Isn’t my knees going over my toes bad when squatting??


If you asked me when I first started as a trainer I might have had a different answer. No, knees going over the toes is not bad…


Why not?


  • To descend below parallel thighs, your knees will go over your toes to keep balance over the mid-foot (think of a toddler resting in a squat).
  • Many locations in the world still deep squat as a resting position. Others on average have lost the ability due to overuse of chairs. We’ve stopped going into a deeper position and therefore we lose that specific ability.
  • A child learning movement (a toddler) will do a balanced deep squat as a comfortable resting position.
  • You specifically adapt to what you do, and lose the ability if you don’t do it anymore. It’s a fundamental skill we develop early but lose it we don’t continue.
  • The knee is only a hinge joint, it’s what happens at the hip and ankle that are going to determine what happens as we descend.
  • The hips should “break” first. The knees will move forward as you descent but the hips should move beforehand.
  • Be more concerned with when, not if the knees go over the toes.
  • Regardless of the type of squat, the centre of balance (mid-line) should be over the mid-foot and remain there. If this happens the squat will typically be safe.
  • Need sufficient ankle and hip mobility to achieve the above.
  • If you want/need to descend deeper than about 90 degrees, it’s going to need to happen to maintain correct balance.


Also, check out Part 2: Are Deep Squats Bad For The Knees?


Aaron King

Exercise Physiologist

Fit Clinic

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