How to Find Your Optimal Squat Stance
Now that you understand the ins and outs of squat depth after reading the previous article (insert link for squat depth), you are ready to fine tune your squat. Finding your optimal squat stance will allow you to maximize your squat depth while minimizing the stress on your joints.
Your ideal squat stance is unique to your anatomy. Without going into too much detail, the structure of your hip joint socket and your femur (thigh) bone will dictate what stance will work best for you. This means that some people will do better with a narrow stance with toes pointed straight ahead, while others will benefit from a wider stance with toes turned out more.
Standard Squat Stance
Unfortunately there are trainers and physio out there who force feed this stance on everyone. 50% of the time, it works every time! All kidding aside, if you are unsure about where your squat stance is, this is a fair starting off point.
- insert video for standard squat stance
- Inside of heels lined up with shoulder joint
- Toes angled out 10 degrees
Adjusting from the Standard Squat Stance
If the standard squat stance feels painful/uncomfortable/unnatural, then you’ll want to adjust. Another reason to play with your squat stance is to determine if a different stance will allow you to squat lower while keeping a neutral spine (avoiding the butt wink). You have two options for adjustments, moving your stance wider or narrower. This will involve a bit of trial and error.
- insert video for wider squat stance
- Move feet out at ~ 2 cm (1 inch) increments
- As you widen your stance, you will want to increase the amount of toe out position
- For every increment you move your stance wider, you’ll want to increase your toe angle by 5 degrees or so
-insert video for narrower stance
- Here you will likely only be able to adjust inwards one or two increments starting from the standard squat stance
- As you move your feet narrower, you’ll want to decrease your toe angle by 5 degrees per increment (essentially end up with toes pointing straight ahead)
- You generally will not want to have your toes angled inwards
It will be useful to watch your lower back from a side view (or shoot a video) and determine what depth you get to before you collapse into the butt wink as you make these adjustments. The stance that allows you to go the lowest before your lower back rounds is your ideal stance. It is also worthwhile to pay attention to the feel of each stance adjustment as you’ll want to go with the one that feels the most comfortable/natural.
Want to improve you squat depth? Check out this simple drill!
- insert link to improving squat depth