The ankles are not bending enough

Common Mistake

The knees are not being pulled forward enough through bending of the ankles (ankle dorsiflexion).

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Bend the ankles more and bring the shins more toward a diagonal position. Another way to think about this is to drop the knees forward but this needs to be paired with the hips going down and back as well. A good squat movement involves bending at three joints, the ankles, knees, and hips. The knees come forward, the hips go down and back, and the shoulders stay high and preferably above the ankles.


This is a common mistake in anything with a squat movement, for example, the kettlebell racked squat, dead clean, hang clean, and dead snatch.

The result of this common mistake is usually that there is more bend at the hips than ankles and knees which brings the shoulders excessively forward, i.e. the torso more toward being diagonal which increases load on the lower back and can decrease potential power generation.

For the clean, this common mistake can also result in the weight not being directly under the shoulders because the torso is leaning over the weight. For a good powerful pull it’s best to have the placed directly under the shoulder(s).

Here’s an example that is not very excessive. The red dots show where the joints are positioned, and the green dots show where the joints should be for optimal form.

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