I have noticed that I tend to fall back when squatting deep(without weights) and if I widen my stance a bit more than my shoulder width I can maintain that squat position with more stability. Now coming back to barbell back squat,will keeping a wide stance be a sort of cheating as glutes are also involved and thus hinder with my leg strength development? I am a 168cm guy,61 kg BW,with max of 90kg and my working set is 80kg x 5,with my current short-term goals as doing 100 kg of 5 reps.Long term goal is to do 2*BW back squat X5 reps.(Also I need to mention that 8 weeks ago I have had an inguinal hernia surgery so I wanna keep my progress slow,steady and safe.

  • Do you have sufficient dorsiflexion at the ankles? In case you don't, you might be moving your centre of mass too far back to hit depth, resulting in falling back.
    – max
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:43
  • 2
    A squat is a squat if you hit depth, there is no cheating. You can increase the involvement of the quadriceps if you keep your torso relatively vertical, in which case you need more dorsiflexion at the ankle. Similarly you can increase the involvement of the glutes/hamstrings/spinal erectors by keeping the torso more horizontal.
    – max
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:46
  • Don't know if my tendency to fall back is related to lack of ankle mobility or something else,I just feel to widen up my stance to get the depth.My strength has been in a plateau of some time and can you share some tips how to safely improve my squat?
    – S.D
    Mar 20, 2018 at 5:14
  • Squatting wider uses more adductors which makes the squat easier, width stance doesn't make any difference in gluteus maximus activation, it is an hip extensor not leg extensor. If you squat wide too often you will get leg imbalances, if you squat narrow all the time you will still get imbalance plus some nasty looking thigh gaps. So either switch between variations all the time or just pick one and use corrective exercises, leg abductions for wide squats and both leg adductions plus leg abductions for narrow squats, leg internal and external rotations work fine too.
    – Ekaen
    Apr 10, 2018 at 17:08
  • What would be the weak link in the body if I'd say I sort of feel stuck at the bottom part of the exercise?I mean yes,it has to be the toughest part because of physics as we go parallel or below but I kinda feel am weak at this spot because even when doing weights I can handle easily,on increasing the reps I tend to struggle.So there might me something that's giving out easily than the other muscle group.Any corrective exercises for that?
    – S.D
    Apr 10, 2018 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


A proper back squat uses a (roughly) shoulder-width stance with toes angled slightly out, which facilitates abduction ("angling out") of the femurs during the movement. Yes, this does use the hips/glutes; this is desirable (not "cheating"!) because it allows us to train more muscle mass. It also prevents impingement of tissues between the femur and the anterior iliac spines, and allows your abdomen to go between your thighs, enabling you to attain proper depth more easily.

Please consider reading more about The Squat.


Sounds like you may have ankle mobility issues. Check this post out which explains how to test and fix mobility issues

The whole website is also a great resource for how to safely improve your squat, as you commented above.

Hope this helps.

  • You have a habit of saying "Might be this, check out this site", which is discouraged. If the link decays, the post is useless. Please edit your answer to include the relevant information, and only use the link as support.
    – JohnP
    Apr 10, 2018 at 14:11

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