feet position for squats?

Starting squatting again not to long ago and im really having a hard time with my form. Ive been squatting with my toes out and feet maybe a little more than shoulder width. I seem to be fighting my form alot more than actually have trouble with the light weight that im using. My knees tend to cave in right as I come up from the very bottom. On top it all that, my right knee has been hurting for about 3 weeks and I think its related to my poor squatting. The pain in my knee is not constant, but its more of a support/stability issue. Its hurt mostly when I go up or down stairs or turning on it.

Depending on the length of your legs, your foot positioning can change. How do you stand normally? I have long legs, so I need to angle my feet out a bit more than normal to get down low enough.

Feet should be turned out slightly, how much depends on the person.

I guess I dont really have enough experience to know how I should be standing versus how I would stand without thinking about it

If I turn my feet out it puts more stress on the sides of my thighs (VL). If I turn my feet in (or mostly parallel) the stress shifts to the VM.

I hope that's the way it's SUPPOSED to be!

Your toes should be pointed as far forward as is comfortable. It sounds like you are using too much weight. Keep your knees pushed outward. It is difficult to do at first, but it will help in the long run. Don't let them move in.


A tip I got from the BFS guys:

There are 2 stances "Athletic" and "Jump". Instead of thinking where should my feet go? let your own body mechanics dictate. The athletic stance is the one you see in all sports like football and wrestling. Think if someone was going to crash into you how would you stand. You would stand in the position that gave you the most base balance and power. Squat down and adjust from there.

These 2 stances apply to all your major movments

Assuming you are training for athletic muscular development more than to squat as much as possible:
One thing that may help (or may not, who knows) is to go to the gym and shoot a few jump-shot baskets from the top of the 3-point line. After you've loosened up with a couple of shots and have your form down, look at your foot spacing just before you jump (not after landing), and notice your form as you move from the lower half-squat position up into the jump (especially the path your knees take and your lower back arch). Now compare that to your squatting form. This might help you determine a more natural position from which to squat (even though a wider, toes-out squatting position may get your squat numbers higher).

Good advice.

Also, my problems with 'fighting with my form' have mostly stemmed from flexibility, especially in my ankles and calves. I find a good calf stretch right before squatting really helps. Don't neglect ab flexibility either, tight abs will pull your upper body forward at the bottom of the movement and force your back to round, which is bad.

You can try..

Stretching your tight TFL (tensor fasciae latae) and IT band.. and active release would be great.

Does your knee hurt on the lateral side?

Try this: Stand in front of a mirror in your regular stance. If your toes point outward.. move them so they're pointing forward. Now look and see if your knee is acting a little weird.. if so, fire your glutes and see what happens. If your knee fixes itself, strengthening your glutes will help. What they just did was laterally rotated your femur and posteriorly tilted the pelvis.

Also strengthen your VM as well as your core.

ok I tried what Ryno said and it would seem that I have weak glutes. So maybe a few weeks without squats will give me time to focus on my glutes and abs. Prehaps its just an imbalance issue?

I did trap bar deads today and they felt really good. No knee pain at all. Would lungs and split squats be a good idea to try for a few weeks before going back to normal barbell squats?

I'd nix the trap bar deads, and do sumos for a little while. Walking lunges would be awesome, as would split squats and Poorman's GHRs (natural GHR).

Ryno, why do you think he should cut out the trap bar deads?

Well, both will hit the glutes, but the sumo pull more than the trapbar.

Nothing wrong with the trap bar, though.

Gotcha. Only reason I ask is that I alternate TBDL's with box squats & it seems to wokr very well for me. The TBDL seems to take a bit of the low back out of the equation (I've had back problems in the past) & allows me to just focus on pushing the floor away verses being concerned about doing my back again. I do like the Sumo pull though.

Yeah I just suggested it because it seems that strengthening his glutes will be the key.


Alternatives to isolating (or just plain targeting) the VM? Do feet positioning during squats make a difference?