T Nation

Catcher's Squat Questions


I have been a catcher (baseball) for 20 of my 26 years on this earth. So I have obviously developed a squat movement pattern of hamstrings on calves, and the weight on my toes with my heels high off the ground. (Pic included isn't me, but a good example of a catchers set up).

In this position I am easily able to keep a neutral spine and can obviously reach extreme depth. The problem is that this pattern has become so ingrained that it's how I feel most comfortable squatting in the weight room.

If I squat with heels elevated I am golden, no flexing of the spine and good depth. If I squat flat footed it all goes to hell. From what I understand this is mainly a calves issue? But how can that be since I spend a good 30+ hours a week in a catchers squat which is a constant stretch on my calves?

I squat (weight room) with a knee break instead of hip break so please no advice on sitting back or lower bar, as I am not looking to squat that way. Sorry for the long post, I am just confused as to why I can't reach depth without heels elevated even tho I feel I have exceptional flexibility.

Is it just a case of being a catcher for so long that the pattern has become natural?


Even Olympic lifters typically use shoes providing an elevated heel. It doesn't mean they have poor flexibility, bur rather, human flexibility and rather good human flexibility at that.

As personal opinion, with no objective proof to it, it seems to me that the argument against elevating the heels when squatting has far more merit in the context of typical parallel-or-less squats, and less or perhaps none in the context of really deep squats.

Myself, I don't elevate the heel, but inflexibilty holds me about 6" off the ground or something (measured it a while back but have forgotten) from some cause other than the calves.

But if another person such as yourself is finding the heels coming off the ground and already has calf flexibility as good as can be expected, then why not elevate the heels, rather than always limit the squat depth?


Thanks Bill, regarding your reply I have one more question;

Using an elevated heel always seems to get a bad rep and most users are told to use a heel but work on flexibility and eventually ween yourself off the heel. But like you said, Oly. Lifters wear elevated heel shoes all the time, so in your opinion, should I stay squatting with an elevated heel, and just be sure to balance out my quad developemnt with posterior chain exercises, or ween off the heel?



Once again, Thanks Bill, you snuck in with your edit and already answered a lot of my 2nd post, I appreciate the response.


Glad it was of any help! :slight_smile:


Absolutely squat with a heel. Weightlifters are not the only guys using elevated heels to squat...every succesful IPF/USAPL lifter that I can think of used some heel elevation in their squat shoes.

I'm not even convinced that it shifts the emphasis away from your 'posterior chain,' and onto your quads, which is more a function of, as you mentioned, sitting back and using your hips rather than heel elevation.

However, I would counsel you against using a plate or heel block rather than a shoe with an elevated heel. For some reason, a heel lift without graduation seems to cause knee problems, whereas a shoe with a lifted heel (where the incline from front to back is graduated,) does not cause any knee issues.

So ignore the morons who've bought into the "everybody should squat in Chuck Taylors" bullshit and get yourself a nice pair of adistars or the like.


HA thanks Ramo, funny you mention the Chucks, tried them once and felt like shit. It always cracks me up to see threads here on the squat, and to get advice about sitting back or chucks without regard to the type of squat someone is trying to perform. hip break and knee break are two different beasts! Once again, thanks to you and Bill for the reply.


It may not be a flexibility issue as much as mobility, in the ankles specifically. WL'ing shoes are the way to go in my opinion but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to squat barefoot A2G without a heel either. Once you start to load it up is an entirely different story.

Check this out:

Get in the A2G position and shift your weight slightly with your arms on top of your leg.

Here is a video with what I'm talking about:

It is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the video.

Hope this helps.