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TPT
07-09-2009, 01:18 AM
many of us consider using back squats for preferential activation of quads, hams, and glutes. to achieve this we might use different loads, foot angles, stance width, etc.

well paoli et al. (2009) studied the effects of specific stance width and loads on different muscles of the thigh. six experience trainees performed squats at 3 different stance widths and 3 different loads. the 3 stances were narrow (hip width), wide (double the hip width), and "in-between." the 3 loads were 0, 30% 1 rep max, and 70% 1 rep max.

interestingly, the results showed that the only significant difference in emg muscle activation was for glute max with increases in stance width and loads. so their were no differences in emg activation for other muscles with different stances.

we might use a narrow stance thinking quads or medial quads are activated more. when in fact we might be just training all the muscles of the thigh equally the same during back squats.

so for those who care about glute hypertrophy, do some back squats with a wide stance.

do you guys change your foot positions, stance widths or range of motion to stress different muscles during squats?

Abstract:
Paoli, A, Marcolin, G, and Petrone, N. The effect of stance width on the electromyographical activity of eight superficial thigh muscles during back squat with different bar loads. J Strength Cond Res 23(1): 246-250, 2009-Many strength trainers believe that varying the stance width during the back squat can target specific muscles of the thigh. The aim of the present work was to test this theory measuring the activation of 8 thigh muscles while performing back squats at 3 stance widths and with 3 different bar loads. Six experienced lifters performed 3 sets of 10 repetitions of squats, each one with a different stance width, using 3 resistances: no load, 30% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM), and 70% 1RM. Sets were separated by 6 minutes of rest. Electromyographic (EMG) surface electrodes were placed on the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, semitendinosus, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, gluteus medium, and adductor maior. Analysis of variance and Scheffe post hoc tests indicated a significant difference in EMG activity only for the gluteus maximus; in particular, there was a higher electrical activity of this muscle when back squats were performed at the maximum stance widths at 0 and 70% 1RM. There were no significant differences concerning the EMG activity of the other analyzed muscles. These findings suggest that a large width is necessary for a greater activation of the gluteus maximus during back squats.
(C) 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association

Go to Full Text of this Article (http://forums.rxmuscle.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2009/01000/The_Effect_of_Stance_Width_on_the.36.aspx)

Frosty
07-09-2009, 01:38 AM
I almost totally avoid wide stance. I have big enough glutes as it is :( I change things up by doing front squats, back squats, and I might vary the width a LITTLE but still relatively narrow, and sometimes I might elevate my heels or go bare foot.

TPT
07-11-2009, 03:40 PM
yeah it does develop glutes a lot. pre-mr. o ronnie- people used to care more of not developing glutes more. people might not prefer a narrow stance because they cant generate the same amout of forces that a wider stance provides.

freak
07-11-2009, 05:48 PM
i do close foot position and wide food position on the leg press and you can deffinately feel the increased glute, hamstring and inner thigh activation with the wide foot position... although the inner-thigh and hamstring activation could be because i have to have my feet higher on the platform to perform the wide foot position.

Ninja Loco
07-11-2009, 05:55 PM
do you guys change your foot positions, stance widths or range of motion to stress different muscles during squats?


Once again, PT, great find.

I change my foot position even during the exercise because I cant ever find a comfortable stance. And yes, I do need more ass, LOL.

TPT
07-11-2009, 06:28 PM
i do close foot position and wide food position on the leg press and you can deffinately feel the increased glute, hamstring and inner thigh activation with the wide foot position... although the inner-thigh and hamstring activation could be because i have to have my feet higher on the platform to perform the wide foot position.


yes, positioning your feet higher up on the platform does stress glute max more because of the increased range of hip flexion. most of get more hip flexion range once we externally rotate and abduct our hips. you'll notice that the fibers of glute max lateralize distally as well in accordance.

TPT
07-11-2009, 06:30 PM
Once again, PT, great find.

I change my foot position even during the exercise because I cant ever find a comfortable stance. And yes, I do need more ass, LOL.


lol. ninja, i know you have your girls performing wide stance squats and leg presses.

Frosty
07-12-2009, 03:37 AM
yeah it does develop glutes a lot. pre-mr. o ronnie- people used to care more of not developing glutes more. people might not prefer a narrow stance because they cant generate the same amout of forces that a wider stance provides.

I've never squatted or deadlifted well with a wide stance. I've never been able to dead as much sumo as with a traditional stance even when i trained it hard. Same for squats. My best total ass to grass squat was 360 for 2 but I only ever was able to get a 340 max with a wide stance to parallel!! Might just be my structure? I have short legs and a long torso.

