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Foot position for quads

tim290280

tim290280

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Ok I've made this as a new thread instead of just having it my training thread. There are a couple of other posts there that may interest people as well.

Basically the stance width for squats doesn't make any difference to your VL and VM recruitment. There are a number of studies that prove this. The pictures below are taken from the Target Bodybuilding book. This shows the areas of the leg as measured by MRI, probably the most reliable method of seeing what is happening in the muscle (medical imaging people correct me if I'm wrong). What they did was get some experienced lifters to perform the variations of the squat for a number of sets and reps and this makes the muscles involved appear lighter on the MRI. As you can see there is no difference between the two stance widths.

Narrow stance:
Uploadfromtaptalk1428058547241
Wide/Normal stance:
Kamal Bhanadri
 
tim290280

tim290280

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But what about the leg extension; well using the same protocol you get the images below showing that turning the toes out gives more VM activation. Notice the complete lack of cocontraction from the hamstrings to aid in the protection of the knee.
Of course this means that you are doing a leg extension :ugh:
It also means you are doing a leg extension with muscles creating medial shear :ugh:

Toes in
Uploadfromtaptalk1428520411410
Toes out
Uploadfromtaptalk1428520487457
 

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tim290280

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Here is a study that says the same things as the MRI study.
Stance width and bar load effects on leg muscle activity during the parallel squat.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 31(3):428-436, March 1999.
McCAW, STEVEN T.; MELROSE, DONALD R.

Abstract:
Stance width and bar load effects on leg muscle activity during the parallel squat. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 428-436, 1999.

Purpose: Altering foot stance is often prescribed as a method of isolating muscles during the parallel squat. The purpose of this study was to compare activity in six muscles crossing the hip and/or knee joints when the parallel squat is performed with different stances and bar loads.

Methods: Nine male lifters served as subjects. Within 7 d of determining 1RM on the squat with shoulder width stance, surface EMG data were collected (800 Hz) from the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, adductor longus, gluteus maximus, and biceps femoris while subjects completed five nonconsecutive reps of the squat using shoulder width, narrow (75% shoulder width), and wide (140% shoulder width) stances with low and high loads (60% and 75% 1RM, respectively). Rep time was controlled. A goniometer on the right knee was used to identify descent and ascent phases. Integrated EMG values were calculated for each muscle during phases of each rep, and the 5-rep means for each subject were used in a repeated measures ANOVA (phase x load x stance, [alpha] = 0.05).

Results: For rectus femoris, vastus medialis, and vastus lateralis, only the load effect was significant. Adductor longus exhibited a stance by phase interaction and a load effect. Gluteus maximus exhibited a load by stance interaction and a phase effect. Biceps femoris activity was highest during the ascent phase.

Conclusion: The results suggest that stance width does not cause isolation within the quadriceps but does influence muscle activity on the medial thigh and buttocks
 
tim290280

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Here is another study that shows how to activate the VM:
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Jul;39(7):1153-9.
New insights into the function of the vastus medialis with clinical implications.
Toumi H, Poumarat G, Benjamin M, Best TM, F'Guyer S, Fairclough J.
Cardiff School of Biosciences, University of Cardiff, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, United Kingdom. toumih@cardiff.ac.uk

PURPOSE: To investigate the gross anatomy of the distal portion of the quadriceps, and to compare the relative contributions of the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL) during dynamic weight-bearing conditions. METHODS: Dissection was carried out on 10 cadavers by a longitudinal incision from the anterior superior iliac spine to the patella and completed with upper and lower transverse cuts to reinvestigate the gross anatomy and innervation patterns of the quadriceps femoris. A biomechanical test of knee kinematics was conducted on 10 healthy male volunteers. Maximal isometric force, squat jump, and drop movement jump exercises were performed on a force plate and filmed using a Saga-3 3D system, and surface EMG activity was recorded for the VMO and the VL. RESULTS: The oblique fibers of the vastus medialis (VM) are not only attached to the medial border of the patella, but they also have a small region of direct continuity with the patellar tendon. Furthermore, VMO fibers in the middle and proximal thirds of the thigh attached to vastus intermedius, whereas distally, the fibers were independent. Both parts of the VM (proximal and distal) had independent motor points. During jumping exercises, the VMO and VL were activated in a coordinated manner in a squat jump using both legs. However, in a single-leg squat jump (which challenged the stability of the knee joint more acutely), VMO activation was higher during landing. CONCLUSION: VMO activity was pronounced during the weight-bearing conditions, with increased medial and lateral knee movements. This suggests that the VM should not be considered simply as a knee extensor or as a muscle whose main role is to maintain normal patellar tracking.
A lot of effort has been put into trying to prove that there is actually a VMO and that it isn't just the VM. This pretty much states that there is and that it has seperate innervation. This means that it could influence patella tracking. I knew that the vasti muscles had seperate innervation, but this means that the VMO could actually be deficient relative to the VM. This study only found it to be operating in balancing coordinating movements, so do your one legged work to develop the VM and VMO!!
 
tim290280

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I thought I would add one more of the "quad" exercise MRI pictures. This is the lunge or more accurately the split squat, which according to this study hits the adductor magnus and brevis hard and moderately hits the VM, VL and VI. Speaking on this personally I can say that this is accurate only in a well balanced leg, if you are quad dominant then the quads are what is hit.
Uploadfromtaptalk1428527967462
 

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afgan-ali

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sooo i understand how you are saying weather you have a inner stance or wider stance you are still targetting the same muscles even though it may feel different. so would you recommend a wider stance because you can push more weight??
 
tim290280

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sooo i understand how you are saying weather you have a inner stance or wider stance you are still targetting the same muscles even though it may feel different. so would you recommend a wider stance because you can push more weight??
This really depends on what you want to be able to do. Wider will let you use more weight but you will be using your hips more and this could be a tougher position for your lower back. So you may be better off going to another variation. The actual leg muscles working in any squat variation (short of a hack squat) are the same so it comes down to what else you are doing, what amount of hip involvement is in each, and what your mobility is like. You also need to figure out what your weaknesses are and what your leverages are like to pick appropriate exercises.

I personally have been lacking for hamstring strength (because of overactive glutes), and have had a full knee reconstruction. So I have been working more on front squats (ATG), and improving my depth on back squats by using a shoulder width stance (which allows greater depth than going wider).
 
tim290280

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Would people be interested in the research on squatting depth?
 

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Turkish1530

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Thanks Tim! I can't believe it, I guess u culd say the proof is in the pudding but I always thought leg position was very crucial in development of different parts of the quad.
 
Johnny5

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Interesting! Now lets hear about squat depth! I've heard too many good things about ATG squats. Lets see if it's all true. :D
 
tim290280

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^^ One of the links was about squat depth, the last one on the list (in the response to Turk in the main section).

Or alternatively search this section for it.
 
Pickle

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while i never squat with different stances i do like how their "experienced lifters" from the photos have chicken legs. lololol
 
tim290280

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while i never squat with different stances i do like how their "experienced lifters" from the photos have chicken legs. lololol

That's a female model used for the book. The guy they used looks like a M&F or similar cover model.
 

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