I've found that it's much easier to squat with my feet wide apart (more than shoulder width, by quite a bit) than close together. I could not handle the same weights with a narrow stance. Is this "cheating"? Is there any advantage to squatting with a narrower stance? (sometimes I see people doing this at the gym.)
Powerlifters use a wider stance so that they can lift more. For bodybuilding purposes it's better to keep your stance narrow (around shoulder width). It's not cheating. Which stance you should use depends on your goal.
What w00tage said.
Also though, sometimes when your legs are farther apart, you think you're going lower than you really are. You might be getting bigger numbers by not going as deep.
Going slightly wider seems to let me go deeper without bumping into ankle flexibility limitations. Illusion?
Squatting wider puts much more stress on your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, lower back) and your hips. Can also make the insides of your thighs grow.
Squatting with a narrower stance will put more stress on your quads.
You can always more more weight with the wide stance, there's a reason the biggest squatters in the world use that stance.
Neither is "cheating" just targeting different muscle groups from a bodybuilding standpoint or using different leverages from a powerlifting standpoint.
best description right here ... good question Alisa
Saying going wider=bigger squat is kind of false. A lot of raw+single ply guys squat relatively close stanced and in oly shoes. Because we can move more weight that way. You don't even see nearly as much wide stance squatting until you hit multi-ply. But there are raw/single ply guys that squat wide, but it isn't exactly the vast majority.
Glutes are stronger than quads. Wider engages glute action more. To develop quads, narrow stance. For power and overall, wider.
I consider myself a newbie but have studied bb, read a LOT by Prof X. Really knows his stuff.
This is why I squat low-bar with a semi-wide stance. I get all the activation I need from all of the muscles mentioned above.
I vary my stance to try to get the best of both worlds.
I see it mentioned that squatting narrow stance puts much more focus on the quads, but more specifically it is used to really bring out the quad sweep, one of the most sought after physical attributes for the legs in BBing.
Everything else has been said.
Maybe an over-generalization, but I wouldn't say it's entirely untrue.
Thanks everyone -- this is very informative. I'm probably going to stick to wide stance, since my knees also pop if it's narrow, but I may change it up like Debra.
We're both right. OP should just experiment and find whatever stance suits them best.