Whether you are new to the gym or a long term veteran, the squat should be a key part of your weights program. The squat is one of the best exercises you can perform to develop total body strength, power and overall athleticism. However, there are still some common myths, misconceptions and overall confusion amongst gym goers which can dispel some from performing this exercise and reaping the raft of benefits the squat provides. The following blog series will hopefully drive away some of those myths and get you squatting in no time.
Should your toes be forward or angled out?
You may have been told that you should be able to squat with your toes facing forwards, whereas you may have also been told that you should turn your feet out slightly. So who should you believe?
...The answer is both!
There are pros and cons to each foot position. A pro of squatting with your toes facing forward is that is requires a greater amount of hip and ankle joint mobility, which is going to be great for your overall joint health long term.
However this can also be a con, in that a lot of people do not have the required mobility, so squatting with their toes facing forwards places undue load through areas such as the lower back and knees which try to compensate for this.
Toes Angle Out
A pro for turning your toes out slightly (about a 30° angle) is that it opens up the hip and ankle joint and takes the emphasis off mobility slightly. It also gives us a slightly a wider base of support and places some muscles at a greater mechanical advantage, meaning we can lift more weight (who doesn't want to lift more weight, right?).
A con is that because it takes out the greater need for mobility, those specific joint ranges aren’t getting trained so the mobility can deteriorate further over time.
Take Home Messages
- Try both! Squat with whatever foot position allows you to gain a suitable range of pain freemotion.
- Which foot position suits best will differ greatly between everyone.
- If you are getting pain, something is not right!