T Nation

Wide vs Close Stance Squats

[quote]Major Dan wrote:
Dominator-
Regardless of force plates, etc, the vast majority of the strongest squatters in the world use a wide stance.
It has nothing to do with hip tightness.
It is a question of whether your primary power comes from the quads or the posterior chain - hamstrings glutes spinal erectors.
It has been shown that the posterior chain can be stronger. The sit-back wide stance squat is the technique of choice for the 1000 lb squatters.

Consider also that the posterior chain is primary to athletic activity.[/quote]

Who the strongest squatters are is debatable. The Powerlifters have it in record because that’s a tested lift, but it’s a well known fact that many Olympic Lifters have been seen squating these totals with a narrow stance. Shane Hammond squated over 1000 with a narrow stance when he was powerlifting, and Rob Wagner employs a narrow stance as well. Do I think that someone can develope into a strong squater by employing a wide stance…certainly, but I believe it more out of necessity rather than ideal function. Also, saying that the posterior chain strength is the reason to squat with a wide stance doesn’t jive with me either. Russian research has shown that the force production of the pull in the Snatch and Clean was unmatched by any other athlete tested, and biomechanicly the pull is just about all posterior chain aside from the initial seperation from the floor, and again this was done with a narrow stance. If it was advantagous to employ a wider stance in the pull to activate the posterior chain, then you’d see just about every Olympic Lifter using that stance.
I don’t want to turn this into OL vs PL argument…I simply want to play the other side and show that the science doesn’t necessarily back the wider stance, but rather both stances can work equally as well as long as it is correctly matched with that person lever system and flexibility.

[quote]wow, that’s pretty much a bunch of bull shit. I completely understand why olympic lifters and vertical jumpers would go with a close stance because you can start much lower and generate more force from the bottom but this is NOT applicable to a competition squat!! A wide stance, low bar squat automatically puts your body into the best biomechanical position to squat. It has nothing to do with flexibility. What you said about hip flexibility is closer to the opposite of what is true.

Do this for me ok? Spread your feet out wide, close to 2 times shoulder width point your feet straight forward, try to push your knees out and squat to parallel. Most people are not able to get to parallel like this because the hips can’t get to parallel with no weight. So you DEFINITELY need hip flexibility to squat with a wide stance. I won’t even go into the fact that the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back are bigger muscles and have a much greater strength potential. [/quote]

You’re confusing hip flexor flexibility and hip position. With a wider stance, less hip flexibility is needed because the lever is shorter…it’s simple biomechanics. And by the way, Zatsiorsky wrote that the “olympic” squat was biomechanicly and structuraly was a stronger position than a parallel or higher squat.

For me the issue on wide (rack width)vs. narrow (about shoulder width) has also been about what part of my body would I rather tweak. Knee pain- a consistant part of my training since I started- basically disappeared when I went to a wide stance. In fact, the only time I have had knee pain since going to a wide stance is when I do narrow stance work (typically, a ME squat off a low box). That said, many wide stance squatters seem to complain of hip pain. I think wide stance may also demand more of your lower back- at least that’s what’s happended with me.

Squatting wide has nothing to do with flexibility. Powerlifters squat wide because it allows them to move more weight over a lesser distance. I agree however that squatting with a close stance is also beneficial. That is why my athletes use both types of squats in their routines.

As far as working on squatting wide, there are a couple of ways you can do it. One is the way I did it. I worked my stance further and further out over time. I started with a medium stance and moved it out a little each week until I was against the rack. The second way is to start with a well above parallel box and start with the stance you want to eventually use. Each week you can lower the box one inch until you are at parallel. Both ways will work quite well.

I don’t know if anyone covered this yet, but I think i will depend of the person’s body structure, femur vs calf and torso length. I recently switched over to a wide stance and was able to move a lot more weight the first session. That may be because my posterior chain is stronger than my glutes, but I can deadlift a lot more with a sumo stance as compared to a narrow stance.

[quote]Dominator wrote:

You’re confusing hip flexor flexibility and hip position. With a wider stance, less hip flexibility is needed because the lever is shorter…it’s simple biomechanics. And by the way, Zatsiorsky wrote that the “olympic” squat was biomechanicly and structuraly was a stronger position than a parallel or higher squat.[/quote]

You really do need greater hip flexibility in a wide stance BECAUSE OF the position of your hips. Any powerlifter will tell you this. You really cannot compare olympic lifts with squats. It’s like comparing apples and freaking potatoes.

