AvatarKatie Hemphill

Hey Craig,

There has been some discussion on this board lately regarding squatting with your feet straight, and I think some of it bears a brief reiteration.
Basically, K-Star recommends a foot-forward stance for several movements because it (a) allows you to create a more stable platform for movement, (b) makes it easier to maintain the structural integrity of the foot (not collapsing the arches), and (c) it will translate better to having a straight forward foot position in sport and life when you apply your fitness.
That said, a parallel squat stance represents an ideal that can really only be effectively employed in training if one has pretty awesome mobility. This is why it serves as a good test to see if you’re still missing some corners in your squat (and it’s not just K-Star who uses it for this purpose). While slowly making your climb towards Leopardom, however, you have to respect your current level at all times, and utilize the stance that lets you move the best. (You are wise to have not loaded the feet-straight squat). As your mobility improves, you may find you’re able to slowly bring the feet in more and more until you achieve that ideal. Or maybe not. We’re not all built the same.
This is something that I think needs to be cleared up, because the parallel squat stance seems to be the biggest criticism of Mobility WOD, and has driven too many people away from all the invaluable content that Starrett and his crew have to offer. I have interpreted the message not as “you MUST squat with your feet parallel”, but rather that you should work to have the capacity to do so, because it represents a high degree of motor control and mobility.
In regards to your ankle testing, if you’re finding that your feet collapse as you get into a parallel deep squat you may not be testing your ankle ROM in the correct position. Make sure you are pointing your knee towards your little toe as you push your knee forward, not straight ahead, and see if that influences your results. Otherwise, the issue may be one of motor control more than anything.