there is lots of information on the web about feet and knees out in Squat. Firstly, I'd like to summarise it here to make it clear.

As explained here by Athlean X, in the Squat:

  • a bit of external rotation of the knees is very useful to make room in the hip for the femurs.
  • a bit of external rotation of the feet helps externally rotate the knees.

Catalyst Ahtletics explains more in detail why externally rotating the knees is useful:

There are two reasons to actively push the knees out in a squat. The first is to either prevent knee valgus in an athlete for whom this is a known problem, or to correct valgus as it’s occurring—pushing the knees out maintains or re-establishes the optimal leg orientation. The second reason is to correct forward leaning. If the knees move in, the hips move back and the chest moves forward in response—in other words, it causes you to lean over more than wanted.

However, Catalyst Athletics says also that:

The second reason is to correct forward leaning. If the knees move in, the hips move back and the chest moves forward in response—in other words, it causes you to lean over more than wanted.

My question is: why not pushing the knees very very out (out of the feet) until we get a good spinal position?* I'd say that an excessive knees rotation may rotate too much the feet and reduce the base width in the sagittal plane (hence causing balance issues) and maybe also reduce the athlete strength for the knees and hips extension as some power is wastened to actively push the knees so much out.

There are lots of other coaches saying we must not rotate too much. These videos say the knees should be aligned with the feet, and both must have not more than 5-10° of external rotation. They say a higher external rotation will reduce force and stability (although they do not explain the reason). Here some references: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

**In weightlifting Squat, the back is slightly extended. Precisely, the lower back is very slightly extended and the upper back is extended as much as possible. That's explained there enter link description hereand there.

1 Answer 1


Coaches and most anyone is not an expert on biomechanics. No one has to be a master at biomechanics and no one you meet will be. Coaches were telling athletes for decades not to track the knees past the toes in the squat and they were ruining their own athletes this way.

You should be training with different foot positions and with different exercises as this will require different strength and thus develop the body more thoroughly. Do squats with feet way out and way in and feel which muscles are worked, which ligaments and get a good healthy pressure (with low weight) in the joints. Track the knees over toes, inside, and outside and feel which muscles are worked. If you do each of these movements with body weight for conditioning you'll have a better idea where your strongest position is and where the weaker ones are, train them up, and not require people to tell you about how to place your feet and track your knees. You can add weight to the odd squats but you should become athletically conditioned first in all the odd squats with body weight.

There are 2 different considerations here: How to squat for maximal strength and how to squat without causing injury.

Injury prevention requires a whole host of things to make you athletic and perform better without injury. Check out The Kneesovertoesguy for this. Not mentioned in his videos is ankle and side-knee strength. The piriformis good morning found in his 7 ATG Mobility Checklist video is good, the calf raise is good, backwards walking stuff is good, calf stuff is good, but it's missing some stuff.

Can you roll onto the blade of your foot while standing? On both of them at once that is, without pain? Can you perform squats with feet further than shoulder width apart, turned at about a 120 degree angle total outward (60 angle each), and tracking the knees directly forward to depth without pain while keeping the soles of your feet on the ground? Can you perform a squat with feet 90 degrees total inward (45 each) and squat with knees tracking outward slightly to depth and keep the soles of your feet on the ground without pain? Probably not. It's a bit different whether you're completely upright, leaning back or leaning forward as well.

Can you olympic squat to complete depth? Feet and knees wide, very hip dominant squat?

You need to become very conditioned in every squat variation, including split atg squats, cossack squats, sissy squats, heel off ground completely vertical knee quad dominant squats, olympic squats, sumo squats with nearly 150 degree wide hips feet way out shins over feet when thighs are parallel to the ground hip dominant, and each foot position for ankle and knee muscle and ligament strength.

Lumbar arch is mostly to do with weak hip flexors. Foot lifts will remedy this, so would leg lifts with body weight or a dumbbell between the feet to add resistance. Train the front of the hip. The core or abdominals of course need to be targeted as well. The more you lean back the more the front of the body is required. Weak quads can also be the cause.

Most unfortunately and all too common, weak shins can be the problem. Any weak link ruins the chain and that phenomenon applies to weight lifting ALWAYS and with GREAT LIBERTIES TAKEN. Even weak toe lifting can compromise your strength and form I'm serious. Don't take any risks and put in a minute of strength training the tibialis and toes each day. Takes no time. Body will stop itself if it's going to pull something, and muscular contraction can be a shotgun blast that hits stuff with little discernment when you're hitting RPE 7, 8 , 9, 10.

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