T Nation

Mat for Squatting


Let's try posting this again

The purpose of this thread is to figure out what people think, and to see if there are any potential problems with either the device or anything to do with trying to squat with feet parallel the whole time.

This picture is an idea I had after meeting with the guys from CP last september and after being evaluated by my physical therapist a few months back.

The problem in my lower back (besides pain) was found to originate with an externally rotated right foot. (There are other factors, but this is one I'm focusing on here.)

It was found after the following tests:
-Close eyes, start marching in place, and start moving forward. After about 20' of marching, I was 5-10' to the left
-Squat down without weight, barefoot. My right foot started to slide out 2-4" around parallel.
-Jump up in the air and see where feet land. Right foot, externally rotated. Awesome; sike!

So my thought was to maybe make a "Squat Mat" with lines to keep the feet in the correct position. This is because I've always found it hard to figure where I started and where I ended. This device would be a good indicator of that.

**I know many squatters like to have a wide stance and keep both toes pointed out; and that's fine. This isn't meant to be something to train for competing. I don't squat in competitions so this is purely for monitoring/rehab.

So yeah, let me know what you all think.


Why not find the "ideal" foot placement and paint 2 footprints there to aim at?


Go for it. What do I think? I wouldn't use it. If you think it would help you, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?


I think its a good idea. Its definitely worth a shot to see if your body can automatically maintain the correct position after continuous use of the guides.


how did your foot possibly move mid-squat? If they're sliding (which is unusual anyway, you could chalk the bottom of your feet or use a slightly sticky substance such as a rosin bag or similar)

It seems solving your problem could be better approached 2 fold:
1) set your feet and dont move them, with proper load I dont really see how they could move.
2) address the muscle imbalance, joint problems, scar tissue, etc. that could be causing the problems in the first place. By forcing your body to move in a way its not used to and isnt comfortable you could cause more problems in surrounding or antagonist muscles.


b/c laying down a few pieces of tape is easier. :wink:

but i like the foot print idea.


it doesn't. i figured i'd put it out there in case someone else has done this i guess. just looking for general feedback i suppose.


it moved b/c of my imbalances. my right foot "wants to" be externally rotated. so when i set up a squat with parallel feet and then squat...the pressure makes my foot 'want to' turn outward.

you are looking at it too simplistically. they way your seeing it is like saying "got a problem, fix it; duh" haha

i'd LOVE to set my feet and not move them. however my body says otherwise. even with bodyweight it wants to turn out.

as far as addressing my imbalances; i am. i'm doing lots of hip movement, single leg work, mobility and foam rolling shit too.

this external rotation IS unnatural and i'm trying to fix it. so trying to keep my feet parallel isn't me forcing my body to move in a way it's not used to. it's an attempt to fix it.

the ER of my foot turns my knee out, which pulls my hips forward (lordosis) and left me open for a pretty shitty back injury a few years ago. of course this isn't the only reason for the injury; but it is most defiantly a factor.


I have issues with this new wave of movement assessments. Like many other "tests", you can evaluate 100 people or however many you want. You will find 25-50% of that population positive for this disorder or that dysfunction. It doesn't mean there is a problem, or if there is a problem then that will be the solution.

Ever watch elite Olympic Weightlifters? Those movement screen gurus would have a field day.


I see what your saying here but I got these 'tests' b/c I had an injury. I screwed my back up pretty bad; and listening to the advice has really helped me so far. I might be a minority...but it's working.

But like I said; I know what ya mean.


I think it's a good idea to try it out but in my experience I wasn't able to squat below parallel without tipping over if I kept my feet locked into being perfectly parallel. I don't think having parallel feet will help exactly but I think having both feet at the same, consistent angle will. Thus, a mat or device that will allow you line up your feet at comfortable angle which is the same for both feet would probably be a good idea.

I actually have a similar problem to you B rocK, right foot is constantly externally rotated. For example, when I lie on my back my right foot naturally turns out and I need to hook my left foot over my right to keep it in line. Similar to you my right foot is always turned out more when I squat, and do other movements, and it has a tendency to want to turn out more the further below parallel I go. Also similar to you I screwed my back up pretty good because of it. The external rotation makes my hips misaligned and thus my right foot seems longer than the other, I has doing heavy deadlifts and this misalignment caused me to pull my left erector because it was constantly being pulled because of the misalignment in the hips.

Since we seem to have a similar problem I'd really like to learn more about what is working for you. I have been doing the following that seem to help:
-Seeing a chiro that does ART, I leave black and blue but my hips are more symmetrical.
-Foam rolling, stretching, mobility work, specifically these movements:
1. Stand on the right foot, bring the left leg up so your thigh is parallel to the floor, rotate your hips to the right.
2. Internal Rotation stretch Cressey recommends (lie on your back bring your knees together and down).
3. Lie on your back (try to make your low back touch the ground) and then actively try to "work" your hip mobility i.e. pull your right knee to your right pec, pull it across your body to your left pec, hold for a stretch, repeat. Sort of like pulling your knee to do hip circles.


What I don't understand is why you are aiming to squat with feet parallel, particularly when having this problem.

There's nothing wrong with squatting with the toes pointed moderately outwards.




Functional movement screens are somewhat common in the injury rehabilitation setting and like many other tests and exercises born there they make there way into strength and conditioning. Movement screens can be a very good tool, but my problem with it is that it is the epitome of "when the only tool in your box is a hammer,"

Asymmetries are naturally occurring in nature and in people. Because of structural anomalies, such as anteverted/retroverted hips or tibial torsion, a person's foot will always rotate no matter what.

I hear what your saying, it's just that I'm from a different back camp.


Is it because they would or would not display movement disfunctions? Can you clarify what you meant?


I do pretty much all of those actually haha.

I'm also taking the summer (3mo) off from any squatting and deadlifting.

I do tons of single leg work (lunges, single leg stiff leg deads, pistol squats, step ups, RDLs etc..) and DB/KB swings and pull throughs. I also bought a new work chair b/c I am a desk jockey...it's the kneeling chair.

Even if all of this won't make my feet stay 100% parallel, that is fine. It is working to relieve pain in my back, which will allow it to heal and get strong(er). That's all I'm aiming for. If when I start squatting and pulling again, it turns out and no pain comes from it; that's fine by me. I just need to do something to give my back time to recoup.


It's just a weakness that caused an injury (according to a couple professionals whom I trust) and I'm doing what I can to address it.

Like my previous post says, even if all this does is open a window of time for my back to actually heal, that's all I'm looking for (at the least).

When I was back squatting heavy, I had both toes pointed out a bit and it felt fine. So if things fall in place, I'll probably go back to that. It is way more stable that way for heavy weight.


I believe that even if your feet are both pointed forward, parallel, that squat in which you are pushing your knees out will still cause your femur to externally rotate. I think this is something you're going to have to fix with stretching, soft tissue corrective work, dynamic mobility, etc