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Old 02-14-2011, 06:30 AM   #1
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Default Powerlifting Squat Stance Question

I have always squatted as per the instruction in Starting Strength, Ie shoulder width or just wider and down below parallel as far as posible.

However with powerlifters they seem to have a much wider stance. i have re-read SS and it says that a wider stance will let you lift more as it 'takes the quads out of it a bit'... I always thought though that the quads were the target with squats. Just seems a bit conflicting and i am curious.

Does any one know why you can lift more with a wider stance, or is it just how the guys that use squat suits and stuff do it ???

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Old 02-14-2011, 08:53 AM   #2
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Wide stance is more posterior chain, and harder to go deep. It's also harder on the hips, and on the hammies (for me).

A wider stance shortens the range of motion of the squat.

I'm no expert on wide stance squats, but from my understand the above reason is why it is generally used.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:14 PM   #3
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Basically, it is used because of the shorter ROM. That's it.

The technicalities of the variation is that you have greater forward lean and more stress on the Glutes and hip muscles than the Quads. For some, this means a big increase in their Squat numbers.

For others (like myself) the variation is not preferred. I found a wide-stance PLing style Squat to put too much strain on my lower back; decreasing the amount of Squatting I could do on a given day. In addition, my poundages were actually greater when Squatting with a narrower stance (my stance is usually shoulder width or slightly wider). I am also of the belief, perhaps unfounded, that a narrower stance will give me better carry-over to my pulls.

I'm thinking that it's up to each lifter to decide which stance is better for him.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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For others (like myself) the variation is not preferred.

I'm thinking that it's up to each lifter to decide which stance is better for him.
I agree. My wide stance numbers suck, as does my wide stance depth.

I generally recommend staying with a Rippetoe-esque width until you have spent a couple years progressing. There is really no need to widen a squat until you have built some core strength, in my opinion.

This is merely my personal preference for those looking to build a strong squat.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:48 PM   #5
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while the ROM may be shortened with a wider stance, that is not in fact the sole reason for using a wide stance squat.

The muscles of the posterior chain are generally larger and have greater potential for strength. A wider stance squat allows you to more fully utilize the large muscles of the hamstrings, glutes and lower back in the lift.

Now, most people have serious weaknesses in their posterior chain and are quad dominant, requiring a lot of retraining in order to take advantage of the more powerful prime movers used in a wide stance squat.

Squat suits happen to also work best when using a wider stance as they support the hips better, and a wider stance stretches the seams further.

Talk of targetting a muscle is less about powerlifting and more about bodybuilding, as the target of squatting in powerlifting is to squat more weight.

Now all that being said, there are limitations to wide stance squats. Hip mobility/flexibility is huge, as is ankle flexibility (greater dorsiflexion allows greater depth). If you are unable to open and keep open the hip during the squat you'll shoot forward and dump or GM the weight, reducing your ability to squat big numbers. If you are quad dominant/hamstring weak you won't be able to sit back into the squat and support the weight/maintain balance in a wider stance.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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True; ROM isn't the only reason.

I started off very posterior chain dominant at first. It's taken a while for my Quads to catch up to my Glutes and Hammies.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:27 AM   #7
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It also depends whether you're squatting in gear or not.

A raw squatter will typically take a more narrow stance than a geared lifter. If you tried to sumo squat raw, you'd create some bad problems really fast.

Can't go wrong with shoulder width or a little wider...but not too much wider.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneezingstardust View Post
It also depends whether you're squatting in gear or not.

A raw squatter will typically take a more narrow stance than a geared lifter. If you tried to sumo squat raw, you'd create some bad problems really fast.

Can't go wrong with shoulder width or a little wider...but not too much wider.
a raw squatter will likely not do well going post to post, aka max width in a monolift.

But shoulder width or a little wider is still a pretty narrow stance in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carl1174 View Post
I always thought though that the quads were the target with squats. Just seems a bit conflicting and i am curious.
You're applying a bodybuilding mentality to powerlifting. Powerlifters don't care if it takes the quads out of it if they lift more weight with a wide stance. The goal of powerlifting isn't to target anything but to lift more weight. That's all that matters for a powerlifter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl1174 View Post
Does any one know why you can lift more with a wider stance, or is it just how the guys that use squat suits and stuff do it ???
You'll get more out of a suit if you squat wide. Not that I squat all that wide, but I don't try to go wide raw, it kills my hips.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Isaku900 View Post
a raw squatter will likely not do well going post to post, aka max width in a monolift.

But shoulder width or a little wider is still a pretty narrow stance in the grand scheme of things.
True I suppose, compared to some lifters. For me, anything past shoulder width feels wide.
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