Debunking the BS- Should the knees shouldn’t go past toes in a squat?

Debunking the BS- Should the knees shouldn’t go past toes in a squat?


In the many years I have been a coach/trainer there has always been this myth about not letting your knees past your toes while squatting. No one is certain where this myth started. However, it has become a mainstay in today’s fitness and medical world. The instruction is even a part of the National Strength and Conditioning Associations (NSCA) guidelines for how to teach a proper squat.


The cue to limit the knees from moving past the toes during the squat is really nothing more than a quick fix to a deeper problem. In hindsight the originators of the cue were likely well-intentioned strength coaches or physical therapists.
When an athlete squats poorly, they often move from their ankles first. As the ankles move it causes the knees to hinge forward. The weight of the body is then shifted forward on to the balls of the feet. This type of movement problem has been called the “knees first” approach. Moving in this way leads to greater shear forces on the knee joint and contributes to increased risk of injury and eventually to pain
During lunge or squat movements, we should always emphasise beginning the movement by pushing the hips backwards before they lower towards the floor (a term referred to as “hip-hinging”) This avoids premature forward movement of the knee by shifting the hips backwards. As we continue to lower our body downward, this creates a healthy hinge effect at the knee, but there comes a time where the knee will begin to move forward in order to maintain our balance (keeping our centre of mass within our base of support). If you happen to have long limbs, then it is realistic to expect your knees to move forward over or beyond the toes. Any attempt to prevent this will result in either falling backwards or in bad squat or lunge technique which places increased loads into your low back.
So, in short. It is correct to avoid excessive forward movement of the knee during squatting and lunging movements. It is a myth, however, that you should “never let your knees go past your toes while doing a squat or lunge.”
Charlie James
Personal Trainer

New Benefits available to our Platinum Members!


Every month Platinum members are now entitled to –

2 sunbed tokens

1 free pass for a friend

Half price 30 minute sports massage at All Sports Rehab

15% discount on one item of hub clothing

£10 off a Personal Training Session*

Free eye test & 10% off glasses at Boots Opticians Portishead

20% discount on Physiotherapy and Chiropractic treatments at Optimus Portishead


This is on top of what we already offer!

Free Induction
Full access to gym and over 20 classes per week
State of the art equipment
Early opening times

Please speak to reception to claim your benefits.

*New Platinum members only.
Benefits cannot be accumulated or rolled over.

Hip Thrust: The Most Important Exercise You’re Not Doing!

What is a hip thrust? The Hip Thrust is a glute exercise designed to improve your strength, speed and power by teaching optimal hip extension. What is “optimal hip extension,” and why should you care about it? It’s all about the power in your glutes, which are among the most powerful muscles in your body. The glutes are designed to extend the hip or pull the leg behind the body. If your glutes are underdeveloped, your speed, power and strength are all compromised. That means you’ll have weaker Squats and Deadlifts

A lot of exercises that improve leg strength, like Leg Presses or Squats, don’t maximise hip extension. When we rack up the Leg Press with a bunch of weight, or only Squat halfway down—which is as far as people go when their thighs are parallel to the ground—we aren’t fully engaging our glutes. It may look cool to lift all that weight, but your glutes aren’t doing all of the work they could be or should be.

starting position:

To perform the exercise, all you need is a low bench or box and a barbell. If you use lighter weights, it can be hard to place the bar on your pelvis due to the size of the smaller plates. When you start lifting heavier with the bigger plates, it becomes a lot easier to set up for the lift, because your legs can slide under the bar. The bar should go directly on your upper thigh, directly below your crotch. Be careful for obvious reasons! The pressure can greatly increase when you start lifting heavier weights. Using a pad or towel helps relieve the pressure. Once you have the bar in your lap, the next thing to do is get set up for your first repetition. I find it most comfortable to place the edge of the bench pad across the middle part of the back—right below the shoulder blades. Your feet should be directly under your knees, so when you fully extend into the lift, your knees make a 90-degree angle with the ground. Your neck should always remain neutral. Pretend you have an egg under your chin throughout the lift—if you squeeze too hard, you’ll break it, or if you lift up your chin, you’ll drop it. Place your hands on top of the bar once you have lifted it off the ground.


