The Proper Stance For Squats

Finding the correct stance for your squat will allow you to build a base of strength in one of the fundamental movement patterns done in the weight room. It’s important to take your time and find what works best for you.

4 min read
Sean's profile
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
19/01/23
Last updated
19/01/23
In This Resource
  • Types of Squat
  • The Proper Stance For Your Squat
  • Footwear - Bearfoot, Flat Shoes or Weightlifting Shoes
  • The Width of The Feet
  • The Importance of Toe Positioning
  • Knee Position - Keep the Knees Over The Toes as You Squat
  • Remember There Will Be Variation
  • Dealing With Mobility Restrictions
  • Using Box Squats For Mobility Restrictions

Types of Squat

Let’s have a look through a few different variations of the squat to get a grasp for types of equipment that can be used to squat with.

The Proper Stance For Your Squat

Footwear - Bearfoot, Flat Shoes or Weightlifting Shoes

Start with the feet flat on the floor. Grip the floor with the toes and ensure the full foot stays flat on the floor throughout. Bear foot, flat shoes (nike met cons, or other Crossfit style “fitness” shoes) or weightlifting shoes work great. These three options will allow you to keep the feet flat on the floor without much movement. If you use running shoes or shoes with a non-solid heel, you will find it difficult to not move the feet throughout the squat.

The Width of The Feet

This is the most important part of selecting your squat stance. It is usually just slightly wider than hip width. It’s important to try out different positions and see what works for you. What works for you, I mean are you able to perform the movement comfortably with good technique? This might take multiple iterations of feet width

The Importance of Toe Positioning

The toe will be slightly turned out from 20% to 30%, again this will be up to you to find the position which works best, what suits your morphology and you’re most comfortable with. Having the toes too wide will make it impossible to keep the knees in the correct position so make sure you’re paying a lot of attention to the toe positioning.

Knee Position - Keep the Knees Over The Toes as You Squat

The knee needs to stay in line with the toes to avoid rotational forces being pressed into the knee. If the knee caves in or is forced out it will put unwanted rotational forces through the knee. If you’re able to keep the knee over the toe as you squat and feel like your in a comfortable position then you’re likely in the proper squatting stance you can use for your training.

Remember There Will Be Variation

People have different morphologies and therefore it’s normal if people have different squatting stances. Do not base your squatting style of another persons, you need to find what works best for you, not another person with different morphology. Use the principles that make up a perfect squat stance and not copy and paste from someone else.

Dealing With Mobility Restrictions

It’s normal if you’re learning to squat that you’ll be dealing with mobility restrictions especially if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle. This should not effect the stance you chose to perform the squat, but may effect the depth and the exercise selection while you’re learning to squat.

Using Box Squats For Mobility Restrictions

Box squats can be a great way to get squatting work in while progressively working on mobility restrictions. The key is to progressively lower the box as your hip and lower back mobility gets better and better. The counter balance box squat seen below is for those who have serious mobility restrictions, but this could be done with a dumbbell or a goblet squat for those who feel comfortable but still want to progressively improve their mobility.

If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below, or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle. This resource was written by Sean Richard Klein. Sean has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

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