I’m sure most of you on here know how to squat, or have at least done it before. And I’m sure almost all of you have been told the same cue when squatting.
“Push your hips back”
While I wont say that is the wrong way to squat, I will say that it is an extremely inefficient way to squat. Inefficient meaning you’re dumping energy into less than optimal positions, that will take away from your ability to lift more weight and recruit more muscle engagement.
Above is the way I see most people try to squat. Hips are pushed back, back is hyper extended to keep the chest up, and the knees are behind the toes.
This is how most people should squat. Notice the knees PAST the toes, hips are sunk low, and the back is vertical and FLAT, not arched.
Now I know most of you have probably always heard that the knees coming forward in the squat is bad because it puts too much pressure on your knee joint, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The knees coming forward in the squat is only dangerous when the squat mechanics are off.
Check out the picture below.
On the left you have an extremely efficient squat position. Notice the bar high on the lifters back directly over the middle of foot (center of gravity) and the back flat and upright, keeping the hips close to the center of gravity. This will allow for maximal quad recruitment when coming out of the bottom position and it will also reduce strain on the back because the vertebra are stacked on top of each other.
On the right you will see the bar out in front of the center of gravity and much lower on the lifters back. The knees behind the toes which cause the hips to be further away from the center of gravity which creates a more horizontal spine. This can cause a lot of stress on the back to keep the bar/chest from falling forward further which would result in the lifter falling down.
To me the answer is obvious, when it comes to efficiency and safety, get that back up, those hips low, and those knees forward.