How to Find Your Optimal Squat Width: Hip Anatomy and Mobility

anatomy hip rotation mobility Jun 21, 2022

You've seen some people squat narrow and some squat wide; why? Simply put, people who squat with a more narrow stance generally have a more anteverted hip compared to the more common retroverted hip. Based on their hip anatomy, it's either easier or harder for them to get into a wider squat stance. If you're trying to figure out the ideal width for your squat, try these 2 tests: hip external rotation and hip internal rotation. 

The setup

1) Hip Flexion:

Lay on your back and test how far “in or out” (the degree of abduction) allows you the most hip flexion. ⁣


First, test hip external rotation

With a flexed knee and hip, externally rotate the hip.

Hip External Rotation: See picture. (Bring the foot in across)⁣


Next, test hip internal rotation

You can test hip internal rotation by moving in the opposite direction of external rotation. 

Hip Internal Rotation: See picture. (Bring the foot out to the side)⁣


Let’s use this client's results as an example:

- Decent external rotation (ER)

- Very limited internal rotation (IR)

= Typical Retroverted Hip

(Tend to have less room in the front of the hip)

Generally, people with a retroverted hip tend to squat with a wider stance and ride the outside of the foot more.⁣



Another example:

- Limited external rotation (ER)
- Decent internal rotation (IR)
= Typical Anteverted Hip

In general, people with an anteverted hip tend to squat with a more narrow stance.


Practical Application:

You don’t need to do “glute dominant” squats on Monday and heel elevated “quad dominant” squats on Wednesday. (Even if that’s “what worked” for your favorite IG fitness model….)⁣

Find a squat position that is comfortable to load...

And load it.

Disclaimer: This assessment is a good start, but you have to account for other variables like ankle dorsiflexion, thoracic extension, etc.

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