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Elevated Heels on Squats

Newbie question and I couldn’t find it in the search engine.

I have genetically shorter achilles tendons, so when I try to squat all I can’t do it unless the heels come up off the ground. I have seen others in the gym put a plate or board under their feet when they squat. Is this ok for proper technique to maintain good form?

it mimics the effect that an olympic lifting shoe would give you. wouldn’t recommend it for wider stance, but if you use a shoulder width +/- a little bit, it can help alot. I’d recommend actually buying a pair of olympic lifting shoes though. a board is a little to thick imho, and plates can slide way to easy… trust me on that

[quote]chrisarmes wrote:
it mimics the effect that an olympic lifting shoe would give you. wouldn’t recommend it for wider stance, but if you use a shoulder width +/- a little bit, it can help alot. I’d recommend actually buying a pair of olympic lifting shoes though. a board is a little to thick imho, and plates can slide way to easy… trust me on that [/quote]

Ok, thanks.

Have you tried simply working on mobility? I used to have a hard time squatting deep without raising my heels but once I really made an effort to do mobility work I saw improvements very quickly. Just checking if it’s something that could be fixed without special shoes before we go into that, moving on…

A board doesn’t support the entire foot and that’s not good in the long run, once you start handling some serious weights it can become really bad for the foot. Another problem is that the board just means one more thing you have to think about and when you’re walking out with a heavy weight you want as little distraction as possible. The board should only be used as a test. If the board fixes the problem, buy shoes with elevated heels.

Different shoes have different heel-height so try out a couple of different ones if possible to find what’s best for you. Olympic Lifting shoes tend to have very high heels (Do-Win probably have the highest). Then there are some powerlifting shoes like Crain’s Power Squat or Inzer’s The Pillar, those have slightly lower heels.

[quote]Matsa wrote:
Have you tried simply working on mobility? I used to have a hard time squatting deep without raising my heels but once I really made an effort to do mobility work I saw improvements very quickly. Just checking if it’s something that could be fixed without special shoes before we go into that, moving on…

A board doesn’t support the entire foot and that’s not good in the long run, once you start handling some serious weights it can become really bad for the foot. Another problem is that the board just means one more thing you have to think about and when you’re walking out with a heavy weight you want as little distraction as possible. The board should only be used as a test. If the board fixes the problem, buy shoes with elevated heels.

Different shoes have different heel-height so try out a couple of different ones if possible to find what’s best for you. Olympic Lifting shoes tend to have very high heels (Do-Win probably have the highest). Then there are some powerlifting shoes like Crain’s Power Squat or Inzer’s The Pillar, those have slightly lower heels.[/quote]

According to my doctor, it is a short achilles tendon and not a flexibility issue in the ankles. I have tried stretching and other things, but it has not done anything to change the issue.

This may sound strange but have you tried a wider stance? I used to need elevation too. Between that and bad knees my squat was about non existent. Then I started experimenting (based in part on some things I learned here) and I discovered that a wide flat footed stance worked wonders.

Just a thought

Squat wide and sit back.

I only elevate my feet when I do front squats. I have never tried it on the back squats, but have recommended it to friends who have a hard time sinking deep.

You will not have an achilles tendon thatis so short you can’t squat without coming up on your toes. It is a form issue. I’ve trained tons of people on how to squat at my gym and this is a common problem, especially for guys. You just need a competent coach and to work on it. You may be able to fix it on your own if you are diligent.

Or maybe the OP has CTEV? It’s not exactly genetic, but if not corrected early on in life the achilles tendon shortness is more or less permanent.

I wish the OP would tell what is the disease affecting his achilles tendon, so we’d know whether it’s something that can be corrected/needs to be trained around. If it’s not a disease it’s most certainly correctable.

[quote]anakayub wrote:
Or maybe the OP has CTEV? It’s not exactly genetic, but if not corrected early on in life the achilles tendon shortness is more or less permanent.

I wish the OP would tell what is the disease affecting his achilles tendon, so we’d know whether it’s something that can be corrected/needs to be trained around. If it’s not a disease it’s most certainly correctable.[/quote]

Don’t know if it is a “disease”, but if I stand with my feet at shoulder width and bend at the knees, I get the knee to bend maybe 30 degrees before the achilles tendon stops the movement.

If I put my feet really wide and point the toes out at 45 degree angles I can get low, but it requires the upperbody to also bend forward to get that low.

If you don’t have video, you need to find someone who knows how to squat to help you out. In person.

There is no reason for your Achilles to limit your ability to squat. Definitely a form issue.

As Stronghold said, squat wide and sit back.

The whole reason for the board under the heels is to allow you to drive through the heels if your calves are too tight to stay on the floor.

You can use them as an adjunct to your training early on, but like someone else said, once you start moving some real weight you’re gonna be killing your feet.

Attack the ankle flexibilty/mobility hard.