One of the most common exercise myths is that to perform a squat correctly, you must keep your knees behind your toes. Coaches, personal trainers, doctors and even physical therapists continue to reinforce improper mechanics regarding squats. Why? The research supporting knees over the toes is unequivocal. Keeping the knees behind the toes decreases stress to the knees 28%, but increases the stress to the hips 1000% and spine. How did this myth start? A poorly designed study (1961), which demonstrates why research must be thoroughly vetted. And this research was accepted as “fact” despite thousands of years of evidence that squatting with the knees over the toes is the natural way for the body to squat across all cultures (see pics).
I asked DPT student Jaxon Arave to put together a power point presentation (based on research) explaining the proper knee mechanics of a squat. An evidence based approach to health/medicine is essential for providing the best and most effective interventions. And, it is our duty as healthcare providers to dispel myths, especially myths that are potentially harmful (like keeping knees behind toes while performing a squat). Please click on the link below for a better understanding of how this myth started and why keeping the knees behind the toes is biomechanically incorrect .