Once you have taken the necessary steps to set up the thrust properly, use correct form throughout the lift. It’s important to engage your glutes throughout the lift. I spend a few seconds visualising my brain sending messages to my glutes to help my body understand where I should be “feeling it.” It is common for some athletes to feel it in their quads, hamstrings and lower back. I suggest moving your feet around until you feel your glutes maximally engaged. Once you have completed the upward portion of the thrust, tuck your butt under the bar. This is referred to as a posterior tilt. The lift should be executed smoothly with the glutes lifting the majority of the weight. It’s not the end of the world if you feel it in your lower back—but that’s probably a sign that it’s weak. If you perform it properly, you should feel a nice strong pump in your glutes after the fourth or fifth set.

Charlie James

Hub Personal Trainer.

New day, new beginnings, fresh chapters and NEW Timetables!

New day, new beginnings, fresh chapters and NEW Timetables!

Instructors who are focused on your safety, technique and committed to helping you achieve your goals.  Delivering a range of low impact, high impact and Wellness options designed to accommodate 21st century lives.  If you are tight for time,  choose from a selection of 30 minute classes, if you want to focus on strength or toning, or cardio, it’s all there, not forgetting HubSpin.

Time has been spent by all our professionally qualified Instructors designing and structuring the sessions that fit all lifestyles and  fitness levels.

Long gone are the days of so called ‘beasting’ sessions, where painful joints were deemed a sign of a good workout.  The hub wants to ensure you have the ability to maintain fitness as part of your life, long into retirement, protecting your body and making sure sessions can be adapted in times of injury.

For another year the Hub Membership of £29.99 will not be increasing,  for  less than £1.00 per day you have access to the gym and the full timetable, 7 days a week.  £65.00 per month includes all CrossFit classes, just over £2.00 per day – delivered by our amazing CrossFit Team led by Matt & Aneta.

The hub is a family run gym, focused on quality Instructors with an enthusiasm to push themselves further, with ongoing personal development & qualifications,  representing the latest approaches.

Take a look and start planning your schedule, the team are looking forward to seeing you!



I really couldn’t be happier! – Jade Alexander

These last few weeks have been some of the busiest and most exciting I can remember. This is the time of year when I would normally be winding down and taking time off over the Summer Holiday to recover from the last academic year before preparing for (and dreading) the term to come. However, this year things could not be more different.
Instead of taking time off I studied for and passed my CrossFit Level 1 coaching qualification, started regular shifts at The Hub, began coaching CrossFit classes as well as Spartan Circuits and Old Skool Conditioning, and am now taking on Personal Training clients. All of this while keeping up with my own training. Phew!

So it has been quite the whirlwind lately, but I have loved every minute. Of course there are many changes I am still getting used to – not least of all the early starts and late finishes, and the word Weekend ceasing to hold any meaning – but embracing the power of the nana nap has worked wonders in that respect.

I feel genuinely grateful that I can spend my day immersed in something I love, getting to know a whole range of friendly, motivated, and generally awesome people and being inspired by the energy of everyone who trains here at The Hub. I know this is only the beginning and there is lots of hard work to come, so I am spending every spare minute improving my knowledge and honing my practice through research and observing other trainers and coaches. For now my schedule is manic, my days infinitely varied, and my muscles sore; I really couldn’t be happier.

Jade x

Good news……. Well it’s all good news actually, apart from one imminent demise

Good news……. Well it’s all good news actually, apart from one imminent demise

Wow, what a year it has been so far, just over 4 months left and I am wondering how much more can happen!!

The very good news is that some of you have been asking how long we will be here in Portishead, clearly driven by the ongoing challenges with Old Mill Road, which I have been actively involved in for 2 years now. The great news is we will be here for quite some time and I am off to the Solicitors tomorrow to review the lease extension. Whatever your thoughts on the plans, if you are a resident, or have a keen interest then you really do need to register your thoughts by the end of this week. Every bit of feedback counts!

You also will not have failed to notice, especially if you are a social media expert, or find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of texts, that there have been other changes this year – enough to say that when you run a family business you cannot avoid some overlap in places and on occasion it becomes challenging.

Running a business comes with responsibility, responsibility to my loyal staff and the members and most importantly the responsibility to ensure that safety is a priority, whether that is through correct qualifications, techniques, insurances or simply the safety of others just being in the building. Professionalism is paramount and the expectation of the same from others is also a requirement.

Anyone that has moved on this year to new things we wish them the very best of luck.

If anyone wants to understand more about the professional standards we have, or any recent events please just come and find me, and we can talk it through – social media needs a rest.

Some sad news…….

