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  1. #1
    No rest for the weary Jorday's Avatar
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    narrow stance vs. wide stance squat

    I was looking for some info on squats. I have always used a fairly narrow stance for squats, feet around shoulder width with toes pointed slightly out and I've been going ATG for a few weeks now. I rest the bar up on my traps. Would this be considered an olympic style that I'm doing?

    Some of you talk about using a much wider stance than this and the toes are pointed much farther out. Also, I've heard many of you say the bar rests farther down more on the rear delts. I feel really awkward with the bar this far down on my back. Also, with I use a wide stance it really stretches my hips a lot it feels lilke, but I can go down to parallel this way. Would these be more like a powerlift style squat? I really don't know how wide of a stance is correct for doing these.

    Should I try doing the wide stance squats? Is there any advantage to them over what I do now? I don't seem to be able to lift any weight this way, either. Which type is better for adding strength and size to the legs?
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  2. #2
    Registered User MT!'s Avatar
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    yeah what you use is more olympic. i use the same kind of stance, feet slightly more than shoulder width because it's comfortable to me. some people have trouble doing squats like that so they move to more of a powerlifting style with their feet wider. go with what you're comfortable with just make sure you keep your form strict whichever you choose so as not to **** up your back.

    the difference between the two is that the more narrow stance squats put more focus onto your quads and a wider stance will use much more hamstrings to move the weight.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Dark Phoenix's Avatar
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    I am with MT! for the most part. When you go wider, you work the inside part of your quad more. When you go narrow, you work the outter part more.
    I am not trying to be better than you, just better than myself
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  4. #4
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jorday
    I was looking for some info on squats. I have always used a fairly narrow stance for squats, feet around shoulder width with toes pointed slightly out and I've been going ATG for a few weeks now. I rest the bar up on my traps. Would this be considered an olympic style that I'm doing?

    Some of you talk about using a much wider stance than this and the toes are pointed much farther out. Also, I've heard many of you say the bar rests farther down more on the rear delts. I feel really awkward with the bar this far down on my back. Also, with I use a wide stance it really stretches my hips a lot it feels lilke, but I can go down to parallel this way. Would these be more like a powerlift style squat? I really don't know how wide of a stance is correct for doing these.

    Should I try doing the wide stance squats? Is there any advantage to them over what I do now? I don't seem to be able to lift any weight this way, either. Which type is better for adding strength and size to the legs?
    MOST people (bodybuilders) should use the narrow stance squat, or at least start with it. For most, that is the way to work the quads the hardest.

    If you find it doesn't work, or you lean to far forward, THEN try the wide stance squats

    I personally use the wide stance, but I tried the narrow for a long time.

    Many who need to use the wide stance squats have long torsos and/or short legs. The wide stance lowers the center of gravity, enabling you to remain upright.

    Hint: When you change stances-make sure you start at a lighter weight or you will DESTROY your inner thighs/groin.
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  5. #5
    T-Man daninthemix's Avatar
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    I find it's easier to balance on wide-stance. Front squats are good for quads.
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  6. #6
    Unregistered Non-User exarch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Defiant1
    MOST people (bodybuilders) should use the narrow stance squat, or at least start with it. For most, that is the way to work the quads the hardest.
    That is a myth and you of all people should know it.
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  7. #7
    Feed me!! BoxSquat's Avatar
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    I use both. I have a heavy squat day (using PL style squat) and a 20rep day (using oly style squat)
    Love both styles.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Mpower.'s Avatar
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    I would love to do narrow stance squats but my body wants to fall backwards. Anyone else have this problem or a solution?
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  9. #9
    Registered User G.D.'s Avatar
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    Cool i like to keep

    feet closer when i do front squats, wider when i do regular squats...have good progress with this style for me ya dig...
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  10. #10
    veggie eggy eggy_wont_grow's Avatar
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    i used to use the narrow stance for quite a while, i recently switched to wide stance and the weight i was lifting was reduced, but the movement itself felt much more natural and more comfortable to me. back on track now personally, i'd say wide stance all the way

    got wide stance squats?
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  11. #11
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by exarch
    That is a myth and you of all people should know it.
    Definately NOT a myth. I'm not sure where that is even coming from. For most people a narrow stance squat works more quad, less hip, and gives better sweep.

    This is coming from someone who DOES wide-stance squats. Part of training knowledge is separating what works for YOU and what works for MOST.

    Indeed, the reason that most powerlifters use a wide(er) stance is that is brings other muscles into play, like glutes and hips.
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  12. #12
    Registered User BadLuckJoe's Avatar
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    ^^^ Exactly!

    A wider stance diffinetly activates more of the glutes then the quads for most people.

