YES, Your Knees Can Go Past Your Toes: Some Squat Science
"I was told not to let my knees go past my toes when I squat." Being a personal
trainer for 9 years, I've heard this enough for it to be laughable.
Squats and their variations (split squats, lunges, etc.) are meant to work your
quads. The quadriceps muscles are a group of 4 muscles that run along the
front of your thighs. In order to use your quads through their full range of
motion, your knees need to track over your toes. This means that if you think
of your knees as trains and your toes as train tracks, you allow your knees to
track forward, over and in line with your toes while maintaining complete foot
contact with the floor. Ideally, your spine should be long and your torso should
drop straight down between your legs. If you were watching from the side, your
torso should look like it is in on an elevator while your butt sits straight down
towards the floor. In order for this to happen, your knees MUST go forward!
If you need further assistance, check out my YouTube squat video here.
The quadriceps muscles are one piece of the big puzzle that is our body. They
are a great anti-gravitational muscle, meaning that strong and capable quads.
allow us to move through the world more easily. Gravity is one of the first truths we come into contact with when we are born, so learning to work with it is foundational.
Personally, when I properly use my quads, I feel more grounded. I slow down in a way that allows me to be more rational and patient. I feel powerful, strong and more confident. When the proper muscles support us, we have better posture, balance, control, and stability.
Unless you have pain while letting your knees go past your toes, work your quads as they were meant to be used! I'm going to take an educated guess that a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who have joint pain in any form most likely do so because they never allowed their muscles to work the way they were designed.
SQUATS FOR THE WIN! :)