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Old 22-Dec-06, 08:57 AM   #1
gcs118
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Getting into the squatting stance

I noticed this yesterday when doing my squat sets, a slight strain in one of my hips, most likely from stretching a leg too far to get into position. I squat with my feet touching the sides of the power rack. I lift off the weight however with close feet, walk it back a couple steps, then spread my feet wide one at a time. Is there an easier way to get into position? I was thinking instead of big step left, big step right, just do little step left, right, left, right until I'm set up. Just looking for any suggestions.
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Old 22-Dec-06, 09:44 AM   #2
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id say depending on the weight go with several small steps, also dont know size of your rack but that would seem like a really wide stance. do you take your thighs parallel or you squat really deep?..i go with a couple inches more then past my shoulders and turn toes outward to squat real deep and keep heels on floor.
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Old 22-Dec-06, 09:55 AM   #3
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gcs, I used to squat this wide and I believe you are better off taking one step back, then several smaller steps to get your legs the required width. Almost like shuffling your feet outward. This way is easier to control the weight and will allow you to "recover" faster if you feel yourself starting to buckle. The bad thing about this kind of setup is you will waste a fair bit of energy getting yourself into position.

That being said, I recently switched to a stance similar to what Jeffery was describing. Feet a little wider than shoulder width, toes pointed slightly outward. I found I was having difficulty hitting my depth with the wider stance and narrowing it up a bit really helped me, and it only takes me about 2 seconds from when I unrack until I'm ready to squat..........something to think about.
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Old 22-Dec-06, 12:44 PM   #4
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I used to squat wide and then my hip started bothering me so I decided to play it safe and move my feet in

Luckily I'm a football player and not a powerlifter because my max (and my pride) took a pretty big hit from this
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Old 24-Dec-06, 12:38 PM   #5
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I'll have to give the small steps/shuffling idea a try next time I squat. I used to squat with a narrow stance, but after watching the videos, it was very difficult to keep my shins perpendicular to the floor (future knee problems can result). With the wider stance, I can use more hamstrings/ass/core muscles and not so much strain on the knees. I need to rebuild my hamstrings from the injury awhile ago and I like PLing set up for the most weight. I'll have to let you guys know how the set up goes next week, might play around with width a bit but not too much, can't throw off progress! lol thanks for the tips fellas
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Old 24-Dec-06, 02:11 PM   #6
.V.
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Greg, you know how I believe in wide squatting to work those glutes/hams and get the numbers up.

But, with your hamstring history it may be wise to consult with an exercise physiologist to see if you should actually be going wide and having more hammy involved in the lift or take them back to what F-Mac described and going deeper with less glutes/hams and more quads.

Sometimes, we have to workout with a goal of injury prevention. Not fun, but necessary at times.
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Old 24-Dec-06, 04:55 PM   #7
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I had been taking my squatting cautiously for a few months, and now that I have experienced no pain in the injury area, I feel like I'm ready to start to really push hard again. I took nearly 1.5 years off of hamstring work altogether. Believe me, at the first sign of familiar pain, I will stop squatting, regardless of width. So far, wide squats have been great and I enjoy them, I've never gone this wide before. As long as I can safely get into position, I will continue, but if I still feel a little tweak from getting into the wide stance, then I'll be forced to narrow it up. I do appreciate your concern though Andy, I've put much more thought into my training because of the injury.
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Old 24-Dec-06, 05:03 PM   #8
.V.
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Well, I really love the wide because of how they hit the glutes and hams. I'm just not able to do them myself right now because of my hips. I was just thinking of how the hams are recruited into the lift when you are wide and remembered your hammy problems of the past.

Maybe MostMuscle will chime in and tell us if going wide to recruit more hammy involvement will strengthen them up and "cure" your old problems, keeping them from returning.
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Old 28-Dec-06, 12:01 PM   #9
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Update...today I think I found what works best for me. I still lift the weight off with close feet, but as I walk it back a couple steps, I widen my stance at the same time. When I am in place, my feet are already 1/2 way where they need to be. A couple small steps to the sides now and I'm ready to squat. Very easy and not time consuming. I'm glad no more hip strain from those reaching strides
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Old 28-Dec-06, 12:10 PM   #10
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Really wide stance squatting is very stressful to the hips. I don't mean that in a good way either. Our legs just don't like to bend that way. Might be an alright exercise to do once in a while, but it's definitely not something I would go real heavy with.
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Old 28-Dec-06, 12:49 PM   #11
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I'm going as wide as the power rack lets me, which I wouldn't call ultra wide. It's wider than what I am used to though. I'm sure you are familiar with the squat/power racks...you think that is going too wide for PLing?
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Old 28-Dec-06, 01:13 PM   #12
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Most of my hip aches and pains have been non-existant since switching to a slightly wider than shoulder-width stance. I find it a lot easier to get below parallel this way too.
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Old 28-Dec-06, 03:35 PM   #13
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I used to squat pretty close and was told it was hard on the knees, now I guess too wide is bad on the hips. lol I need the happy medium. My feet are no more than 12-14 inches from my shoulders on either side. I don't think I'm going too wide.

My original question had to do with getting into position, as I balanced on one leg to reach the other to the side. This put strain on the hip, not the actual squat motion. Today I had no hip pain whatsoever when I squatted.
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Old 29-Dec-06, 07:58 AM   #14
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For powerlifting, yeah, a really wide stance might help put a few more pounds on your total but I think a lot of that has to do with gear and the fact that you are essentially "bottoming out" at parallel. You can't go much lower than parallel with a really wide stance, and yes, I consider what you're describing really wide.

The proper way to squat (and I'm not referring to a competitive lift, but biomechanically) will be a little different for everyone, but generally speaking, the stance will be just wider than shoulder width, the feet will angle out slightly and the knees will point in the same direction as the toes throughout the entire motion. The knees should not travel too far past the toes and the weight should be on the heels, or balanced between the heel or the ball of your foot - you should be able to wiggle your toes at any point. The back should stay as strait and as upright as possible. Squatting is actually GOOD for your knees when you stick to the above.

Though again, everybody's form will look a little different and this is one of those cases that you have to figure out for yourself. I teach my highschool kids to find their stance by sitting down into a full squat and getting comfortable. They all squat with me while and I go through the same spiel as above while sitting in a full squat. I have them shuffle their feet and wiggle their toes until the find their sweet spot, then we do bodyweight squats ad nauseam.
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Old 29-Dec-06, 09:37 AM   #15
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I originally decided to go wider because I have trouble keeping my shins perpendicular when I am closer. It seems only when I go wider can I push off my heel and keep my knees from really moving forward. I have old videos of myself and with closer stance my knees are always at the tip of my toes or slightly past. I know for a fact I couldn't push solely off my heels in the closer stance. You're right about parallel, it's difficult at 135 to reach it, but once I get past 225 it starts to help push me past parallel a bit. I might shorten my stance by an inch or two each side next time to play around still, but so far I've been happy with the results from the wider stance squats.
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