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Knee Bone or Joint Injury

Why Is It Hard To Stand Up After Squatting?

Minute Read


Posted 8 months ago


Last updated: 29/11/2022


by James McCormack

Getting up from a squat position is a challenging movement that involves multiple joints and significant strength. However, it is a very normal and functional movement that you will want to be able to do. You might find after an injury it is suddenly difficult or impossible to stand up after squatting, or as you get older you might notice it is slowly getting more challenging to do so. Here is some insight into why it might be difficult and what you can do about it to stay active and autonomous.


To get up from squatting it requires the coordination of several muscle groups: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles are the main power generators. Addition muscles will work to stabilise your upper body, pelvis and hip, knee, foot and ankle. So in actual fact it is a full body exercise. If you feel you just don’t have the power to get up you might want to work on getting stronger. A physical therapist will be able to help with finding if there it is a specific weakness to an individual muscle or a general weakness. Exercises can then be tailored to your needs. Here are some exercise that can help strengthen the main muscles used for squatting.

Knee Extension

Sit on the edge of a chair with a resistance band around your ankle and the chair leg. Straighten your knee against the resistance of the band, then slowly return to the bent position.

Repeat 12-15 times, rest and repeat for 3 sets.

Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis backwards to flatten your back against the floor. Then lift your pelvis off the floor, squeeze your buttocks and feel your hamstrings working. Slowly lower back down and repeat.

Repeat 12-15 times, rest, and repeat for 3 sets.

Calf Raise

Stand with the ball of your feet on the edge of a step. Lift your heels as high as you can, feeling your calf muscles working. Then lower down as far as you can to feel a stretch in your calf muscles.

Repeat 12-15 times, rest and repeat for 3 sets.


It might be hard to stand up after squatting because you might lack the mobility to do the movement. Stiffness in the hips, knees, or ankles can limit a squat movement. Here is how you can check:

If you struggle with any of these you might need to work on mobility to help you squat. Start with stretches to the muscles that might limit these movements, which we have listed below. If you have any pain with these or feel that after a consistent effort for 2 weeks that you are not making progress you should seek the help of a physical therapist or sports doctor. Arthritis can be a cause of joint stiffness, learn about Knee Arthritis.


  • Can you flex you hip past 90º?

Standing bring you knee up towards your chest.

  • Can you bend your knee past 90º?

Sitting slide you heal back under your knee.

  • Can you bend your ankle past 20º?

Standing lift the ball of your foot off the floor.

Glute Stretch

Lie on your back with your knee bend and foot on the floor. Cross your other leg over so that your ankle rests above your knee. Pull you thigh up to your chest to feel a stretch across your buttocks.

Hold for 45 seconds, and you can repeat this several times per day.


Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on the floor and step through with one leg. Shift your pelvis forwards, while keeping your body upright, to feel a stretch across the front of your hip.

Hold for 45 seconds, and you can repeat this several times per day.

Quadriceps Stretch

Stand on one leg and hold a wall for balance. Take your opposite ankle in your hand and pull your ankle towards your buttocks. You thighs should be parallel throughout the hold.

Hold for 45 seconds, and you can repeat this several times per day.

Calf Stretch

Stand with the balls of your feel on the edge of a step. Lower your heels down to feel a stretch down the back of your calf muscles.

Hold for 45 seconds, and you can repeat this several times per day.


Difficulty with balance and feeling unsteady on your feet can make it hard to stand up after squatting. If you find that you can squat when holding onto something but feel nervous about taking your hands off because you feel unstable this might be why is it hard to stand up after squatting. Balance can be trained and improved with exercises. These should be done in a safe environment, either with someone there to support you or with your hands over a sturdy counter or railing in case you need support. You should work at the edge of your comfort zone, if the exercise is too easy or too hard you are unlikely to benefit from it. Examples of balance exercises are:

Feet Together

Photo of balance with feet together

Tandem Stance

Photo of lady balancing in tandem stance

Single Leg

Photo of single leg balance


Experiencing pain can make it hard to stand up after squatting. While pain is common it is not normal and should not be left without investigation. The knee is the most heavily loaded joint with the squat movement, and knee pain is the most common. However, hip, ankle and back pain can restrict you also. You may also find excessive pain in the muscles of the legs when squatting.  As there are many different causes of pain in joints so we recommend that you see a physical therapist for a physical examination. This will help you to understand the underlying causes, as well as get some specific treatment and exercises to fix the problem. Learn more about conditions that can cause pain with squatting: Patellar Tracking Disorder, Patellofemoral Joint Pain, Medial Meniscus Injury, and Patellar Tendonitis.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Articles:

Patellofemoral Pain
Patellar Tracking Disorder
Knee Arthritis


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