Knees Over Toes? – How To Squat Properly

Should your knees cross over your toes when you do a squat? First and foremost, the squat is not really that important of an exercise.

I really make these posts to grab your attention. Most people considered with performance and joint health should be concerned about their gait cycle and throwing ability than a squat.

With that said, is there a proper way to squat, and should your knees cross over your toes? There’s quite the funny answer about that in this video.

Anatomically, the toes might not be the best place to base your body positioning from.

You’ll see why in the video.

Train intentionally, not habitually,

Naudi Aguilar


Hello. This is Naudi Aguilar at Functional Patterns, and I wanted to discuss the relationship between the knees and the toes during a squat. This is a very heated topic amongst most fitness enthusiasts, and I kind of wanted to just clear some things up. This shouldn’t take too long, okay?

I’m not talking about a back squat. First and foremost, I’m not going to discuss a back squat because the back squat itself is not very functional. It’s not very respecting to your biology. It’s very rare that you’re ever going to find yourself with something on your spine, on your cervical spine crushing your ribcage down, crushing your spine down, and that your body will be able to sustain something like that. The human body is not adapted for that kind of a load on it. The ribs can’t really decompress and fight against that kind of a force. The diaphragm doesn’t have that capability. The body doesn’t really have that much capability.

Sure, we can adapt to the stimulus of a back squat, but the truth is it’s not really going to have many transferable benefits to the regular world when we think about moving functionally. For one, that’s already kind of out of the question. The thing that I’m going to discuss right now is a knee relationship to the toes, and this is going to be pretty quick.

For starters, I want you to think that if you come down and you look at the relative position, let’s say if I do the hinge, if I do this, this is clearly a hinge. The knee doesn’t even come over the ankles, okay, so the ankles are right here. If a hinging maneuver is happening like a deadlift or if I’m doing a pendulum squat or if I’m going to jump, the hinging principle is going to bring the knees not over the toes, okay? If I’m doing a squat, which is going to be almost like if I was going to move laterally, this is when I’m going to get down to a squat position, definitely, my knees are going to move forward. That’s okay.

Now, to actually measure how far the knee is supposed to go over the toe, it’s completely relative to how long your foot actually is. If I’m a person, let’s say I had a friend of mine, a fighter that I used to train, a pro fighter I used to train, and he was about 6’1″ and he had a shoe sized of about eight. It’s a very small shoe size. I wear almost a size eight shoe, and he was about 6’1″. We almost had the same foot size, and his legs were still fairly long. He had fairly long legs, so when he did a squat, clearly, his knees went way over his toes relative to his foot length. If your foot length is really, really short, then clearly, your knees are going to have to go over your toes.

Then, I have other people that are a little taller than I am, they have a size 11, size 12 shoe. Even if they try to bring their knees over their toes … If my shoes somehow went out or my foot went out somewhere about that far, no matter what I did in order to get my knees that way, I would have to shift my entire pelvis forward. I’d have to contort my body in all sorts of way just to get my knees over my toes.

To discuss the relationship between the toes and the knees is irrelevant. To discuss mechanical angles on the knees to the toes, there’s no correlation. If you want to have a better vision of what to measure when you’re looking at a squat, if you’re looking at like an agility base or the position of readiness, try looking at the relationship between the torso and the shin bone. This right here should match this. Most of the time, as you’re dropping down into a squat, the angle of the shin should actually match the angle of the torso. If you look for those things when you’re doing any kind of squatting maneuvers, any kind of jumping maneuvers, you’re going to tend to find a little more consistency in what you’re looking at in terms of correcting dysfunctions on the body or on your own body, but the foot to the knee is irrelevant. That’s the subject that carries no relevance because there’s no set standard that a human being has for height to foot length ratio.

If you’re really tall and you have a short foot, it’s not going to be the same as if you’re really … than if you’re really short, and you have a really long foot. Those two things don’t correlate, so we should not be basing those things like that. For my entire career, this is what I’ve seen going like crazy. I explain this in my seminars all the time. I just figured today, I would bring that up to you, guys. Look at the spinal relationship to the tibial relationship, and you’re going to get a much clearer picture as to what a squat is supposed to look like for a person.

The barbell squats are a big no-no. I’ll discuss that later on in another future video that’s like this. I hope you guys found this video to be informative. If you did, please like it. Please share it to your friends or anybody who might find value with this specific video. Till next time, this is Naudi Aguilar at Functional Patterns reminding you to train intentionally and not habitually. Take care.