T Nation

Heel Raising on Squats, Bad Form?


I was just wondering why lifting the heel off the ground during a high bar squat (and low bar) is considered bad form, How is it any different than wearing Oly shoes?

Someone at my new gym has a pair of red Adipower Oly shoes and the heel is big and seems to be no different than raising your heel due to ankle flexation issues.


When you are wearing Oly shoes, your heel is still resting on something solid.



When your heel leaves the ground, it basically takes your glutes out of the equation so your knee joint and quads take the full load. This usually means bad things in the long run, especially with heavy weights. Also, having your whole foot on the ground gives you a way more stable base.


Would weights under feet be acceptable rather than paying for some weightlifting shoes?


Not ideal, but yes. At least according to Christian Thibaudeau :wink:

(lifting shoes feel a bit better though)


While I am squatting 60KG I think buying a shoe would be a pathetic exercise in stroking the ego lol.


I squatted in Vans for two years before getting a used pair of Adistar. You do not NEED an elevated heel for squats. but it's easier to go deep with them. You shouldn't need them to go to parallel though.


I only squat ATG, parallel seems to put my knees in a pain full position when I try and drive up. I do high bar and go till my hamstrings are close to my calves.


IME that's not necessarily true. I have quite a few clients (in fact I'd say the majority, regardless of age) who cannot squat to parallel without their heels coming off the ground or their knees caving in or out due to poor ankle mobility when they first start training with me. Keep in mind that the term "parallel" is an objective one, comes from powerlifting, and means that the top of the knee and the crease in the hip are parallel with the floor. For most people there is actually not all that much difference in range of motion between a parallel squat and a "full/deep" squat.

Using plates or Oly shoes can be a nice quick fix and can allow for a more upright position while Oly squatting, but unless you are going to compete in Oly lifting, I'd work on your ankle mobility to the point where you are at least capable of squatting full ROM without the need to raise your heels. Whether you actually do a lot of squatting flat footed (I personally prefer either wrestling shoes or Vibrams 5 Fingers, barefoot is also awesome but most gyms won't allow it) is up to you, but the ability to do so should be a goal of yours if you want to keep your body functioning properly for the long haul.


I've found this to be very true. I can squat to parallel, but just barely. At that point my hamstrings and calves are already in solid contact. Even top Olympic lifters are often using weird compensation patterns to get into very deep squats.


This is what I'm doing 'til I can afford a nice pair of Adipowers or Power Perfects. I have ridiculously long legs and as a result, assume a very wide stance to prevent my heels from raising when I squat deep. I think my inability to squat deep with a narrow stance can mostly be attributed to poor ankle mobility and hamstring flexibility, but I believe elevating my heel will help with this problem.

Plus, I'd like to make my lift a little more quad dominant and take some emphasis off of the inside of my groin.