Squats, widely regarded as the king of exercises, are, without a doubt one of the most effective full-body exercises. We’ve all been squatting ever since we were toddlers, picking up stuff from the ground, sitting down on benches or chairs in the classroom, at workplaces and more. In the West we lose a lot of natural squatting ability due to an over-reliance on chairs for years where our knees don’t get to move much beyond 90-degrees. Big mistake. When we squat, we incorporate not only our entire leg musculature but our core, back, hip and glutes as well. Want to get more out of this most empowering of exercises? Then read on for 3 Squat-Widths that Will Help You Build Stronger Legs!
In order to derive the full benefits of this exercise, you can alter your feet placement and the width between them (stance) to target different parts of your muscles.
3 Squat Widths
With these, you can experiment and target your leg muscles in various ways.
1. Medium (or Shoulder) Width Stance
This squat width is the most common stance that is used when squatting. Feet are placed shoulder-width apart, with toes pointing slightly outwards with hips opened up.
When you squat down, push your hip and butt down, keep your core tight without rounding the back. Your knees will probably be in neat alignment or behind your toes when you reach maximum depth.
Your centre of gravity and weight will be on the back of your foot, close to the heel. Sometimes you might find your toes coming up when you squat in this orthodox stance.
Also as the weight is placed on the back of the foot, the glutes and hamstring muscles are recruited along with the quadriceps.
2. Wide Stance (aka the Sumo Squat)
With the wide stance squat (or sumo squat), your legs are much further than shoulder width stance. But it is similar to the regular stance in that the hips and hamstrings are worked intensively as you drive up. Your inner thigh and glute muscles are also more heavily recruited.
3. Narrow-Width Stance
In this stance, the feet are kept very close to each other whilst the toes are pointed straight out in front. Unlike the medium and wide stance, your knees will likely travel ahead of your toes as the weight carried shifts more towards the front of your feet. You’ll feel your quadriceps muscles working more whilst less on your hamstring.