Squats are one of the best exercises for building strength and muscle. They work your legs, glutes, and core all at once. But sometimes, squats can cause pain. This can make it hard to keep up with your workouts and reach your fitness goals.

In this article, we will look at why squats might hurt and how you can stop the pain. We will talk about common mistakes people make when squatting and how to fix them. We will also share some easy exercises and tips to help you squat without pain. By the end, you’ll know how to make your squats safe and effective.

Common Causes of Squat Pain

Squat pain can happen for many reasons. Here are some common causes and how they can affect your squats.

Improper Form

One of the biggest reasons for squat pain is bad form. Squatting with the wrong technique can put too much pressure on your joints and muscles. Here are some common mistakes:

  • Knees Caving In: Your knees should stay in line with your toes. If they cave in, it can strain your knees and cause pain.
  • Rounding Your Back: Your back should stay straight. Rounding your back can hurt your spine and lead to back pain.

Lack of Mobility

Mobility means how well your joints move. If your hips, ankles, or upper back (thoracic) are not flexible enough, it can cause pain during squats.

  • Hip Mobility: Tight hips can make it hard to squat deep and keep good form.
  • Ankle Mobility: If your ankles are stiff, you might lean forward too much, which can hurt your knees and lower back.
  • Thoracic Mobility: A stiff upper back can cause you to hunch over, leading to back pain.

Weak Muscles

Weak muscles can make squats painful. Your quads, hamstrings, and glutes all need to be strong to support your body during squats. If some muscles are weaker than others, it can cause imbalances and pain.

Previous Injuries

Old injuries can also cause squat pain. If you’ve hurt your knees, back, or hips before, these areas might still be sensitive or weak. This can make squatting difficult and painful.

Squat Pain: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It

Preventing Squat Pain

Now that we know what causes squat pain, let’s look at how to prevent it.

Proper Warm-Up

Warming up is very important. It gets your muscles ready for exercise and can help prevent pain. Here are some good warm-up exercises:

  • Leg Swings: Swing your legs back and forth to loosen up your hips.
  • Bodyweight Squats: Do a few squats without weights to practice your form.
  • Dynamic Stretching: Move your muscles through their full range of motion with exercises like lunges and arm circles.

Improving Form

Good form is key to pain-free squats. Here are some tips to help you squat correctly:

  • Feet Position: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Knees: Make sure your knees follow the line of your toes.
  • Back: Keep your back straight and chest up.
  • Depth: Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower if you can do it without pain.

Mobility Exercises

Improving your mobility can help you squat better. Here are some exercises to try:

  • Hip Flexor Stretch: Stretch your hip flexors to improve hip mobility.
  • Ankle Circles: Rotate your ankles to increase flexibility.
  • Thoracic Extensions: Use a foam roller to stretch your upper back.

Strengthening Weak Areas

Strengthening your muscles can help prevent pain. Here are some exercises to target key areas:

  • Lunges: Strengthen your quads and glutes.
  • Deadlifts: Build your hamstrings and lower back.
  • Glute Bridges: Focus on your glutes and lower back.

Gradual Progression

Don’t rush to lift heavy weights. Increase the weight slowly to avoid injury. Focus on doing the exercises correctly with lighter weights before moving on to heavier ones.

Listening to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body feels. If something hurts, stop and rest. Overtraining can lead to injuries and more pain. Make sure you get enough rest and recovery.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, it’s best to get help from a professional. Here’s when you should see someone:

  • Persistent Pain: If your pain doesn’t go away, see a doctor or physical therapist.
  • Severe Pain: Sharp or intense pain needs medical attention.
  • Previous Injuries: If you have a history of injuries, a professional can help you work out safely.

A physical therapist from Functional Phyzio and Performance Therapy can provide guidance and exercises tailored to your needs. They can help you improve your form, strength, and mobility, making your squats safer and more effective.


Squatting doesn’t have to be painful. You can squat safely and effectively by understanding the causes of squat pain and following these tips. Remember to warm up properly, focus on your form, improve your mobility, strengthen your muscles, and listen to your body. If you need help, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.

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