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Lifting Shoes or Not - Snatching just for Exercise

Started taking lessons on how to do the snatch (O.L.). One of the instructors said I should buy lifting shoes with a half-inch to three-quarter-inch elevation inside the heel.

Given that I am interested in doing the snatch (and maybe eventually the clean-and-jerk) just for exercise, and 99.99% probably not for competition: should I follow this advice and use lifting shoes; or should I continue using footwear that has my heel level with the front of my foot?

51 years old male; flexibility is not ideal but not terrible either. Overhead squat (with ridiculously light weight) in the bottom position with feet at hip width: my back is in an ok position according to the instructors, but my heels kind of float barely touching the floor unless I concentrate hard on pushing them down. (Back position and heel position are better with a wider stance.) I have done some complete snatches (with a ridiculously light weight) that the instructors said looked good. (When I bring myself under the weight, I end up in a squat position with a wider stance: so my heels feel reasonably solid on the floor. But maybe my balance might be less shaky with lifting shoes with elevated heels?)

Sometimes one knee or the other bothers me a little bit after I do front squats with level heels: that might be an argument against lifting with an elevated heel?

Should I:

A) Get lifting shoes that elevate the heels, and do snatches & overhead squats exclusively with those?

B) Just stick with level heels, and focus on improving flexibility along with technique and strength?

C) Finish the current set of lessons with elevated heels; do another set of lessons later with level heels; and alternate elevated vs. level heels sessions for both snatches and overhead squats to alternate focus on strength vs. flexibility?

D) Work on snatches with elevated heels; but work on overhead squats (by themselves) with level heels?

I am guessing I would increase the weight I can use more quickly doing “A”. But I wonder if “A” would be tougher on my knees.

I am guessing I would increase the weight more slowly doing “B”; not sure how much more slowly: but maybe “B” would produce a more “natural” strength (i.e. strength through a full natural range of motion in all joints, not dependent on elevated heels)? Maybe “B” would also be easier on the knees?

“C” intuitively seems like it might be a good idea: but my combination of free time and self-discipline is such that I am only in the gym for a couple of hours or less per week, in addition to the snatch lessons. And I want to at least work on my pullups in addition to the snatch and overhead squats, during part of the time that I am in the gym.

“D” might be a more time-efficient and simpler way than “C” to combine some of the best of “A” and “B”. But is switching between the two types of shoes for snatches vs. overhead-squats-by-themselves a bad idea?

Thanks for any advice.

You’re making it more complicated than it needs to be.

If I were in your place, I’d pick up a cheap pair of oly shoes (such as the ones found on kanamahp.com) for any olympic lifting, and just train in other shoes for anything else.

Also, heel height will not affect knee health. When your knee hurts front squatting, where do you feel the pain (i.e. front of the knee, below the kneecap, side of the knee)?

[quote]1llusion wrote:
If I were in your place, I’d pick up a cheap pair of oly shoes (such as the ones found on kanamahp.com) for any olympic lifting, and just train in other shoes for anything else.
[/quote]
Thank you for the advice. I am leaning more toward getting oly shoes and then doing snatches only with oly shoes, if it does not bother my knees.

What about overhead squats? Do you think it would be good to continue doing them with level heels, or do you think it is more productive to do those with oly shoes?

Are you sure about that? Just now, I compared doing squats with just my body and no weight with my heels on the floor vs. doing the same thing with my heels resting on an object about 2 inches thick. My knees had slight pain doing the squats with my heels resting on the 2-inch-thick object, but no pain doing the squats with my heels on the floor. I kept my weight on my heels in both cases.

Front of the knee behind the kneecap. Sometimes get a clicking noise, also.

Something just to consider, kettlebells- easier to snatch, clean, etc and easier on your joints. Not trying to talk you out of oly lifting, if you enjoy it great, just something to think about.

[quote]NealRaymond2 wrote:

[quote]1llusion wrote:
If I were in your place, I’d pick up a cheap pair of oly shoes (such as the ones found on kanamahp.com) for any olympic lifting, and just train in other shoes for anything else.
[/quote]
Thank you for the advice. I am leaning more toward getting oly shoes and then doing snatches only with oly shoes, if it does not bother my knees.

What about overhead squats? Do you think it would be good to continue doing them with level heels, or do you think it is more productive to do those with oly shoes?

Are you sure about that? Just now, I compared doing squats with just my body and no weight with my heels on the floor vs. doing the same thing with my heels resting on an object about 2 inches thick. My knees had slight pain doing the squats with my heels resting on the 2-inch-thick object, but no pain doing the squats with my heels on the floor. I kept my weight on my heels in both cases.

Front of the knee behind the kneecap. Sometimes get a clicking noise, also.
[/quote]

100% sure. Try these and see what if any difference is made:

starts around 1:30
www.mobilitywod.com/2011/03/episode-206-the-couch-series.html

starts around the 2:50 mark.
www.mobilitywod.com/2011/04/episode-235-recover-your-anterior-with-the-super-couch.html

I think you should get some Oly shoes. The heels aren’t as tall as using a 2" thick heel raise. At your age, it will do nothing but help you out. Also, use them for any Oly lifting-related movement, such as your OHS!! Good luck!!

Hi,

I asked myself the same question for quite a while (male just 40) - and my answer is definitely B. I also oly lift just for exercise - but it’s not about how much weight I can lift, but the very fact that I can get into the bottom position in Sn and CJ - that itself as you get older is pretty good going. Using Oly shoes would in a sense defeat the purpose.

I have worked through every joint from ankles to shoulders to be able to oly lift properly and it’s the best exercise decision I’ve ever made. Static gymnastic work was the second best decsion. The thing that finally convinced me was an old training photo I saw of David Rigert (I think that’s how it’s written) - an great olympic champion from the 70s in the bottom position of the snatch - barefoot with a heck of a lot of weight on the bar.

If you like olympic lifting and want to do the lifts, buy some shoes. There is a reason people wear them.

If you don’t think you’re going to slip over, try a solid pair of dress shoes. Since you’re not competing it matters not how much weight you’re lifting, and dress shoes tend to give you a nice heel raise without being cushiony. Before I invested in a semi-decent pair of lifting shoes I was using a $30 pair of loafers without any problems and don’t actually think the lifting shoes were worth it.

Anyway, I bought lifting shoes.

I am using them for snatching (such as it is, so far).

I am also using them for OH squats.

Thanks, everyone.