There are three stances that are most common for squats (Narrow, “Normal”/Shoulder-width, and Wide). Determining which one is right for you will depend on your goals and your mobility. Narrow is beneficial for those wishing to keep the hips closed and target the inner thighs and quads, however, for many of us the missing range of motion makes this stance awkward and difficult. A wider stance is typically used by powerlifters or people who have restricted mobility through their ankles or hips as it allows them to handle larger loads due to the decreased flexion to reach the full-depth. Last, we have the ‘normal’ stance, which is having the feet positioned just outside the shoulders. For this article we have chosen to go over the “normal” stance as it is the most common.
In order to maintain a safe, efficient and strong squat position throughout the movement you need to develop a stable relationship between your hips, knees and ankles as you descend and rise. To begin your squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and either straight ahead or slightly angled outwards (no more than 15 degrees). Then, you will need to centre your weight over the front of your ankles, think mid-foot. From there, you want to create a stable stance and think of externally rotating your feet into the ground– (left foot to the left and the right foot to the right), once done correctly you can feel your glutes come online and you should feel strong and stable. The next step is slide your glutes back and push your knees out laterally while keeping your shins as vertical as possible. Lower down to the bottom position. To rise, maintain the external rotation and extend your hips and knees. It is the same process to ascend just in the reverse order.
- Air Squat
- Goblet Squat
- Mixed Surface Squats