How To Do Close Stance Squats Properly

Close Stance Squats or Narrow Stance Squats is a squatting variation that really puts to work the leg muscles and increases leg hypertrophy.

It has less focus on the hips thus focusing more on the leg muscles and knee joint stability.

Anywhere you hear about squats, you know the butt is getting its fix on. The gluteus maximus is one of the muscles activated and developed during the exercise that helps keep a well-formed and strong gluteus maximus.

HOW TO DO CLOSE STANCE SQUATS PROPERLY

There are quite a number of variations for this exercise, so we will use a barbell to work out. Remember to use weights that best match your fitness ability or better still, begin with a weightless barbell and progressively add weight as you continue to master the technique.

For any injuries or guidance, inform your trainer/gym instructor for assistance.

  • Set up the barbell on a rack and make sure its set on your chest level, for easier access.
  • Stand with your back to it and bend to rest the barbell across your upper back (Traps) and not your neck.
  • In an underhand grip, lift it off the rack and walk forward to an open space for better stance and motion.
  • Stand with your feet hip – width apart or closer but make sure the close stance is manageable before doing the exercise.
  • Tighten your core, back straight and shoulders squeezed together. Look straight ahead, this is your starting position.
  • Inhale, bend your knees and squat down as much as you can, maintaining the straight back and feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • In a slow and controlled motion, exhale while you stand back up using your leg muscles and go back to your starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DO CLOSE STANCE SQUATS WORK

QUADRICEPS

The muscles in your laps where you place your bag when seated, the muscles that act as knee extensors when you are kneeling on the floor. All that is facilitated by the quadriceps, which constitutes of 4 muscles that work together as knee extensors. When you squat in a close stance, quadriceps are the primary muscles worked on the hardest and effectively activated.

GLUTUES MAXIMUS

Mention squats and everyone will definitely point out the butt muscle that is the glutes. As one of the main hip extensors and primary muscles activated, the gluteus maximus is well worked on during the exercise as it contributes to the extending of the hips and maintaining stability while squatting.

HAMSTRINGS

The muscles are at the back of your thighs and help to stabilize the hips and knees; in short, help you keep a balance when leaning forward so you will not topple over.

When you squat, the secondary muscles activated are the hamstrings as they stabilize your knees and maintain your body balance.

CALVES

The muscle is on the back of the lower leg, just below the hamstring. The calf muscle helps in movements at the heels and developing the muscles will be effectively beneficial in our movements like walking and jumping.

CLOSE STANCE SQUATS BENEFITS

SQUAT FORM IMPROVEMENT

Squat variations all have a common factor, strong lower body muscles, which equals better squat form. With this in mind, the more you do Close Stance Squats the better the muscle build up and mastering of the squat technique effectively and appropriately.

REDUCES STRESS ON HIP JOINTS

Most of the wide stance squats put tension and stress on the hips due to the weight balance. With this exercise, the narrow stance shifts the tension to the knees and upper leg muscles thus relieving the hips.

IMPROVES HIP BALANCE AND ASYMMETRIES

Wider stance squats puts more emphasis on the hips, which may cause you to rely or load more on one hip than the other. This can lead to serious hip injuries and aches.

Close stance prompts and demands balance from your body and any asymmetries can be corrected and bring hip balance, uniform growth and symmetric development of the hip musculature.

ALTERNATIVES TO CLOSE STANCE SQUATS

LEG EXTENSION

Leg extension is a good quadriceps workout and alternative.

How to do it:

  • Set the weight of the machine to a seat position and an appropriate weight that matches your fitness ability.
  • Sit on the leg extension machine and place the pads well to protect your legs when lifting the weights.
  • Hold on to the handles on the sides to have stability when working out. This is your starting position.
  • Brace the core, inhale and lift the levers by extending your legs parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for a second and then lower the levers in a controlled motion while exhaling, to your starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps.

HACK SQUAT

Hack squat is a good alternative for Close Stance Squats as it has an effective and unique movement while working out.

Make sure to set appropriate weight for the workout and for any assistance, inform your trainer/gym instructor.

How to do it:

  • Set the hack squat machine so that your shoulders comfortably rest under the pads.
  • Plant feet firmly on the foot pad and hold the handles at the shoulder pads.
  • Slowly squat down until your upper legs are parallel or almost, to the floor.
  • Go back to the standing position while still bracing your core.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps

CLOSE STANCE SQUATS MISTAKES TO AVOID

EXCESS WEIGHT

Excess weight might lead to over working the leg muscles and even seriously tearing a muscle on the knees. The legs and knees take up most of the weight and tension, which will require careful weight set up and adjustment.

WIDE STANCE

The close stance may be something of a challenge to your lower body strength and you may be prompted to keep a wider stance to release some tension. However, a close stance proves to be beneficial in developing a good squat form and minimize asymmetries.

Also, it is a requirement for this exercise so there is no escaping this.

ROUNDED BACK

Rounded back has proven repeatedly to cause serious back pains and even get long-term injuries. Keep back straight and braced to activate muscles and help in developing a healthy and strong back.

CONCLUSION

Close Stance Squats are great for that toned-up thigh and strong leg joints. Keep at it and your lower body muscles will have a better and more progressive development.

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