Does it really matter if your knees go past your toes during a squat?

We Asked Trainers To Decode 9 Confusing Gym Phrases

Translation: “Set your hips back before you bend your knees.”

This is one of the most common squat and lunge form notes in the book, but as it turns out, there’s nothing inherently bad about letting your knees go past your toes. “I appreciate where people are coming from [with this cue], but rather than focusing on where your knees are going, you should focus on setting your hips back and loading through your glutes,” says exercise physiologist Joel Seedman, Ph.D., owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta, Georgia. So, really, the goal is to hinge forward at your hips and set them back before you bend your knees (this order is key). That way your butt and hamstrings are doing most of the work instead of your quads.

Hinging your hips and using your glutes often means that your knees naturally won’t go over your toes, but if they still do, it’s NBD—bodies are built differently. “As human beings moving around in life, our knees can go past our toes. It’s natural,” says Jennifer Leah Gottlieb, NASM certified personal trainer and founder of JLG Fitness.

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