Why Do We Need A Shoe With A Heel/Something Under Our Heel To Squat?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Big H, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Big H

    Big H Blue Belt

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    Squatting seems like something very natural and beneficial to humans.

    Why do we need something under our heels to get the most out of squatting?

    I definitely find it easier doing ATG with something under my heels but what is the mechanics


    p.s im not sure if they is a big difference for people who squat just below parrallel
     
  2. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    Who told you that you need it? It can be helpful for people with poor ankle mobility, it's not needed.
     
  3. Big H

    Big H Blue Belt

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    Well every oly lifter uses oly shoes which have a significantly raised heel, so it must allow them to do deep squats with the best form compared to flat soled shoes or barefoot etc.
     
  4. milano

    milano I am the Walrus

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    Pretty much this.
     
  5. Milligram Smile

    Milligram Smile White Belt

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    Equip for the Quest ? Shoes Part 2

    "The additional heel that weightlifting shoes provide is pretty important too. Some heel lift puts the foot at enough of an angle so that the shin has some forward angle which slightly allows the knee to be flexed more. This little bit o’ knee flexion allows more quadriceps to be involved in pulling or squatting. This is good because it increases the efficiency of the movement, and it adds in more muscles to the movement. As a general rule, more muscles = good, less muscles = bad, ooga booga.


    However, the heel height is dependent on how you pull the bar off the ground. Conventional weightlifting exaggerates the heel lift because they want the bar over the balls of the feet along with ankle flexibility considerations. The problem is that
     
  6. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    Increased quadricep involvement is not something I aim for in my squats.
     
  7. milano

    milano I am the Walrus

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  8. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Speaking to this in particular, people are adapted to do many things sufficiently well, not excel at anyone thing. So while squatting is a natural motion, it does not mean we're adapted to squat optimally, since that would interfere with other activities.

    A raised heel can improve biomechanics, and result in a better balance between posterior chain involvement and quadriceps use while squatting. It also allows a lifter to be more upright during this motions. It does not have anything to do with ankle flexibility. Here's a quick experiment. Perform a body weight squat with something under the balls of the feet (like a piece of wood, or a thick book for each foot). You'll notice that you're much more bent over...like a squat-morning. Compare this to how you squat with nothing under your feet, and then withe the object under your heel.

    Now it's entirely possible that certain indidviduals would squat optimally with a flat soled shoe and not a raised heel. But for the vast majority, a Oly shoe improves squat mechanics.
     
  9. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    I have been shamed by Tosa.
     
  10. Big H

    Big H Blue Belt

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    I see, thanks.

    Tried what you said and you're right.

    Is it to do with the heel being raised making the foot more perpendicular to the shin

    A pic for your troubles.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Don't feel bad. You're a big enough man to admit it, and not start an e-fight or make a stupid comment. Here, you can have this picture until you feel better.

    [​IMG]

    That, which in turn helps keep the weight on the heels. To add to the experiment mentioned earlier, if when squatting with something under the balls of your feet, you really try not to turn it into a squat morning, and/or let your knees travel forward a bit, you'll find that you can't keep your weight on your heels.
     
  12. Searcher

    Searcher Yellow Belt

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    Tosa, can you provide another example of how the oly squats don't affect flexibility? I have always thought the opposite and want to have a better understanding of it.

    Are you saying the level of ankle flexion is always the same?
     
  13. Justice 4 All

    Justice 4 All Brown Belt

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    So if a raised heel is widely necessary, why are converses so popular?
     
  14. Searcher

    Searcher Yellow Belt

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    Because they are cheap. And its not just a raised heel, its a solid raised heel. Somewhat minor difference in weight.
     
  15. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    It's not that the amount of dorsiflexion stays the same, but it limits the amount of dorsiflexion required, as well as making sure that when dorsiflexion does occur it's easier to keep the weight on the heels.

    I suppose if someone was incredibly flexible some of those issues could possibly be avoided, but olympic lifters, on average, are signifcantly more flexible than the average person, and still benefit from an elevated heel.

    Here's an article on the history of weightlifting shoes:
    Why Weightlifting Shoes?

    Not necessary, but usually beneficial. Converses are popular because you can buy them in stores instead of only online, and cost signifcantly less.
     
  16. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    You don't need something under your heel to squat (unless you have ankle mobility issues).

    The argument about balancing posterior chain and quad involvement can be argued.

    In any case, oly shoes having nothing to do with ankle flexibility is a false statement. They have a lot to do with it.
     
  17. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    I agree with this.

    This is the main point. If these are balance they can both contribute more fully, which means more weight lifted.

    Someone would have to have absurdly flexible ankles to be able to squat with the same mechanics in chucks as with oly shoes.
     
  18. Klotz

    Klotz Shalom

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    Because you're inflexible. Practice doing the Asian squat.
     
  19. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    Well, I don't understand what exactly you mean by "balanced", but generally speaking I would think quad and posterior chain involvement is quite balanced in a high-bar squat regardless of raised heel or not.

    A raised heel is important in oly lifts, where squatting as low as possible is important to lift heavier weights (the less deep you can squat, the less weight you can snatch or clean). The limiting factor in depth in a front or an overhead squat is ankle mobility. A raised heel compensates for that and allows for a greater shin angle relative to the floor, thus allowing the lifter to squat deeper.

    That is why a raised heel is used in oly shoes.


    EDIT: ...speaking of weightlifting shoes:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  20. Big H

    Big H Blue Belt

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    because powerlifters go parrallell or just below, and tend to use wide stances not going anywhere near as deep as oly lifters. the deeper u go the more a raised heel becomes helpful.

    this guy explains it well

     

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