Two people doing squats

5 Common Technical Errors Performed During Squats

Author: CHKD Sports Medicine
Published Date: Wednesday, February 01, 2017

By: Grace Murphy, DPT, CHKD Sports Medicine

A squat is one of the most functional movements we do on a daily basis. It is also one of the most common exercises used in strength and conditioning.

A squat involves symmetrical, functional mobility and stability of the ankles, knees, hips, thoracic spine, scapular region, and shoulders. It challenges total body mechanics and neuromuscular control. You should be able to perform this movement perfectly regardless of your sport.

To get the most out of your workout, avoid these movement patterns: 

1. Heel Lift Off
The foot position should be flat and stable while performing a squat. Ankle mobility is critical during a squat in order to maintain balance and control of motion. Stiffness in the ankle joint or tightness in the gastrocnemius-soleus complex may lead to poor dorsiflexion range of motion.

2. Dynamic Knee Valgus
The knees should maintain a position aligned with the hips and feet. Dynamic knee valgus occurs when the knee collapses medially during a squat. The ligaments and tendons that stabilize the knee are vulnerable when the knees are not in alignment.

3. Knees Going Over Toes
Some anterior knee translation is needed and normal during a squat. Excessive forward motion of the knee can cause increased shear and compressive forces at the knee joint.

4. Curved Back 
The angle of the trunk in relation to the ground should remain constant during the entire movement. A curved back may be the result of not stabilizing the lumbar spine or tightening the core. This leads to increased sheer and compressive forces on the lumbar spine.

5. Downward Gaze
Forward gaze and neutral head alignment should result in a more optimal position of the trunk.  A downward gaze increases the chance of greater trunk flexion and dysfunctional movement pattern.

Proper Squatting Technique

CHKD Sports Med_Proper Squat Position


1. Fry AC, Smith JC, and Schilling BK. Effect of knee position on hip and knee torques during the barbell squat. J Strength Cond Res 17: 629–633, 2003.

2. Kritz M, Cronin J, Hume P. The bodyweight squat: A movement screen for the squat pattern. Strength Cond J 2009;31:76-85.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.