Ninja Loco
07-12-2009, 07:08 AM
lol. ninja, i know you have your girls performing wide stance squats and leg presses.
LOL, actually I let them find their spot. But I always start wide, then let them play around with it. Not Sumo wide, just past the shoulders.

Yolo
07-12-2009, 07:45 AM
I generally use a wider stance simply because it allows me to go deeper with less discomfort (when I say wider I'm thinking along the lines of what Ninja said, definetly not sumo)

Frosty
07-13-2009, 09:35 PM
I generally use a wider stance simply because it allows me to go deeper with less discomfort (when I say wider I'm thinking along the lines of what Ninja said, definetly not sumo)

That's funny because I go narrower so I can go deeper easier... :)

Yolo
07-14-2009, 07:40 AM
That's funny because I go narrower so I can go deeper easier... :)

Lol, different strokes I guess... I have real bad ankle mobility so if I go ass to grass with my feet closer my heels rise off the floor and I end up squatting on my toes.

Frosty
07-14-2009, 12:39 PM
Lol, different strokes I guess... I have real bad ankle mobility so if I go ass to grass with my feet closer my heels rise off the floor and I end up squatting on my toes.


So I guess I have good ankle mobility and poor hip mobility. I squat narrow well below parallel barefoot without my heels even feeling like they're coming up. Squatting deep with a wider stance makes it feel like my hip joints are gonna rip off and bust up my knees.

TPT
07-14-2009, 07:53 PM
most men have tight hamstrings or glutes and consequently uncomfortable squating with a narrow width (i.e., hip width or less). make sure to stretch hams and glutes for optimal performance.

tensor fascia lata and the illiotibial band attach to glute max to assist in externally rotating the hip. thus, we usually are more comfortable slightly turning our feet out.

also, soleus is sometimes tight when our heels rise up during descent of squating.

Frosty
07-14-2009, 08:22 PM
most men have tight hamstrings or glutes and consequently uncomfortable squating with a narrow width (i.e., hip width or less). make sure to stretch hams and glutes for optimal performance.

tensor fascia lata and the illiotibial band attach to glute max to assist in externally rotating the hip. thus, we usually are more comfortable slightly turning our feet out.

also, soleus is sometimes tight when our heels rise up during descent of squating.

So is it my adductors that are tight? I always felt like my entire posterior fascia was tight or something because with locked knees I can hardly touch my toes and I feel it entirely in my calves....but my ankles don't raise up nor is it a straight on my ankles when I squat super deep with a narrow stance.

Maybe this might help to diagnose...I squat with better form if I do a toe-touch stretch and a sumo stance squat stretch (where I try to go as deep as possible and hold the stretch). Otherwise something pulls on my hips funny and it can hurt my lower back in the very bottom position of the squat.

The muscles that get sore when I back squat, in order of soreness, are quads>adductors>glutes.

TPT
07-14-2009, 08:38 PM
So is it my adductors that are tight? I always felt like my entire posterior fascia was tight or something because with locked knees I can hardly touch my toes and I feel it entirely in my calves....but my ankles don't raise up nor is it a straight on my ankles when I squat super deep with a narrow stance.

Maybe this might help to diagnose...I squat with better form if I do a toe-touch stretch and a sumo stance squat stretch (where I try to go as deep as possible and hold the stretch). Otherwise something pulls on my hips funny and it can hurt my lower back in the very bottom position of the squat.

The muscles that get sore when I back squat, in order of soreness, are quads>adductors>glutes.


you got some tightass gasctrocs!

but of course we can still selectively check the flexibility of your the muscles of your legs. assess them.

Frosty
07-14-2009, 08:45 PM
you got some tightass gasctrocs!

but of course we can still selectively check the flexibility of your the muscles of your legs. assess them.


What are good tests?

If I try to do a split I end up about about a foot away from touching the ground. A split with one leg back and the other forward I can damn near do a full one. If I sit and put a leg out and reach forward I can touch my nose to my knee pretty easily. I just tried the knees locked toe touch and I was able to touch the ground lol. If I squat really deep with a shoulder width or slightly wider it feels like my knees are gonna get messed up and my hips are gonna rip off. I have to contort to try to stretch my quads well using hip extension and knee flexion.

TPT
07-14-2009, 09:26 PM
What are good tests?

