So you’ve been lifting for years now, and you have finally been shamed into adding a leg day into your programming. Or you were on the wagon from day 1, and you’ve been squatting and now you’re at the point where you need to make decisions to fine tune the squat. Low bar versus high bar, parallel versus A2G, etc. One could waste a lifetime parsing over the finer points of a squat. You will inevitably question the width of your stance, as that dude on the next rack over is crushing your hopes and dreams. And his stance is way wider, so its probably the stance that is the root of your feeble legs. Then you get on YouTube and the bro forums, and you see enough conflicting information to make you go back to never lifting legs.
Like any matter of strength training, questions can fall into 3 general categories.
Category 1 – Universal truths, the answer is the same for everyone (barring actual injury or handicap). Example: “Do I really need to squat? Or will leg press and calf raises work just as well?” Answer: “[blank stare]”
Category 2 – Answers that are guided by a universal set of principles, those principles apply to everyone the same, but the results might differ from person to person. Example: “Should my knees not extend past my toes when I squat?” Answer: “Depending on your limb lengths, mobility….. but as long as your knees track over your toes and the bar remains over mid-foot!”
Category 3 – The answer can only be found within. And it will be unique to you. Which brings us to today’s example:
“HOW WIDE SHOULD MY STANCE BE WHEN I SQUAT?”
That answer depends entirely on the structure of your pelvis and hips. Mainly the femoral head and neck and how they sit in your hips. Being that this is a matter of bone, and no amount of stretching or mobility will change this, you should definitely spend time becoming familiar with how your own hips move within the joint.
A Bro Science 101 method I subscribe to is what I like to call the waddle test. Stand at attention, with glutes flexed. Looking at the wall in front of you (NOT a mirror) begin rocking side to side, leaning far enough to let one foot off the ground with each sway. Your feet will naturally begin to move outward. And after a few iterations of this, you’ll notice your feet stop moving outward and settle into a position. I am convinced this will be the ideal position for 90% of squatters.
However, such is the world of fitness, there are a million ideas. And they all work for someone, and they all definitely don’t work for someone else. So here’s some food for thought.
Squat School | Hip Structure and Squat Technique (from Juggernaut Training Systems)
How To Find Your Optimal Squat Stance | Determined By Boney Anatomy (from GuerillaZen Fitness)
How to Assess Your Hip Anatomy with Craig’s Test (from Squat University)
Best Squat Stance (SURPRISING ANSWER!) (from Athlean-X)
Squat Secret! – How to Find Your Natural Squat Stance (from Mind Pump TV)