I’ve heard people say “I can’t even do bodyweight squats with feet straight or in a low angle” yet only back-squat with their toes pointed out 45°+
It’s not a recipe for long term joint health. Continuing loaded squats may keep your ‘muscles’ strong, but you could benefit from a bigger foundational layer of joint health.
It’s hard to predict exactly what may be limiting you personally. The boring answer is ‘‘probably be some combination of your hips, knees, ankles or toes.’’
If you’re currently doing weighted squats in your routine pain free, then keep it up. However, you should be adding to your routine some training on improving that aspect. Don’t worry about not being able to do it today, but definitely work towards being able to squat with your feet straight.
I wouldn’t recommend you keep weighted squats if it’s causing pain, or are coming off of a recent injury. So just know what the above paragraph won’t apply to everyone. Moving on!
4 movements that can help identify weak points in your squat
- Hip Internal Rotation
Hip IR is the fundamental movement of the hip. The more control you have in IR the more ‘joint space’ and capacity you can have in expressing movement in the other ranges.
2. Tibial Internal Rotation
Tibial rotation is necessary for keeping the knees in line with the ankles during a deep squat. You may or may not have asssed this before.
3. Patellar movement
The patella should be able to move in all directions. Like a clock, it should be able to reach 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, etc. all the way until 12. Do you want a full depth squat and healthy knees? If so, your patella has to be part of the picture of things to consider.
4. Ankle Inversion/Eversion
Due to the anatomy of the ankle, every movement involves some level of rotation. So even if you think you’re lacking in a linear movement like plantarflexion/dorsiflexion, checking out your rotational capacity is like checking the foundation first. Build from the ground up!
If you want to be able to do bodyweight squats with your feet straight, then you should acknowledge that this will require training both passive and activeranges of motion. Expanding ranges of motion passively and learning to control the new ranges actively.