Am thinking about playing around a bit with my squat stance in a few weeks. Most of my lifting career I’ve squatted narrow with varying degrees of toe angle. More recently I’ve been squatting more narrow and toes more forward for no reason in particular.
Sometimes I get pinching at the front hip. On the basis of the below vid maybe this isn’t so good. I’m gonna try at least a bit of toes out
I think the vid is more geared to making a safe comfy squat and that’ll help me with the goal of lifting max weights.
How do you guys squat?
How did you decide on this squat stance i.e. width and toe angle?
Any drills or exercises to help determine stance or is it a trial and error type of deal?
If you don’t have issues reaching depth then just squat however allows you to move the most weight, which coincidentally will probably be a stance that you feel comfortable in. If you are getting a pinch in the front of your hip then it could be hip impingement which can cause serious issues (bone spurs, torn labrum) if you keep squatting like that. The pinch could also be related to some sort of muscle issue, but if it’s only when you’re in a deep, narrow-stance squat then I would assume impingement.
Stuart McGill has a thing where with a bent knee you see in which position you can get the deepest hip flexion, but that’s more for people with poor mobility or hip impingement. Under normal circumstances, somewhere around shoulder width would be a starting point and you can try slightly closer or wider and see how it goes. If wider/closer feels better (and stronger) then go a little further again and so on, eventually you will either find a spot that doesn’t feel right or you can’t hit depth and that’s when you have gone too far.
As far as toe angle, you want your knees tracking over the outer portion of your foot, otherwise it puts a lot of strain on the knee joint and can cause problems over time. Very few people squat big weights with their toes pointed forward, but it’s not unheard of.
There is a site called “Squat University” that has a bunch of articles on stuff like this, you might want to check it out. The guy is a physical therapist and former national-level weightlifter, he seems to know what he is talking about. I recently started doing a couple things I got from his site myself.
I agree with Chris about avoiding that pinch in your hip.
If you want to mess around with stance, you could do your Squats “normal.”
Then after that you can use assistance/back offs with different foot position.
If you want to get close stance you can use goblet squats, front squats, and upside down SSB squats to keep a more vertical upper body and crunch down on your hips.
To go wider or sit back you can use the belt squat or box squats, (silly) zercher squats to avoid blasting your hips or limit ROM as you get used to it.
If your body likes the width/stance that you mess around with, you’ll find yourself moving towards that alignment in your normal squats, without having to think much about it.
I started running into the pinch recently and just found this after seeing this post:
If you start your squat or perform your squat with a large “arch” or in excessive extension at your lumbar spine, eventually one of three things will happen.
- You won’t be able to squat as deep as you would like.
2.“Butt Wink” where the spine will go from lumbar extension to neutral spine and into lumbar flexion, all while under load.
3.“Hip Pinch” as you descent into the squat.
I did a few tests and I was in fact slightly putting myself into slight extension before I was squatting.
I kept a similar stance as usual and just really focused on keeping my lower back neutral, and the pinch went away.
Going to do some stretching and mobilization to help also.
I like the tip of squeezing your ass and seeing where your toes end up pointing - one cheek at a time is easiest. This seems to get a good position i forgot where I got this from, so credit to someone.