Well it depends…
This is not something we like to hear as people. We always like to have a clear black and white answer but when it comes to most things that is not what you are gonna get. Especially when it comes to training and technique.
Squats are not one size fits all
This is hard for people to digest sometimes. The problem I find is that within training we have so many specialties coming together claiming that their specific variation is the best.
We have the powerlifters saying one stance is best. We have the olympic weightlifting community claiming their variation is best. Then we have the CrossFit and Mobility gurus claiming their variation is best too.
What is important to consider is that the same way we are not all built the same. The same especially goes for our hips, femur, and knees. Everybody should not squat a certain way. They should simply squat “A Way” that is best and most beneficial for them.
Types of Squat Stances
Squat stances vary significantly depending on your mobility and stability. Here are some stances you may see from time to time.
- Wide Stance Toes Forward
- Wide Stance Toes Turned Out
- Narrow Stance Toes Forward
- Narrow Stance Toes Tuned Out
Each stance is gonna be uniquely optimum depending on who is performing them. I find that when a client has a great deal of range of motion in their hips and adequate ankle dorsiflexion that Option #1 works great as long as they keep their knee out to maintain torque in their hips.
On the same set if an athletes ankles are a bit tighter the wide stance with toes out method works extremely well in most cases to get them into a great position while they work on their ankle flexion.
I find the narrow stances work well for clients with great hip mobility and short femurs. Reserving the toe out for those with tight ankles again here.
As you can see from those explanations, not all squats are the same, not all human bodies are the same size, why should your squat set up be the same?
How to customize your squat
I think it is important to remember that your squat should fit you. The question should be…. Are you moving safely? Do you feel pain? Are you able to create the proper torque through your hips and tightest in your core/trunk through the entire range of motion?
Can you keep your Chest/Torso vertical throughout the entire squat? Can you keep the weight evenly distributed throughout the entire foot? Ask these questions to yourself and try these stances throughout.
Find what is best for you and don’t try to fit into “The Squat This Way Only” box!