[quote]
You really do need greater hip flexibility in a wide stance BECAUSE OF the position of your hips. Any powerlifter will tell you this. You really cannot compare olympic lifts with squats. It’s like comparing apples and freaking potatoes. [/quote]

As you keep posting along this topic, the more I question if you really understand what is being asked and rather have turned this into a debate that wide is better than narrow.

First off, saying that OL has nothing to do or shouldn’t be compared to squatting is the most inaccurate statement that I’ve read in a while. The OLs are nothing but squats! This tells me that you really don’t know what you’re talking about, or have little knowledge of what goes into an OL.

The initial post by Nolecat was simply stating that he felt that with the wider squat stance, he had less power and explosive strength. Dominator then made a post simply stating that the narrower stance is actually more powerfull than a wider stance and used a few examples to back his claim. Dominator then went on to point out, at least what I read into the post, was that the stance you choose has more to do with the lever system and flexibility of each person, not necessarily that one was better or stronger than the other, but at least he provided multiple claims why a narrower technique could be better.

You on the other hand have only provided a statement saying “ask any powerlifter and they will tell you…” Also, posterior chain recruitment has more to do with the approach in the descent and back angle of the squat than it has to do with the wide stance. The wide stance just helps getting into that postion easier than a more errect squat postion typically associated with a narrower stance, but trust me, there is a significant amount of posterior chain recruitment in a narrow stance.

Being that I have trained with both powerlifters and olympic lifters, and I can’t say that one is better than the other. Did I squat more with a wide stance when powerlifting, yes, but when I was olympic lifting, my goal wasn’t exactly trying to boost my sqaut necessarily, so it’s tough to say if one is clearly better than the other. I will also agree with you that there is some level of hip flexibility required with a wide squat stance, but I would say that it’s much less than what you are actually giving credit.

I will also say that the powerlifters as a whole were some of the most in-flexible athletes that I ever trained with, especially in the hips when compared to olympic lifters and other athletes. I remeber one of the guys I used to train with couldn’t even get into a paralell squat untill he had 315 on his back pushing him down into that position. If that’s not an inflexibility in the hip, I don’t know what is.

I think it’s appropriate for everyone here to not derail this thread from what orignally was being asked and not turn this into a PL vs OL debate. The issue still remains whether or not one can move more weigth with a narrower stance, and my feeling is that all factors being equal, the answer is yes.

Would there be a benefit to maybe working in wider stance squats into training if the goal is to move more weight, absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that the wide stance is the absolute for obtaining the highest total. Each persons structure is going to have an ideal foot position. The quest is finding it. For me, shoulder width or slightly wider works well. I also turn my toes out 10 degrees or so and have my left foot about two to three inches further in front of my right foot because of a past ankle injury.

If it weren’t for years and years of experimenting, I wouldn’t have realized that I needed to place one foot in front of the other, but the more I played around with different stances, the easier I found what worked for me.

Wide squats engage your hamstrings and glutes rather than your quads if done properly. Your narrower stance is for hitting the quads. You will develope twice the amount of power eventually. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it at first. It took me some time to get used to it and my squat has gone up over a hundred lbs. Due to the wide squat. Make sure you have someone show you the squat properly.

Also don’t place the bar high on your shoulders. place it right below your traps. This also takes time to get used to because it will seem like the weight wants to fall off your back . You really have to lock into the bar. best of luck to you. Hit me back if this helps or you have other questions.

p.s. If you want to really trash your quads do your wide stance and finish with zercher squats

olympic lifts really have nothing to do with competition powerlifting squatting. If that were the case all the top powerlifters would be cleaning massive weights. I’m not a good clean-er but i can squat a very big amount of weight. With an olympic lift all of your joints are in dfferent positions and use different leverages. It’s all about speed and explosion off the floor. I’m sure that there are outstanding OL lifters out there that can’t squat shit.

How the hell did this turn into a fucking discussion about olympic lifts anyway?? Squats are an absolute strength movement and olympic lifts require much more speed and use of momentum. I really don’t give a shit about olympic lifts but THEY ARE NOT SQUATS!

In my family fitness center and smoothie bar we don’t have power racks or boxes, so I squat in the angled smith machine and use fitness balls for my box. I like using the 36" ball the best. Sometimes I use the 24" ball, but I get more bounce off the 36" ball. I squat with a less than shoulder with stance.

