I am trying to increase my range of motion on squats. The old Ass to Grass action. Anyway I am making progress not letting my knees go beyond my toes. The question is when I point my toes out and let my knees go past the sides of my feet I can squat further. Am I asking for injury?
Do you mean that your legs are "bowing out" so to speak? Yes, that's asking for injury. It's putting the load on connective tissue much more than it should be.
Increasing ROM is going to take increased flexibility, and your knees very well may have to travel in front of your toes. This is NOT dangerous when other elements of form are in place, namely driving through your heels/middle of your foor. It's shifting the weight forward onto your toes that causes the problems, as shearing forces go way up.
I don't think it is possible to squat ATG without your knees going over your toes. The old, "don't let your knees go over your toes" isn't exactly the case. If you started your descent and your knees are very forward and you haven't reached parallel, that isn't good because all the weight is on your quads and knees. However, as you get lower into your squat (getting below parallel) your hips bear more of the weight.
Like the other guy said, you have to make sure you keep driving the weight through the heels. If you lack flexibility in any area, such as your ankles, your weight will be shifted forwards..very unsafe while squatting! Get familiar with just the bar in front and back squats and take it slow to get accustomed to the range of motion. Good luck.
Eric Cressey has a good article called "You Dont Know Squat" that explains common squatting problems pretty well. The guys are right, the "no knees past the toes" cliche is not true. A good study recently came out with that showing how proper squatting requires the knees to move past that magical line. All I can say is get a stance that you're comfortable with and sit back into it. The load should definitely not dominate over the toes. Trust your posterior and don't use a load too heavy too soon. Also, don't ignore flexibility especially around the calves if you have knee/heel problems.
Squats are hard to diagnose without seeing. I've asked guys on here questions related to form and we all say the same thing..."hard to say".
That whole "knees past the toes" cliche is something that personal trainers loves to say when they're teaching the walking lunge and such. It's like the only thing they can say that makes them sound smart to their gullible client.