For ages we were told never to squat with our knees going forward past our toes. It was largely considered a major mistake that put your knees in a dangerous position when handling heavy weight.
However, this is one of the most prevalent exercise form myths out there.
For some of you—especially if you're tall and have long femurs—it's difficult if not impossible to squat with proper form without your knees coming forward. In fact, strictly adhering to this rule might result in a Squat that looks more like a Good Morning or you will have a wonky bar path that's far from vertical.
"I'm generally OK with my athletes if their knee passes over their toes as long as we have one key thing: Their foot is fully engaged with the ground," says Matt Stevens, physical therapist at Pure Physio (Strongsville, Ohio).
Imagine that your foot is a tripod with a point of contact on your heel, ball of your foot and under your pinky toe. The three points of contact create a solid base that allows you to evenly distribute your weight across your foot. A stable foot increases the stability of your knees and reduces the stress on the joint.
Problems occur when your heels come off the ground and your knees come forward. This position puts shearing forces on your knees and can lead to injury if you're not careful.
So keep your feet flat on the ground and feel free to allow your knees to come forward a bit if that's what feels comfortable to you. And make sure that you keep these tips in mind for strong and pain-free squatting.