SQUAT FORM – TRADITIONAL BODYWEIGHT OR SUMO (toes turned out) // I hesitated to write a post on squat form even though people keep requesting it because everyone’s squat can visually look different. Our bodies vary so much in ways that affect your squat such as femur length, torso length, depth of hip sockets, and level of flexibility that even though my squat may look different from yours, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one of us has bad form.
I spent a great deal of time when I got a serious knee injury researching and learning from trainers and therapists. I didn’t get injured squatting, but because my knee was already weak it became my mission to have good form to prevent further injuries. I’m going to share what I learned here.
KNEES PAST TOES IS A MYTH
For a long time people would say don’t let your knees go past your toes. Experts think that the knees over toes myth was created to keep squat beginners from putting the majority of weight in their toes. By telling the person to keep the knees behind the toes, it reduces premature forward movement when you are beginning the squat and forces you to move your butt farther back. But stopping the knees from moving forward doesn’t necessarily work as you squat deeper. In the left pic my knees have to move forward in order for me to remain balanced. I would worry about injury if your knees are going over by a lot with weight in the toes (right pic) or if your heels begin to lift off the ground, but if your knees are just slightly over and your weight is balanced, it’s just the way your body is designed to keep that balance.
BAD FORM THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The main thing to watch out for is to keep your knees pointing in the same direction in line with your feet. Do not let your knees bow inward at any time. Do not tip forward into your toes and press up with your weight there. If you are not strong/flexible enough to go at least parallel to the ground, it’s ok to stop just above parallel until you get stronger. Look straight ahead, don’t round the neck or back, and of course make sure you sit back with your glutes engaged!