I’ve never understood why so many lifters love to follow gurus who preach to their students that there’s only one way to squat (or one best form that suits everyone). Pull up video clips of the 20 best squatters in the world and you’ll notice markedly different form from one lifter to the next. Louie Simmons, arguably the most successful powerlifting coach in the history of the sport, employs dozens upon dozens of types of squats with his lifters. This isn’t to say that you should change up your workout every session or jump around between different variations with no rhyme or reason. It does mean that you should experiment with bar positions, stance widths, and styles to find what’s most comfortable for you and also what transfers best to your goals.
Most excellent lifters employ a few styles of each main lift throughout the year. For example, Ed Coan, one of the most successful powerlifters of all time, liked to perform high bar squats throughout the year. Even successful raw powerlifters take advantage of variety, for example Dan Green, a freakishly strong modern powerlifter, loves his front squats.
While the vast majority of lifters can find a type of squat that suits their body well, not every body is well-suited for deep squats or wide stance squats. Furthermore, not every body is well-suited for every deadlifting variation, but with practice most lifters can find several that work well for them.
In my latest TNation article, I show 19 different squat and deadlift variations and explain why you should experiment to find which variations work best for you. Click on the link below to check it out. And if your guru doesn’t acknowledge that lifters should squat and deadlift differently depending on their anatomy and experiment to find the best variations for their training, fire him!