Have you ever had a coach tell you toes out in your squat and wondered why it is? An athlete’s knees will track over the feet for the squat. If an athlete has their feet pointed straight ahead, then the knees will track straight ahead and therefore not optimal for strength production. For the vast majority of athletes anatomically speaking the positioning of the femur and how it attaches into the hip joint leads the feet pointed slightly outward to being the most optimal for mobility concerns, especially to avoid possible impingements. Most importantly however, rotating your feet outward slightly will put your glutes in a more optimal positioning for power production. Your glutes are lateral rotators of the thighs, so when your toes are pointed inwards the glutes are in a more lengthened position which leads to less power production. Turning the toes slightly outward puts them at the optimal length for both squatting and the Olympic lifts. Remember that this will work for most athletes meaning about 99%, so there may always be that one athlete who has a different anatomy for squatting. Especially when an athlete complains of pain in the front of the hip, proper mobility testing is needed to assess.
Proper feet placement for the squat and starting position of the clean or snatch.