If I try to do a split I end up about about a foot away from touching the ground. A split with one leg back and the other forward I can damn near do a full one. If I sit and put a leg out and reach forward I can touch my nose to my knee pretty easily. I just tried the knees locked toe touch and I was able to touch the ground lol. If I squat really deep with a shoulder width or slightly wider it feels like my knees are gonna get messed up and my hips are gonna rip off. I have to contort to try to stretch my quads well using hip extension and knee flexion.



this is it:

definantly stretch gastroc.
with your left knee locked (extended knee, dorsiflexed ankle), lean forward on a wall and take a step forward with your right leg (i.e., neutral ankle, flexed knee, flexed hip),
you should feel a pull on the left calf.

definantly stretch quads and rectus fem. there are numerous ways.

for quads, all you need is to flex your knee.
but do it with you hip flexed and at neutral.

for rectus femoris, flex your knee and extend you hip.

you should feel better after stretching these three muscles.

Frosty
07-14-2009, 11:18 PM
Okay headed to the gym to squat...I will let you know how the stretches help. Thanks!

TPT
07-14-2009, 11:32 PM
Okay headed to the gym to squat...I will let you know how the stretches help. Thanks!


cool. let us know.

Frosty
07-15-2009, 01:40 AM
Hmm, interesting. The gastroc stretch was brutal...I wonder why they're so tight. Maybe because I tend to walk on the balls of my feet rather than heels?

But anyway, did the stretches plus my normal and I was able to do 20 lbs heavier than last week with excellent form... :) It's like getting the muscles in right shape for good form is letting me use the strength I have. I was doing 205 for sets of 6 for high bar ATG squats and did 225 tonight. Not bad especially considering I'm cutting with low calories.

Thanks again, The Rapist (haha sorry I always read your name like that in a Sean Connery voice) :)

TPT
07-15-2009, 01:13 PM
Hmm, interesting. The gastroc stretch was brutal...I wonder why they're so tight. Maybe because I tend to walk on the balls of my feet rather than heels?

But anyway, did the stretches plus my normal and I was able to do 20 lbs heavier than last week with excellent form... :) It's like getting the muscles in right shape for good form is letting me use the strength I have. I was doing 205 for sets of 6 for high bar ATG squats and did 225 tonight. Not bad especially considering I'm cutting with low calories.

Thanks again, The Rapist (haha sorry I always read your name like that in a Sean Connery voice) :)


lol. damn why i gotta be the rapist.

anyway, the information you gave previously suggested tight gastrocs. remember its a two joint muscle.
so when you descend during squats gastroc "slackens" while soleus lengthens.

great stuff on the lifts!

Frosty
07-15-2009, 05:26 PM
Okay, so quick question about something I don't understand.

How would a tight gastroc affect squats if they shorten during the lift?

Klaus Urine
07-15-2009, 06:37 PM
Thanks again, The Rapist (haha sorry I always read your name like that in a Sean Connery voice) :)Haha

TPT
07-15-2009, 10:19 PM
Okay, so quick question about something I don't understand.

How would a tight gastroc affect squats if they shorten during the lift?


good question. lets analyze gastroc while squating with a large external load.

during descent, gastroc contracts eccentrically to slowly decelerate ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion. gastoc is an antagonist to anterior tib so that deceleration and shortening is optimal. also, as gastroc "slackens" (at the knee) quads contracts eccentrically as well.

now if gastroc is tight, eccentric control is not optimal. e.g., your tight gastrocs will pull on the knee to flex while other muscles including quads will have to compensate eccentrically as you descend.

during ascent, gastroc contracts concentrically to plantarflex the ankle and extend the knee.

now if gastoc is tight, concentric control is not optimal as well. e.g, your tight gastroc will pull at either the anke or the knee. if it pulls too much flexion of the knee is set up and reduces what we want- knee extension.

Frosty
07-15-2009, 11:22 PM
Very cool. Thanks for the explanation, and it works so I'm gonna keep up with it. Perhaps I need to really do hard work on my gastroc to increase the flexibility since that seems to be one of the worst offenders.

Frosty
07-22-2009, 07:34 PM
Added another 10 lbs to my squat this week using the stretches! :D

TPT
07-22-2009, 07:55 PM
Added another 10 lbs to my squat this week using the stretches! :D


great stuff. dont forget- if necessary stretch gastroc and soleus separately.

i have an asymmetry in my lowers and its most overt in my left ankle dorsiflexion. so ive been stretching gastroc as well.

Frosty
07-22-2009, 08:05 PM
I don't really think my soleus is an issue. I squat barefoot with a close stance and I never have any tight feeling in the hole or have my heels feel like they're going to come up.

TPT
07-22-2009, 08:23 PM
I don't really think my soleus is an issue. I squat barefoot with a close stance and I never have any tight feeling in the hole or have my heels feel like they're going to come up.


good for you, not for me. i got issues with both muscles.

strange how asymmetries can occur without you even knowing.