This myth has steered countless trainers away from a move that is widely regarded to be the most productive weight-training movement ever conceived, but are they right to avoid the squat?

The simple fact of the matter here is that squatting isn’t bad for your knees: squatting incorrectly is bad for your knees. As with so many other resistance-based movements, this breakdown in form typically stems from poor tuition and from trying to lift heavy weights before being fully able to do so.

Knees & Toes

Of course, it doesn’t help that so many so-called ‘experts’ and training guides these days continue to advise lifters that they shouldn’t allow their knees to go beyond their toes when squatting. This is nonsense. There is always going to be some forward movement of the knees when squatting. As long as you don’t allow your knees to move forward excessively, i.e. so that your heels come off the ground, then you’ll be okay.

Child’s Play

The most important thing to note is that – in a good squat – the angle of the shin must match the angle of the torso. This ensures loading of the posterior hip musculature (glutes and hamstrings) and minimises the anterior shearing forces across the knees. If you want to see what a fundamentally sound squat looks like in action then simply put a chocolate on the floor in front of a toddler and watch them pick it up; it’s perfect!

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