The leg press is poorly and despite the efforts of Jeff, she cannot be saved, the defibrillator is on standby but sadly the end will come early September.

There will be a new kid on the block though so please be kind to them both as we say goodbye to an old friend and welcome her replacement.

In other news…….

We have some great ideas that we will be putting into practice over the coming months at both Portishead & Chepstow and as always there will be investment to keep it fresh.

Finding great people to work with is hard but as I write this, it is clear that I have the best team possible at the Hub, it takes time, but the time is worth it and making the right decisions is very important.

Crossfit Portishead…….

How great has this year been!! Aneta & Matt have been incredible in re-building the box and we have all learned so much from them. Also, we gained 3 newly qualified coaches this year, Charlie, Jade & Ben. Gaining these qualifications are not easy and not everyone can do it, great testament to their hard work & determination. Brilliant guys, thank you all so much.

As a reminder the Hub Team are:





Plus, all our lovely associate instructors and private rentals.

Finally thank you to you, our members and guests, I know we don’t please all of you all the time, but honestly, we do try.

Watch this space, more great things are coming and Matt & Aneta are getting married!

Claire plus Ava & Presley
Hub Gyms


Jade Alexander – Blog post – Its never too late to make a change!

Like a lot of people my age I had always felt the pressure to follow the cookie-cutter path of school, into university, and from there into a full-time vocational job which I would do for the rest of my life. And for the longest time I believed that this largely outdated, conveyor belt view of life was what I wanted and what would make me happy. For a while it did.

Then back in 2014 I joined a chain gym and started getting into health and fitness. It didn’t take long for me to become completely hooked! I would spend every evening in the gym after work and spend the working day looking forward to that time which was all mine, where I could work on myself, for myself and where the stresses of teaching full-time would just fall away.

Fast forward to 2017: As a Head of Department in a prestigious private school in Bristol work had never been so stressful. I had developed anxiety, wasn’t sleeping well, and was tired of basing my happiness and self-worth on how quickly (or not) I was rising through the ranks of teaching and into Senior Leadership. By this time I had joined the Hub where I also found CrossFit. The atmosphere in the gym, the huge number of classes on offer, and my CrossFit family transformed my love of fitness into a passion; I knew I had to chase that passion to be happy.

Thanks to Claire, the CrossFit coaches, and the rest of the team here at The Hub I am now a qualified Gym Instructor soon to complete my Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training as well as my Level 1 CrossFit coaching qualification. Suffice it to say, my life has changed completely these past few months. Has it all been easy? Nope. Has it been worth it? Absolutely! This new career has increased my confidence, made me happier in myself, and I genuinely wake up every morning excited for the day ahead now, instead of dreading what it might bring.

I’m so excited to share my experiences and to use them to help others on their journey to fitness and fulfilment. It’s never too late to make a change, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Jade x



Ladies Spring Blast Course in Chepstow


Our NEW Ladies Course in Chepstow starts Sunday 22nd April!

4 week course
Weekly focused session with Claire Cleeves
Online support
Weekly fitness videos
Measurements recorded

For just £65!!

To book your space or for more information email

Ladies Transformation Course in Chepstow with owner Claire starts Sunday January 14th.



Our next 6 week Ladies Transformation Course in Chepstow with owner Claire starts Sunday January 14th.

Looking for some extra motivation in the gym? Want to learn more about weight training? Want to feel more confident in the gym and change your lifestyle? This is for you!

Includes weekly sessions Sundays 8.30-9.30am plus full access to gym and classes
Workout videos
Nutritional advice
Online support
Induction to the gym

For more information drop us an email at

Price is £99 for the 6 week course.

Personal Training……how we can help you decide on the right thing for YOU ?

When all is said & done, it’s about YOU

Personal Training, PT, Programming, Coaching, On-Line Programming, Transformation, Physique, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Carbs, Protein, Fats, Bootcamp, and on and on and on…………………………………………


It’s a minefield out there and how are you supposed to know what is the right thing to do? ……more importantly how can you decide on the right thing for YOU?!


Health, Wellbeing, fitness and YOUR personal goals are the things that matter most to us at the Hub, which is why our current approach is to ensure that anyone associated with the Hub, in any capacity, whether they are directly employed, or Associates,  are suitably qualified, by that we mean we have seen evidence of their qualifications, they have proven in depth experience of the areas they specialise in, are available for you face to face and have deep knowledge in the specialist areas.