    I got a huge butt from doing them too wide for like 5 months lol.
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  13. #13
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    The best way to do a squat is to have the feet about shoulder width apart with the toes poinst slightly out ATG. You will feel a better balance and it will incorporate more muscles to execute this. I use narrow and wide squats for varity when I feel myself plateauing.
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  14. #14
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    If I put my feet even an inch farther then shoulder length my right hip hurts like bloody hell. Or if I turn my feet out too much. Otherwise I'm good to go.
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    Registered User Dark Phoenix's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Defiant1

    Indeed, the reason that most powerlifters use a wide(er) stance is that is brings other muscles into play, like glutes and hips.
    Is it not also thefact that is is a smaller ROM with a wider stance.
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  16. #16
    phenom fuzzwazser's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Dark Phoenix
    Is it not also thefact that is is a smaller ROM with a wider stance.
    That helps too but being able to use your posterior chain to a larger degree is much more important then shaving a couple inches off the lift.
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  17. #17
    Registered User Dark Phoenix's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fuzzwazser
    That helps too but being able to use your posterior chain to a larger degree is much more important then shaving a couple inches off the lift.

    Sometimes 2 inches is all it needs.
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  18. #18
    phenom fuzzwazser's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Dark Phoenix
    Sometimes 2 inches is all it needs.
    I completely agree. I just meant that the decreased ROM is a bonus not the sole reason the wide stance is used.
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  19. #19
    Registered User wrestle445's Avatar
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    i hear that wide squat stances can be very bad for the hip flexor. is this true? My hips were having a problem for a while and narrowing my stance didnt do ****.
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  20. #20
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    Back in high school when i lifted i remember doing them fairly narrow, but now when i try to do it like that i can't, i just lose my balance. now i use a wider stance and it seems to help. i don't know why but i think it may be because i've gotten a huge beer belly since then (which im trying to get rid of) and my belly might be kinda getting in the way when i get down low if my legs aren't spread far enough apart. lol that's kinda sad but i will lose the fat soon enough
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    for athletes, the wider stance is probabbly better. It works the posterior chain/hips a lot more which is really important when it comes to speed development and leg strength/power. The quads in most sports are merely used eccentricly and are basically just shock absorbers.
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    Originally Posted by Defiant1 View Post
    Definately NOT a myth. I'm not sure where that is even coming from. For most people a narrow stance squat works more quad, less hip, and gives better sweep.

    This is coming from someone who DOES wide-stance squats. Part of training knowledge is separating what works for YOU and what works for MOST.

    Indeed, the reason that most powerlifters use a wide(er) stance is that is brings other muscles into play, like glutes and hips.
    The main problem with narrow stance squats is that it is very hard on the knees compared to wide stance. The knees do a lot more work and take a hell of a lot more stress. Take this from an old guy (50) who has done narrow stance squats nearly his whole life (over 30 years) and ****ed up his knees and now has tibio-femoral arthritis in both knees and patella arthritis in the right knee. Dispite this huge diability I'm coping with, I can still do, with much care, reasonably heavy wide stance squats. If I tried narrow stance squats I'd become crippled within a day and limping around with extreme knee pain. Narrow front squats used to be my favourite leg exercise.

    Of course a healthy young guy will still be able to do narrow stance squats with no obvious signs of damage (I did for 30 years), but its a risk you take.
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  23. #23
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    Originally Posted by Jorday View Post
    I was looking for some info on squats. I have always used a fairly narrow stance for squats, feet around shoulder width with toes pointed slightly out and I've been going ATG for a few weeks now. I rest the bar up on my traps. Would this be considered an olympic style that I'm doing?

    Some of you talk about using a much wider stance than this and the toes are pointed much farther out. Also, I've heard many of you say the bar rests farther down more on the rear delts. I feel really awkward with the bar this far down on my back. Also, with I use a wide stance it really stretches my hips a lot it feels lilke, but I can go down to parallel this way. Would these be more like a powerlift style squat? I really don't know how wide of a stance is correct for doing these.

    Should I try doing the wide stance squats? Is there any advantage to them over what I do now? I don't seem to be able to lift any weight this way, either. Which type is better for adding strength and size to the legs?
    I think it varies by the individual...some people are stronger squatting narrow and others feel comfortable wider...try both ways and see which one "fits" your body better
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    Registered User WADEAL's Avatar
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    Try the following superset:

    Standard squats for 10 reps, moving to 10 squats with feet together, followed directly by a wide stance set. 4 supersets and you are jelly.

    The second two are (ideally) performed on a Smith machine for variation and because it is easier to maintain your balance with feet right together. Once you are there you can go straight into the third set.