How should I squat to move the most weight. I can do a plate and a quarter on each side on the smith machines. I only feel it in my calfs though. Can someone explain why every powerlifting related thread on this board turns into a pissing match. Thanks everyone for the discouragement.

“Pelican Legs”

-its retarded to think that any decent olympic lifter cant squat worth shit.

-i’ve never seen anyone clean/jerk more than they can FRONT squat (still a far cry from their max back squat) and overhead squats and snatches seem to follow the same pattern…think about if for a second, its quite simple
-as far as my own training and experience, i also fall into this situation

-also, i think (whoever said it) was totally right about lever lengths, ratios, and weak points

-i’ve been training mostly narrow, upright squats, and on my first day trying wide stance squats i pushed up over 50 extra lbs…its not like that was what i was used to
-i know that i’m a taller athlete (6’1"), and that my quads are a weak point (even though i put more emphesis on them in my training regimes)
-this suggests to me that i fall into the catagory that are genetically preditermined to naturally gravitate towards a wider stance, (however, fear of hip injury/pain, and closer carryover to my goals (oly stuff and VJ), i still will most likely focus on a more “regular” stanced squat

I think what needs to be considered is the distance moved. Comparing a wide stance PL squat to parallel with an Olympic squat to well below parallel is never going to tell you which lift is strongest. The range of motion is so far apart. Yes, the PL squat may well move more weight, but over a shorter distance. What does that tell you? Not a lot.

As an aside, whoever said some top O-lifters can’t squat for shit is off their head. If you want to C&J it you’ve got to be able to front squat it for a triple, otherwise you’re fucked. Dimas’ back squat: 320kg at 83kg. Terrible I agree.

[quote]nolecat wrote:
I know that virtually every powerlifter practices wide(and I mean wide) stance squats. [/quote]

No they don’t. Ever heard of the IPF?

[quote]nolecat wrote:
I know that virtually every powerlifter practices wide(and I mean wide) stance squats. [/quote]

No they don’t. Ever heard of the IPF?

[quote]Major Dan wrote:
Dominator-
Regardless of force plates, etc, the vast majority of the strongest squatters in the world use a wide stance.
It has nothing to do with hip tightness.
It is a question of whether your primary power comes from the quads or the posterior chain - hamstrings glutes spinal erectors.
It has been shown that the posterior chain can be stronger. The sit-back wide stance squat is the technique of choice for the 1000 lb squatters.

Consider also that the posterior chain is primary to athletic activity.[/quote]

The sit back wide stance is their method of choice because it allows them to get the most out of their gear. Don’t even try and argue this, because if you do, you’ll just be wrong.

Find videos from last years NERB. Compare Sam Byrd’s squat there, to his 1000lb once a few months before. His feet are considerably closer. Why do this? Becaus like it or not, and despite what EVERY gym powerlifter seems to say, the quads have a very fucking big role in squatting heavy.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Metal have suits specifically for narrow stance squatters?

A different question but on the same subject. Taking into consideration that the exercise is done with good form, is there any long term damage to the knees due to wide stance squatting? Someone in my gym had told me this but I think they are full of S%^$ and want to make people believe that they know more than they actually do. You know the squat rack curl type.

Rock

[quote]Hanley wrote:
The sit back wide stance is their method of choice because it allows them to get the most out of their gear.

I’ve been reading through this thread and this, in my opinion, is why the wide stance is used mostly in powerlifting. I know that if I put on a squat suit, I put up the most weight with a wide stance and really sit back as I go down. Now if I go raw, I have to bring the stance in and squat more down than out to put up big weight.

If you are wearing gear- go wide, if not, a more narrow stance is beneficial.

my opinion,
meat

http://www.styrkeloft.org/galleri/filer/2007/nm2007/NM%2007%20137_renamed_4853.jpg

Singel-Ply, lifetime drug fri, 400kg squat… and no, not very wide. If you look at the people refered to as “all powerlifters” and judging lately… well, shallow squats is more the rule than the exeption… Maybe their stance is too wide? :wink:

[quote]maraudermeat wrote:
Hanley wrote:
The sit back wide stance is their method of choice because it allows them to get the most out of their gear.

I’ve been reading through this thread and this, in my opinion, is why the wide stance is used mostly in powerlifting. I know that if I put on a squat suit, I put up the most weight with a wide stance and really sit back as I go down. Now if I go raw, I have to bring the stance in and squat more down than out to put up big weight.

If you are wearing gear- go wide, if not, a more narrow stance is beneficial.

my opinion,
meat [/quote]

If only it were that simple.