“It will hurt your knees if they go past your toes.”
I was recently exercising in the gym close to 2 young men performing barbell squats. I even heard one say that they just finished going to physical therapy and I hope that the following information didn’t come from their physical therapist…
One of them (let’s call him lifter 1) finished a set of squats and was chatting with the other (let’s call him lifter 2). I overheard Lifter 2 tell Lifter 1 that he shouldn’t let his knees go past his toes when squatting because that is bad for them.
This is a common belief in fitness circles, the personal training industry, and I used to hear it a lot in the physical therapy industry. But it is not true.
Your knees must go over your toes to walk or run. Proper squat technique requires your knees to move far past your toes.
To prevent this, you need to push your hips back and arch your lower back. This places more stress onto your lower back and increases your risk of back pain.
But you may be wondering if pushing your knees past your toes places more stress onto your knees.
It does not! In fact, research has shown that training your knees to go past your toes helps create healthy knees and take stress off your back.
Check out the squatting tutorial below to retrain your squat and your knees to be comfortable going over their toes as they should!
Don’t forget, there is no bad exercise or good exercise. One exercise may be more appropriate for you when compared to another for a variety of factors including your fitness goals, injury history (talk to your physical therapist), unique body traits, and movement capabilities. Keep this in mind when you hear someone make a generalized or “one size fits all” statement about exercise.