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What is the key to avoid injury when squatting with your body weight?

I've heard that when you are doing squats, your knees should not go past your toes. However, two hundred squats, is telling me that I should go down until my legs are parallel to the ground. I can't go parallel without my knees going past my toes. Should I stop my knees going past my toes, or should I go all the way down?

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marked as duplicate by Dave Liepmann, Sancho, Ivo Flipse Jun 18 '12 at 8:48

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The advice to not let your knees track past your toes is specifically for loaded squats. In unloaded "air" squats, where you don't have a barbell or similar implement involved, I think it's okay to let your knees track past your toes.

That said, the two hundred squats and related programs are okay, but a little silly. Their instructions say:

Lower your body to a position where your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.

This is a half-squat. A program where you focus on getting two hundred half-squats lacks balance, among other things. The bodyweight resources in the answers to this question would probably be much more productive.

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I was planning to combine the squats program with the pushup program, but now I'll check out Convict Conditioning –  Casebash Jun 18 '12 at 4:49
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