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Low bar back squat in olympic shoes



i have been looking for information on this for a while but cannot really find much. i do olympic weightlifting but i much prefer low bar back squats. do you think its a problem to do them in oly shoes?

the coach at my gym doesn't really like me lifting in other shoes.

it feels fairly similar but slightly more quad dominant.

has any one had any experience of this or can think of pros/ cons?
are there any good powerlifters that do it ?


Rippetoe suggests Low bar for Oly


Quite a number of the people I train and compete with squat in Olympic, heeled shoes. I used to. Now I just like to bench in them but it's fairly common around here.


All squat variations I perform in my adistars. I love the raised heel and solid squatting surface they provide. These shoes were actually given to me, had I purchased a pair I would have went for some cheaper do-wins.


Yeah, I got some oly shoes for Xmas and still do low bar just fine.


If you can do it and do it safely, and if it provides you with some advantage, then why not do it?


The drawback would be that the ROM will increase significantly because of the raised heel, meaning you'll have to get lower to hit depth. If you don't compete in the squat, this won't really matter though. Another issue, as you brought up, would be the shift onto the quads. This would only be a problem if you have a weak posterior chain that you are neglecting by not emphasizing it in training.


I disagree about range of motion. The actual distance you body travels is the same. Many people use them because of stability and the fact that it is easier to hit depth if they have ankle mobility issues. In addition, if you are low bar squatting, the shoe should make no difference to the muscles used. It will still be a predominantly pc lift unless you start pitching forward.


I'm amazed you can be so wrong on every point.


What the

I don't even


Agreed. I squat in shoes with a raised heel and still get quite sore in my PC after squatting.


Agreed as well... I think it is BS that people say your posterior chain isn't worked well when in the Oly squat (even high bar) or front squat. If you are going ass to grass/ass to calves with an upright torso, your hammies/glutes should be sore the next day! At least mine always are. :stuck_out_tongue: In the back squat it almost seems 50:50 between posterior chain/quads.


I love a raised heal. Anybody in here have Thunder olympic shoes? I asked about how they run size-wise on the olympic lifting forum, but nobody has answered yet.


thanks for the replies. i'm probably just going to stick to low bar in oly shoes. i figure high bar is more similar to front squat, but i already do front squat as well, so low bar is more of a variation. also the low bar seems more similar to the movement when you take off for a jump or when your sprinting.. i.e a lot of hip torque.

i would still be interested if any one thinks i will be limited in terms of how much weight i can lift if i wear oly shoes? and if there are any pro powerlifters that use them ?


I have done both. going wide with Chucks works for me, but going closer in I like a slight heel. Roughly low boot height. Back in the day I wore low cut Nikes. Not cross trainer, kind of basketball shoe. This was circa 1982-1988. I also bought Nike levers in 1983. I liked them for squatting also. they were Nike's version of lifting shoes.

I think they were made for Olympic lifting and squatting.


Plenty of elite lifters wear oly shoes. You don't need to worry about using too much weight.
It looks to me like this guy is wearing oly shoes:


Wow, angry? I'm not trying to offend anyone here. It's good to come at this stuff from multiple view points.

In studies of squatting variations where the movement is observed with electromyography, researchers have observed increased quadriceps activation when the heel is elevated. In many lifters, this can result in imbalances. The degree of knee flexion also increases when obtaining the "parallel" position with a heel vs. the same hip position in a flat shoe, meaning you have to bend your knees more to hit depth. This has also been observed in athletes. Changing the angle of the ankle joint can and does affect the movement, whether negatively of positively is dependent on the lifter and his/her specific leverages. For instance, when I competed in weightlifting, I developed severe quad/ham imbalances. Lowering the heel solved the problem for me and improved my squat, as I'm hip dominant. Some of my teammates however, saw higher numbers when switching to a higher heel, due to poor ankle mobility that the heel compensates for. There's a reason many powerlifters prefer flat shoes, although I'm not saying that everyone benefits or that this is the only way to engage the posterior chain. Obviously the PC still works to extend the hips. If it works for you, please by all means continue to squat with a heel. No big deal. I like flat footing and so do my knees.


Me angry? Ha. You're still wrong though.

Does that have anything to do with forward movement of the knee, and NOT the height of the heel?

Once again, if your knee does not move forward, the ONLY distance traveled is the length of the hip. Doesn't matter if you have a heel, sit on a box, stand on a box, high bar, low bar, whatever.

The only difference the heel makes is in ankle angle. All your hip dominant/quad dominant stuff is bullshit.