T Nation

Squat Stance

So, I was in the gym yesterday, doing powerlifting stance squats, when a kid I know, whose on the track team says “squatting like that is bad for your back.” Anyway, I just played it off and said “OK, how do I squat then?” and he squats down, knees break first, knees about 5 inches infront of his toes, and somehow ends up in an oly style squat. Needless to say, I said “I think I’ll just squat this way, you’re going to hurt your knees doing that.”

He said the S&C coach said to squat like he does, its ok for his knees to go past his toes, and I was just doing wide stance to make my ROM shorter. I tried explaining it puts more emphasis on the hams and glutes, he wasnt buyin’ it.

Before he walked away, he said doing shorter ROM squats shortens the muscle and sets athletes up for injury “But its ok, because you’re not an athlete…” He said the S&C coach told him that.

I dont see how this is true, does this hold any truth?

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
So, I was in the gym yesterday, doing powerlifting stance squats, when a kid I know, whose on the track team says “squatting like that is bad for your back.” Anyway, I just played it off and said “OK, how do I squat then?” and he squats down, knees break first, knees about 5 inches infront of his toes, and somehow ends up in an oly style squat. Needless to say, I said “I think I’ll just squat this way, you’re going to hurt your knees doing that.”

He said the S&C coach said to squat like he does, its ok for his knees to go past his toes, and I was just doing wide stance to make my ROM shorter. I tried explaining it puts more emphasis on the hams and glutes, he wasnt buyin’ it.

Before he walked away, he said doing shorter ROM squats shortens the muscle and sets athletes up for injury “But its ok, because you’re not an athlete…” He said the S&C coach told him that.

I dont see how this is true, does this hold any truth?
[/quote]

People who give unsolicited advice like that are usually assholes. I can’t comment on how he squatted since I didn’t see it, but it is just stupid to say powerlifting-style squats are bad because it shortens the muscle and sets athletes up for injuries. It is in situations like these that a good knowledge of anatomy comes in handy. When you start talking about which particular muscles are targeted at different joint angles, where the proximal and distal attachments are and what bones are pulled on, and the like, the wannabe gurus have no response.

The way he is squatting is fine, and unfortunately, the narrow/deeper oly style squat does recruit glutes and hams more than the wider stance/shallow PL style squat. It also is not necissarily bad for the knees.

However, the last statement about “shortening the muscles” is not a true statement as far as I know.

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Before he walked away, he said doing shorter ROM squats shortens the muscle and sets athletes up for injury “But its ok, because you’re not an athlete…” He said the S&C coach told him that.

I dont see how this is true, does this hold any truth?
[/quote]

Actually, I have read that doing shortened range of motion lifts will cause issues with the muscle length. However, if you train with a full range of motion in most lifts or supplemental/accessory exercises, then it shouldn’t be an issue.

With that said, the powerlifting squat doesn’t necessarily shorten the range of motion in the instance that he was referring to. You are looking at it from a mechanical standpoint: Do more weight with less movement.

By using a wide stance and sitting back, you are shortening the range of motion of the exercise but not necessarily the muscle. If you were doing quarter-squats, then you’d be doing a true shorter range of motion (or if you were only doing rack lockouts instead of full bench presses).

So he wasn’t completely right in his advice to you, but you didn’t quite explain things to him correctly when you referred to a shorter range of motion.

Either way, it depends on your goals. If you want to have bigger and stronger hamstrings and glutes while lifting heavier weights, stick with the powerlifting squat.

If you want more athletic carryover, flexibility and complete leg development (quads and hams), then use the Olympic squat (front, back or overhead). :wink:

By the way, in a true ass-to-grass Olympic squat (front or back), the knees will most likely travel out past the toes. It’s normal and not a problem!

The S&C coach here just said the same thing today about ROM and muscle length, and he knows his shit. Though I was under the impression that muscle contraction in general would lead to shortening, hence the need for stretching…

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
“But its ok, because you’re not an athlete…” [/quote]

That calls for a pie in the face, but since there aren’t pies in a gym, you have to use a 45 lb. plate.

Sounds like a doucher to me.

Unless someone’s doing something that’s immediately dangerous to themselves or others it’s none of your fuckin’ business unless they ask for help.

He wanted to dazzle you with his bullshit.

Dude, if your technique is good, you’ll be fine.

I don’t know anyone who thinks leading into a squat with a knee break is a good idea. Sounds to me like your technique is better than his BUT i think it’s a good idea to use both techniques. Oly style and powerlifting style for variety and a bit of insurance.

[quote]Sxio wrote:
I don’t know anyone who thinks leading into a squat with a knee break is a good idea. Sounds to me like your technique is better than his BUT i think it’s a good idea to use both techniques. Oly style and powerlifting style for variety and a bit of insurance. [/quote]

Thats what I told him. I did 20 rep squats using a oly stance, and now I’m doing PL stance.

That is just plain dumb… tell it to DeFranco or anyone at westside…

http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/default.asp?qid=43046&tid=109

yes wide stance squats obviously have no carry over what-so-ever…

I’ve used a very narrow stance for the past 5 years and My knees are in great shape, minus an MCL tear from something that wasnt squatting. If anything its more painful to widen it out for me.