T Nation


I have got a few questions on the squat, and i would like everybody who has experiences with the squat to answer. notice i said experiences rather than just opinions, of course experiences and scientific fact/evidence is what i am really looking for. so here goes.

i would like to know how to perform the powerlifting squat. the way i squat is for athletic purposes and i have my feet just wider than shoulder width with my feet turned out slightly and try to keep my back as upright as possible. i always squat to parallel or below.

secondly i was performing the overhead squat the other day and one of the other gym members noticed that my knees were moving slightly passed my toes when viewed from the side, even though i was sitting back. he then told me that the lowest point of the squat should be when the knees are over the toes. if not and they moved passed the toes, i would fuck my knees up and not be able to walk in ten years.

normally random comments from gym rats don’t phase me, but where the squat is concerned i always err on the side of caution. so are there any old timers lurking on the forum who have squatted deep all their life and have excellent knees? so does this knee thing matter that much? just so you know, when i squat, my knees never go more than a centimeter over my toes anyway.

before beginning the squat i create a tight arch in my back by rotating my pelvis backwards. towards the bottom of the squat my back starts to round losing the tight arch. let me clarify. it doesn’t become rounded, it stays flat but is not a tightly arched as when i begin the movement. is this what happens to you guys aswell?

hope you all reply and thanks for taking the time to read this. if any of this is unclear please tell me and i will clear it up.


Dont cheapen my name :)p

I am 41 and have been squatting ass to the grass since I started lifting at age 17 and my knees are fine. This is probably because of good technique and because I am 5’9". Shorter lifters have shorter levers and less strain on the joints during stress. This is opposite for taller lifters. The problem you are having with maintaining a tight arch in your back may be helped by doing some good mornings and ab strengthing(low reps/heavy weight) exercises.Also box sqautting will do the most to strengthen the primary squat muscles. Read Dave Tates article in the back issues of t-mag.This article will also be a good introduction to the powe squat. Peace. Ken.

To fully engage the quads, the toes should travel past the toes. That’s why you initiate the Barbell Hack Squat by moving the knees forward as far as possible, then bending at the hips. Just look at pics of the top olympic lifters, and I haven’t heard of any great epidemic of olympic lifters with knee problems.

The powerlifting squat is performed by taking a wide stance, arching your back and reaching your but back as you sit. Your back does not need to stay perpendicular to the ground but you should try not to lean forward more than 45 degrees. If you watch your shins, not reccomended with max weights but you can do it either with an empty bar, they should hardly travel forward. I’ve heard of some lifters shins staying vertical and not moving at all but this is rare. It is more of a reaching back than squatting straight down.

Now on the overhead squat, a variation of an Oly squat, the shins will travel forward, past the toes. This is OK, read other posts. It will actually help with flexibility in the ankles, knees, hips (the important triple extension) as well as the shoulders.

If you like the Ian King classifacation system the powerlifting squat would be hip dominant, the Olympic squat and its variations are quad dominant

I’m not an oldtimer (25yrs old) but I have been squatting since I was 13 and have never had a knee problem. Actually before I started squatting I had many knee problems.

I’ve been squatting - both to parallel and ass to heels - for 25 years (I’m 40 now) and have no knee problems. I’m also 6’1", with long levers, and it hasn’t hurt me a bit.

Tell your gym friend that he’s full of it. Why should squats be any different from any other lift? When you perform a curl, do you make sure that your elbow stays “behind” your shoulder? Of course not. What’s so magical about squats?

The rule for any exercise is: if it doesn’t hurt while you’re doing it, it’s okay for you.