In the second information post of the ADVANCED block I keep giving out additional information on base exercises making the foundation of 100 Days WorkOut programme. And I think you have already found out what I will be discussing now from the subject of the post
Well, now we are going to talk about squats. This exercise is the key for training the lower body, but very few try to make variations of it. While our legs have several muscle groups and they all can be worked only by combining difference stances and feet positions. That is what I am going to discuss today.
First of all, no matter what stance or variation you use, you have to do squats with proper form. Do not forget that the whole body should be tense, you look straight ahead, the chest is leaned forward. The depth of the squat is what you decide on yourselves, to 90 degrees or lower but when you straighten up do not lock your knees, it can be harmful and the intensity of the exercise suffers because the muscles involved are getting relaxed for a moment.
Secondly, the standard stance supposes that the feet are at shoulder width, give or take, and are parallel to each other. This is the initial stance from which we will deviate some. With this stance quads are loaded evenly and that is fine. If you want to shift the stress then let's start with changing feet position. If you point your toes inward then you will move the stress onto exterior muscles. If you point your toes outward, you will stress the interior muscles. If you point toes more outward completely then you will use interior muscles. Please do not think that there are only three feet positions (parallel, inward, outward), on the contrary, you have a whole range of positions, with moving through the, you can change ther amount of stress on different muscles.
Thirdly, let's talk about the leg position. Depending on the width of the stance you can change stress from exterior quads to interior quads as well as moving stress from glutes to quads. With a shoulder width the stress is spread evenly but the wider the stance the more you stress glutes and less quads. The same principle applies to narrowing the stance. The narrow the stance the more load is on the quads. The best case scenario for quads when you feet are set together. Although it is hard to do squats in this position but you can you a smooth wall for help as it is shown in the picture below:
Put your feet together and try doing squats like this. Use the wall only for support and put as much weight as possible on legs to maximise the effect.
Finally, let's talk about pistol squats or pistols. I really think that pistol squats are very hard and not very effective for muscle growing. You have to keep your balance on one foot and that can be an issue. It is hard to make pistol squats intensive because of the need to keep balance and it reduces the stress on muscles. If you want to eliminate imbalances between legs you'd rather do lunges.
That is all for today, do squats, train your legs because you can build a house only on a good foundation! Should any questions arise do not be afraid to post them.