The term “knees out” can mean a lot, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. When squatting coaches yell it, it’s because doing so will load your gluteus muscles and hips into action to help shoot yourself out of the squat, not to mention protect your fragile tendons. In other words, shooting the knees out will create power through your hips and butt.
Now, this is always hard for most exercisers, even elite level ones, so don’t feel bad if you struggle a little. The issue is that most blokes are unable to press their knees out while keeping their feet flat at that the same time. If this happens then you may have a problem related to mobility or strength issues in most cases, but the serious problem is during sport.
In a gym setting you can shoot your knees out because you are in a control state, such as while squatting or deadlifting. However, during sport you are moving on instinct and reaction. When you try to develop power from the ground to your hips, your feet cannot stay grounded in the gym.
What happens in this sports setting is that your feet will stay grounded and the force will drive up the legs where the knees shot inward, causing a whole lot of tension on the tendons of the knee, which results in a knee injury.
Correcting this is something that needs to be eased into to, you won’t be able to achieve the optimal stance overnight if you have poor flexibility and strength. However, the more you work at it, the easier it will become.
Remaining in a full squat position simulates the natural stance that was most comfortable to you before you became accustomed to chairs. Babies and young children are often seen in perfect squatting form and this is mainly because society has not screwed up their mobility and joint structure yet.
Without the correct mechanics of squatting, you are opening the door to injury. The ideal way to reteach your squat is by holding on to a rail or straps, and squat as low as your can (using the rail or straps for balance) and, when you get to the bottom of your squat, shoot your knees out over your toes, opening up your hips and firing your gluteus muscles.
This simple exercise will help improve your motor skill and muscular structure to perform this movement without assistants. It will take time but being able to achieve this pattern will not only increase the amount of power your can produce, but it will also reduce that amount of unneeded stress on your body.
In other words, a deeper squat with your knees out equals to better gluteus activation, better hamstring lengthening, and better hips mobility. This all means less chance of injury