

Never underestimate the power of a good warm-up and cool-down. These can help prepare your muscles for exercise and promote recovery afterwards, reducing the risk of injury.

Remember, the journey to pain-free squats is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time, listen to your body, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if needed.

In the next section, we’ll wrap up our guide and provide some final thoughts on overcoming hip flexor pain when squatting. Let’s finish strong!


We’ve journeyed through the ins and outs of hip flexor pain when squatting, from understanding the causes to exploring effective treatment strategies. But remember, the most important takeaways are:

  • Knowledge is power: Understanding your body and the mechanics of squatting can help you identify potential issues before they become major problems.
  • Prioritize recovery: If you’re experiencing hip flexor pain, give your body the rest it needs. Incorporate flexibility and mobility exercises into your routine to aid recovery.
  • Prevention is key: Proper squatting technique, improved ankle mobility, and regular warm-ups and cool-downs can go a long way in preventing hip flexor pain.
  • Seek professional help when needed: If your pain persists or worsens, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional.

Remember, every fitness journey has its ups and downs.

Experiencing hip flexor pain when squatting can be a setback, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it’s a hurdle you can overcome.

So, keep going, stay positive, and here’s to pain-free squats and a stronger, healthier you!


  1. Hip Pain While Squatting: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment – Healthline: This article provides an overview of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hip pain when squatting.
  2. Hip Flexor Strain: Symptoms, Treatment & Recovery – Cleveland Clinic: This resource offers detailed information on the symptoms, treatment, and recovery process for hip flexor strains.
  3. Hip Pain During Squats: The Ultimate Guide – Barbell Rehab: This guide provides an in-depth look at the causes of hip pain during squats, including conditions like femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).
  4. Hip flexor strain: Symptoms, recovery time, treatment, and more – Medical News Today: This article discusses the causes, symptoms, treatment, and recovery time for hip flexor strains.

Q: What are the common causes of hip pain?

A: The common causes of hip pain include tight hip flexors, low back pain, hip rotation, and muscle imbalances.

Q: Why do I feel pain in my hip when squatting?

A: Pain in the hip when squatting can be caused by various factors such as hip flexor tightness, inadequate warm-up, poor squat form, or underlying hip joint issues.

Q: What can cause hip flexor pain?

A: Hip flexor pain can be caused by overuse, muscle imbalances, poor flexibility, excessive sitting, or engaging in activities that require repetitive hip flexion.

Q: How can I overcome hip flexor pain when squatting?

A: To overcome hip flexor pain when squatting, it is important to address the underlying causes such as tight hip flexors, muscle imbalances, and poor squat form. Stretching, strengthening exercises, and proper warm-up can be helpful in alleviating hip flexor pain.

Q: What is the anatomy of the hip?

A: The hip joint is made up of the pelvis bone and the femur bone. The hip flexors, including the iliopsoas and rectus femoris muscles, are responsible for hip flexion. The hip extensors, such as the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, are responsible for hip extension.

Q: How can I treat hip pain?

A: Treatment for hip pain varies depending on the cause. It may include rest, ice, physical therapy, medication, or in severe cases, surgical intervention. Consulting a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is recommended.

Q: What are the symptoms of hip flexor pain?

A: Symptoms of hip flexor pain may include pain or discomfort in the front of the hip or groin area, decreased range of motion, weakness in the hip, or pain that worsens with certain movements.

Q: What exercises can help strengthen the hip and prevent pain?

A: Exercises that can help strengthen the hip and prevent pain include hip bridges, lunges, clamshells, squats, and hip flexor stretches. It is important to consult with a fitness professional to ensure proper form and technique.

Q: How can I prevent hip pain when squatting?

A: To prevent hip pain when squatting, it is important to maintain proper squat form, warm up adequately, stretch the hip flexors, and gradually increase the intensity and volume of squats. Listening to your body and avoiding overtraining can also help prevent hip pain.

Q: What are some common reasons for hip pain among people who squat deep?

A: Some common reasons for hip pain among people who squat deep include inadequate warm-up, poor hip mobility, muscle imbalances, incorrect squat technique, and overuse of the hip flexor muscles.