    This hits all of the heads of the quads and makes grown men (literally) weak at the knee. That is the value of differing feet positions.

    Anyone who says there is a single "correct" way to squat knows diddly (squat?).

    Sure there is a correct way to squat for everyone to maximise the weight they can squat, but it is totally individual. The best foot placement for an individual, depends upon their quad development, the length of their levers and their back strength. Look at any powerlifting meet and you'll see a host of different techniques employed by men and women who are different shapes and sizes. In training, logic says use different foot positions for all round development.
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    Personally I have squatted with just about every concievable stance but about shoulder width feels the most comfortable to me.

    I recommend videotaping your squats and then comparing your squat form to pro powerlifters to make sure you are squatting with proper technique. Do not worry so much about width, focus on technique and strength
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    trying this:

    I started with a shrug cage and feet together. When I moved to dumbbells and shoulder-width stance, I had to decrease the load and work back up. Once I post this, I'm going to try, with dumbbells: 200lbs superwide (edges of feet under tips of fingers when arms fully extended,) 300lbs narrow (shoulder-width,) 400lbs feet together.

    The plus in going "back" to feet together @ 400lbs is that with a narrow stance I'm concentrating so much on my form, so paranoid about my lower back, that I don't enjoy the endorphin rush. Feet together, for me, takes care of my form for me, so all I have to worry about is keeping the 2x 2x100lb dumbbells I have precariously strapped together from falling on my feet. Again.

    If I don't update this post in 15 minutes, it's because I shot my spine out my butt and into my TV, and consequently have no reason to live. I mean, why even wake up in the morning if you don't have a working TV?

    And yes, 2" is all it takes, but it also goes almost completely unnoticed. Again, with the proper size TV, who cares?
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    Stance really depends on what muscles u want to hit..

    basically -
    narrow grip = more quads
    wide = adductors + glutes (you do need a good level of flexibility through the groin to get decent ROM in this stance)
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    whoops

    I'd need to stretch someone else's groin to squat with outer edges of feet at fingertips -- make that: outer edges of feet under elbows when arms fully extended to the sides. Had to bump this up to 300lbs, kept narrow at 300lbs but doubled the reps; 400lbs with feet together was like rediscovering crack. So to speak.

    1 hr later my butt isn't speaking to me anymore, yet it's screaming... I found this thread to see if the logic behind grip/hand width with benches/pushups was the same as foot width re squats, and indeed it appears to be: dumbbells together on top of chest/diamond pushups = tricep concentration; bench grip over elbows when arms extended to the sides/"wide" pushups = pec concentration; shoulder width grip/hands = combo. Allegedly if you start narrow and end wide you'll force more pec concentration on the wide, as you've nuked your triceps in the narrow/shoulder grips. Probably the same with wides recruiting more glutes after narrow and shoulder width stances -- again, I'm in it for the endorphin rush, and I got a good one ending with a narrow stance.

    For the 50-year-old-no-knees: you might try pivoting your foot around to see if you can find a position that takes enough stress off your knees while doing shoulder/narrow squats. When I got certified in ashtanga yoga, I made the scientific discovery that everyone in the class who hyperextended when they locked their legs also had inward-turned knees. Well, maybe not scientific, but those of us with congenitally screwed legs also couldn't do certain asanas (eg full lotus: you have to turn your knees out and down to get into this position; turning our knees out just puts them at "normal"/neutral for everyone else -- but then we could do some asanas the "normals" couldn't, so there.)

    If not-every-50-year-old has destroyed their knees with narrow squats, I'd suspect knee alignment during the exercise might have something to do with it, and theoretically that can be adjusted -- to a degree -- with foot rotation, either inward or out.
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    Originally Posted by allterranova View Post

    If not-every-50-year-old has destroyed their knees with narrow squats, I'd suspect knee alignment during the exercise might have something to do with it, and theoretically that can be adjusted -- to a degree -- with foot rotation, either inward or out.
    Actually, after reading this thread again a couple of years later, I should add that my knees were screwed from a couple of motorcycle accidents, not from squatting. A severely fractured femur and tibia didn't help at all.

    The point was that with screwed knees (tibiofemoral arthritis) you become more aware of the stresses on the knees in various positions. Wide stance takes a lot of the stresses off the knees however it also takes a lot of stress of the quads and makes it much more difficult to build or maintain quad mass. Foot position is best left neutral - not too far either way. I believe your feet should be positioned where they would naturally be if you were just standing.
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    Glute involvement vs quad involvement in general has more to do with the position of the knees rather than the how far apart the feet are. In a low bar squat you need to widen your stance in order to flare your knees further out, but this is not necessarily true in a high bar-style squat.
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