Ever hear someone tell you that it’s bad to let your knees go past your toes when you squat? Well I’m here to tell you that not only is it ok for your knees to go over your toes, but it is actually important to allow this to happen in order to optimize your squat! If you look at this picture, I’m not able to achieve full depth while trying to keep my knees behind my toes. This “sitting back fault” causes a variety of issues. It affects the barbell’s center of gravity, it creates a more pronounced forward lean, and places an increased stress at the low back when trying to squat deep.
In order to achieve appropriate depth, we have to open up at the hips and allow our knees to go over the toes. When I see this movement fault with patients, I always recommend a couple cues. Instead of “sitting back” into your squat, drive your knees outward, and “sit in between your hips”. Screw your feet into the floor and spread the floor with your feet are also great cues to help engage the muscles of your glutes to allow you to squat deep.
If you are having trouble with your squat, give these cues a try and see how it feels.