T Nation

ATG Squats


This probably has been discussed to death, apologies if it has, but I'm new here and would love to hear your thoughts on ass to grass squats.

First off, when I did these, I was experiencing knee pain afterwards so I stopped doing it and I have no history of knee injuries, relatively flexible with hip and lumbar area so doing it was no problem. Maybe I was going too heavy. My normal squat weigth is 188 lbs (6-8 reps), ATG weight was only 135.

Is this a case by case thing or is there something to remedy the knee pain?


Make sure the angle of your foot is following the angle of your knees.
I find, if I'm squatting as low as possible, if I try to keep my feet pointed to far forward, the slight twist causes pain in my knees.

Be sure to warm up too. My joints need a little warmth to lube everything up inside to get those smooth, deep squats.


If you can squat to parallel pain-free, this leads us to the following conclusions;

You should probably continue to squat to parallel, while figuring out what defect in your body causes you pain when you squat to full depth.

There are a myriad of problems that could cause this pain. I recommend talking to a sports-medicine doctor, or one of the PT's on these forum (You can find them by looking up the 'trainers talking shop' thread in the GAL forum).

I used to regularly squat to full depth in the mid-300's, and never really experienced pain in the knee. Since my experience is lacking, I refer you to others.


Had the same issue, this helped:

  1. Make sure to squat in a shoe with a flat sole.

  2. Do some mobility/warm up work before you squat.

  3. Do some soft tissue work (foam roller etc.) and stretching when not in the gym to help with mobility.


I place my feet about shoulder width with toes slightly pointing out (to maximize heel involvement), maybe i should point them forward.


You need to figure out your stance first. If your feet are too far apart, it puts twisting pressure on the knee when squatting below parallel. Your stance width is largely determined by your femur-to-tibia length ratio. Easiest way to do it is to drop down to full squat depth (unweighted) and just experiment with your width until if feels as comfortable as possible.

Your heel should be directly under your femur in the bottom position, with your toe pointing in the same direction as your knee.