The Most Common FMS Squat Question

Written by Gray Cook Wednesday, June 18, 2014 FMS Pod Casts

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Question: Why it is important to maintain toes forward in a deep squat test on the Functional Movement Screen?


  • The normal squat is an exercise and the Functional Movement Screen is not testing your knowledge of exercise - it is testing your movement
  • A round back and feet pointed out during a relaxed squat is not necessarily a bad thing
  • Do not bring exercise rules into movement patterns
  • Once most people turn their toes out, they do not keep their knees in line or slightly outside of the foot
  • The best and strongest foot position in a regular squat is with an out-turn
  • A movement screen is not measuring anything
  • In the FMS deep squat-- toes forward, feet at shoulder width or slightly wider.
  • The out-turn is removed from the FMS deep squat
  • Those individuals who turn their toes out prefer to squat valgus, anteriorly tilt the pelvis, and pronate the feet.
  • With a narrow base, you are showing that even in a tight situation, movement is still present
  • The heel lift gives a mechanical advantage to those people who need an out-turn
  • Downhill trajectory to make the core fire better
  • A heel lift helps people with mobility and/or stability problems

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  • author

    Brian Cox, DC, PT 11/6/2015 3:37:08 PM

    Can you please elaborate on the mechanics of how the heel lift for the deep squat enhances core stability?  Thanks.

  • author

    Kyle Barrow FMS 11/6/2015 8:40:13 PM


    That is a great question !

    The heel lift provides an anterior weight shift, in such way provides a mechanical advantage and changes the requirements of postural stability by providing an anterior weight shift facilitating "core stability". We see a mechanical advantage in the ankles that actually aids anyone who may have a dorsiflexion restriction in the ankle. 
    During a deep squat exercise (not screen) the outturn of the feet also provides a mechanical advantage; it creates a wider base, and it does not challenge pelvic control or hip medial range of motion to maximize capability. In reference to the FMS deep squat screen we don't allow this, but feet pointing straight does challenge hip range of motion more.
    So, the heel lift provides an anterior weight shift facilitating stability, eases the requirements for ankle dorsiflexion and facilitates a proper weight shift and leveling of the pelvis.

    I hope this helps

  • author

    Raj 3/8/2018 10:35:12 AM

    Hi, I have always wondered whether long femurs change the mechanics of the deep squat - and need mechanical advantage aid by default. My femurs are long (and my body is short by comparison) and so when I squat my centre of gravity gets thrown behind me - and it seems an inordinate amount of dorsiflexion is required to get that weight back over my feet.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.