Squat Anatomy: Identifying Valgus Collapse

Written by Gray Cook Monday, June 30, 2014 FMS Pod Casts

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Question: You mentioned during the lecture that the feet externally rotating and the knees collapsing inward into valgus were the same issue, can you expand on this topic?


  • The deep squat is designed different from the regular squat. (More on this idea
  • Do not think of just the foot or just the knee.
  • Without adequate traction on the ground, your feet will externally rotate, if you do not have enough hip and pelvic control.  This is a compensatory pattern where the glut max and the IT band (which are both used as abductors on an extended hip) become tibial external rotators as the hip and knee flex.
  • The only muscle in the body that can hold a stable femoral position in the presence of triple flexion (at the ankle, knee, and hip) is the glut medius.
  • What happens once the glut medius activates.
  • The definition of “valgus” is when the tibial tuberosity or the center of the knee cap falls inside the foot.
  • If a valgus collapse is seen, do not try to correct this by widening the feet.
  • The knees should be as lateral as possible, without the big toe coming off of the ground.
  • The patella, or knee cap, does not track laterally.
  • The trick to training stabilization is not by isolating stabilizers and repping them to fatigue.
  • Instead, the trick to training stabilization is by resetting the timing.
  • Individuals having issues squatting at, or slightly below, parallel with valgus collapse and poor control should not be squatting.
  • The deadlift and its benefits


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  • author

    Danny 4/24/2013 11:41:50 AM

    Can you, please, explain a little more in depth what "resetting the timing" implies and how can that be taught?

  • author

    Brandon Owen 4/24/2013 11:41:58 AM

    Timing refers to Motor Control.  This is how the central nervous system and the muscles in the body communicate.  Many times this communication gets disrupted, causing poor movement such as valgus collapse.  Once all other medical conditions are cleared, the motor control needed to prevent valgus collapse may still not return to normal.  This is where corrective exercises come in to help reset movement.  A commonly used corrective for valgus collapse is the RNT squat with abduction.  Put a band around the knees and pull someone further into valgus during the squat pattern, and their body will automatically abduct the hips and knees.  You're magnifying the problem "valgus collapse" to make them aware of it so their central nervous system can react appropriately.

    Hope this helps!! 

  • author

    Aquiles 3/23/2015 3:09:43 PM

    A lot of people tries to correct this valgus collapses by working abductors and think this will do the trick. Don't forget that this pattern of knee collaps is a collaboration of glute medius no been activated and tebialis anterior muscle no been able to support normal dorsiflexion at the ankle joint, so in order to fix this issues, this two factors needs to be addressed !! Ankle dorsiflexion and flutes medius activation !!