For example our coaches come from backgrounds of being multiple competitors over a number of years and/or have spent their money and effort in gaining the qualifications and /or practice exactly what they preach.


Theory will only get you so far, it is the experience of living and breathing it yourself and understanding that everyone is different, that sets the experts apart from those who just throw the theory at you and take a lazy approach to training others.


There are of course a lot of people that offer great on line programming, however, sadly, there are many that offer a poor or ineffective service. In particular the approach can be far from targeted towards the individual, they may not be appropriately qualified, lack proven experience and passion, have no experience over and above theory and will attempt to charge you a lot of money.  Some of the things to help you navigate around these issues:


  1. Look at their profiles (Facebook, Instagram, web etc). A professional profile is a strong indicator of the level of professionalism of the person.  Are they promoting their service & their experience? Or is it really just about them? Do they mix person elements of their life with professionalism?

  2. Check out their qualifications – have they completed their qualifications? Ask for copies, check the professional body they say they trained with. If they have been competitors or athletes, this is easy to check out.

  3. References – Ask for references from other satisfied customers & make sure this is a not a long list of their Facebook friends

  4. Expertise/Experience – Have they ever worked in a professional environment, i.e. a gym, Health & Wellbeing Centre, Athletic & Sports Clubs, Community Clubs are they, or have they ever been a professional/semi-professional athlete. If they have,  this could be a higher indicator of their experience and commitment to the ethos of Health & Wellbeing.


We are lucky at the Hub, (think of lucky as we commit to ensure),  we have an excellent cross section of expertise and knowledge. This means whatever your personal goals, starting level, or aspiration, we will be able to match you to the right professional to support you.


We are going to be spending some more  time looking at this particular sector,  with a view to enhancing our current offering for you.


Our view is that Health, Wellbeing, doing things correctly, safely and face to face motivation… all the things that impact your body (after all you only get one, unless you are a Kardashian), are some of the most important decisions you can make in life, which is why it is important you make the right choice and that we make sure you have the right information and options to do so.


Watch this space, more great things are coming.



Hub Gyms



In the meantime a reminder of the Hub Professionals:


Claire Cleeves – Hub Owner

Claire’s focus is ensuring people feel confident about being in a gym environment. A fully qualified Personal Trainer  of many years, Claire also enjoys teaching classes and running Body Transformation Courses. She remains focused on constantly increasing her knowledge including; Crossfit, Crossfit Kids and Weightlifting to name a few.  As the mother of 2 small children Claire doesn’t just understand the theory of fitness post pregnancy and the difficulty of fitting it in, she has done it,  so an advise from a place of experience and Will Do/Can Do/Did Do.  This outweighs theory every time.


Andy Cleeves – Epic Martial Arts Owner

Andy has been on the Kickboxing circuit for  many, many years. A former World Champion Kick boxer,  his style of training is unique. Andy is a subject matter expert in Strength and  plyometric training for which he and his clients an athletes benefit from measured results. Andy owns a successful Martial Arts Club where he also trains individuals from 4 upwards.  Andy’s experience comes from a place of in depth experience and remember this is his professional full time job.

Jeff Nutt

Personal Trainer, Bodybuilding European Champion 2005 and placed in Mr. Universe 2007 and 2009  Geoff specialists in Bodybuilding Competition Training, Transformation & Physique.  Jeff is unique in his style and proves popular across the board.


Charlie James

Personal Trainer with a personal passion & expertise in Calisthenics, Strength training and most recently CrossFit.  Charlie is one of the most passionate individuals in the world of Health & Fitness

James Allen

Personal Trainer and placed third place in UKFDA 2016, his first competition.  James has a personal interest & specialises in Competitive Bodybuilding and training for Aesthetics.  James is competing again in 2018.

Sarah Matjyasik

Personal Trainer.  Competed in British PCA finals in 2016 and 2017. Specialises in training for Aesthetics. Passionate about Nutrition, Weight Management and lifestyle change.




Rakan Sabbah

Personal Trainer.  Specialist in Plyometric Training together with expertise in many other specialist areas. Also a competitive kick boxer and most recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach.



Feel free to speak to myself or Andy, if you are unsure about any of the options available. Whether these options are via the Hub or elsewhere and we will always give you an honest response.  After all why wouldn’t we, this is our business, our personal enjoyment and the way we run our lives.


I hope you have found this helpful and we look forward to speaking with you.



Hub Gyms