T Nation

Feet angle on squats

When I squat my toes are pointing out, it feels more comfortable than pointing my feet straight ahead. This morning I was trying to figure out what felt more comfortable while standing, and my toes were pointing out as well. Is this something that I should work on correcting? Does it matter? Thanks.

This has been discussed in an article by… Dave Tate (anyone confirm this?).

 It must've been 'Squat 900' by Dave Tate. He pointed out that in order to squat as much weight as you possibly can, yor feet should be pointing outwards, as this gives you a better mechanical advantage.

 My feet point outwards as well. It's only normal, and Ive never seen anyone whose feet point straight forward. Besides think about it, having your feet pointing outwards gives you the best stability from all directions, especially if someone pushes you from the side.

I’ll reread Dave’s article, I remember him saying to push your feet out wide, I didn’t remember him mentioning the angle, I’ll check it out.

I don’t think it matters if you are squatting, deadlifting or doing Olympic lifts, if your feet are pointing straight ahead, your stability is going to be reduced. You need to distribute your weight to maintain proper balance. Turn your feet outwards a bit, but not too much.

I reread Tate’s article and he said to keep them straight ahead or slightly turned out. The idea being the tension is a mechanical advantage to get you out of the hole. Okay, now my goal is to increase athletic performance, not necessarily powerlift the most weight possible. With that goal in mind, is there an ideal stance/foot position? Thanks for the replies.

I would try and keep your toes pointing just a little bit out - say maybe 15 degrees or less and gradually move them to as straight ahead as possible. Keep in mind that stance width will also have an impact on how your toes point. I’ve found that with a narrow stance I am unable to get down low enough unless the toes are pointed out. When I widen out my stance I am able to get down low enough with my toes pointed much more in a straight line.

Many people believe that high bar, narrow squats are the way to develop more athletic ability. I think this is the wrong approach. When you squat the way (most) powerlifters do (low bar, wide stance) you activate the posterior chain more than with a narrow, high-bar stance. The posterior chain has a much greater impact on athletic performance than the quads do (just look at elite sprinter’s glutes and hammies) so I think going wide will probably improve your athletic performance more than going narrow. That said, a program that incorporates variation in stance width and bar placement is probably the best for overall development.

On a side note, I believe that one of the westside guys - either Tate or Louie - said that if your toes naturally point out when you walk you have weak hammies. I would suggest that your try and bring those hammies upt and watch both your squat and athletic performance increase. Just my $.02

Burt, thanks for the reply. I guess it always gets back to variaty, changing up the routine etc. That makes sense. Interesting point on the hammies. I think my hamstrings are indeed a weak link and should be a priority. Thanks again for the replies.

I recall reading an article by Dave Tate (or someone on elite) that stated if you naturally walk with your toes angled out you are quad dominant person. Also I think at Westside they try to squat with their toes straight, but the bigger you get the harder this gets. For me feet angle is an issue of hip flexibility and how loose my hip flexors feel at the time.