Stance training is important for building strength in the legs and learning how to properly shape the stances in the forms.  Good stances are stable, strong, ready to change and are the foundation of the power in Kung Fu techniques.  Northern Shaolin is famous for its long and low Bow stance.  Because Northern Shaolin experts use such low stances their legs are extremely strong.  This makes their blows very strong.  It also makes it very difficult to throw them.  The footwork of Northern Shaolin uses these deep long stances in a very lively and quick manner.  Typically every single hand technique is delivered from a new stance.  This nimbleness is very difficult to defeat and is a trademark of the system.  It is also one of the reasons these forms are such good exercise and Northern Shaolin practitioners are usually slender and wiry.  If you are heavy you will get lighter after practicing these forms.  They will not change your body type but they will change the body makeup.

The Basic Stances of Northern Shaolin are the following:

Horse Stance
Bow and Arrow Stance
Crane Stance
Empty Stance
Crouching Stance
Twisted Horse Stance
Low Stance or Scattered Stance
Dragon Stance
Sixty/Forty Stance
Seventy/Thirty Stance