Let me begin by saying this is not about an injury. There is no pain during or after my workout (apart from the normal feeling of a muscle straining to lift heavy weights). It's simply that my inner thigh seems to be working a lot harder than it used to 20lbs ago.

The feeling runs along my inner thigh as if it could be my sartorius or adductors, but I don't see how either of those are related enough to the squat to be staining during the lift. This makes me wonder if maybe my form is somehow incorrect and as a result an inordinate proportion of the load is being offloaded onto those muscle when it should be on the more major muscles (VM, VL, glutes, etc.). Is there any common form mistake that would result in a load transfer from the prime movers to the sartorius or hip adductors? Or is it that the sartorius or hip adductors are more vital to the squat than I suspected; meaning it is to be expected that they feel strained under a heavy load?

For what it's worth, I'm aiming for a wide stance, low-bar squat. And when I say wide stance I mean like an inch or two more than shoulder width and with feet pointed out 30°.

1 Answer 1


For reference, here's a 2013 meta analysis from Chris Beardley on the various muscle recruitments (checked by EMG) during squats. There's not much there that really answers your question directly, but it's still a worthwhile read on the topic, especially because it graphs different levels of involvement across individual muscles in different squat stances.

Also, here's a pretty good article from Bret Contreras on helping a squatter out that had a lot of single-leg-adductor problems.

Eric Cressey indicates that weak adductors (grouping all ~9 muscles into the pile here) is the single most common weakness for athletes, not just the general deconditioned public:

Generally speaking, weakness of the hip abductors – most notably the gluteus medius and minimus – is the primary culprit...

I don't know how long you've been squatting or what your routine is, but I think it's fairly normal to have new challenges as your weight and/or volume increases. My own experience has shown me that when your training exposes a new problem (imbalance, weakness, inflexibility, etc), that's when it's time to move into assistance exercises.

If everyone could just keep increasing their weekly weight 1.5% we'd all be squatting 800lbs in a few years. Instead you go sideways sometimes, needing to heal up or tackle some type of challenges that get exposed via higher levels of training. 20 pounds can be a huge difference when you're getting near your 1RM.

So my actual answer would be these:

  1. Video your squat from a few angles, at weight. Look for knee tracking issues, particular shaking or movement, which is a pretty good indicator of adductor issues.
  2. Start up doing some adductor assistance exercises such as sumo deadlift, shifting angle lunges, or even direct adductor work with bands.
  • I doubt I need assistance exercises yet, being at 1.1xBW. I'm following strong lifts and I'm probably just getting close to a reset I guess. I'll have to "double back" and give my stabilizers a chance to catch up, it seems. Or it could be form. I'll try the video suggestion before I reset.
    – Tyler
    Oct 8, 2014 at 5:04

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