[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Oh, and also, try putting a 10 lb plate under each heel.
It need not be thought of as cheating (unless you are a PL’er), as Olympic lifters either often or typically wear shoes with considerable heel lift.[/quote]
I disagree with this. Oly lifters use shoes with considerable heel lift to increase the recruitment of their quads. That goal is acceptable (considering that they can also squat all the way down barefoot.)
For someone to use a plate under their heels to compensate for lack of flexibility, that is not the same goal, and it is not acceptable. And here it’s why.
The former uses it as an sport advantage AND he/she is flexible. The later is using it as a clutch, it does not resolve the issue of inflexibility. And worse, it can aggravate the issue by constantly squatting (and getting stronger) with that limited range of motion.
Consider this. If you have a joint that is inflexible, and you get the muscles that flex it to be stronger while never stretching it, it will remain inflexible at best, or become more inflexible in the long run at worst.
When there are flexibility problems doing full squats, the culprits are usually dorsiflexion inflexibility as well as inflexibility of the gluteus maximus and abductor magnus. Continuous stretching habits of the calves and soleus (for dorsiflexion) as well as stretching of the gluteus maximus will, over time, improve one’s ability to perform a full squat.
I would suggest the OP to read the following article on the subject at exrx.net:
Another thing that helps is to always stretch the hip flexors (the iliopsas) immediately before every set of squats or dead lifts. An inflexible iliopsas can cause lower back injury on the negative (as you lower yourself down, closing the angle between the femur and the trunk.) The stretch below is one that I recommend before every set of squatting.
[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Myself, I don’t need the plates with shoes for full squats, or barefoot for parallel, but do need them for barefoot (or actually, moccasins) and ATG. But different people vary and can have more need for heel lift.
Hey, using some heel lift was good enough for Arnold.[/quote]
Not everyone is Ah’nold. And we should never discount the healing, anti-inflammatory properties of the juice. A very athletic person with an oak for lower back (and specially on the juice) can get away with a lot of shit that a person wondering about inflexibility on full squats might. Also, do we know if Arnold used those because he was inflexible, or because he was recruiting his quads even further, just like Oly lifters do?
Having said that, it might be that the OP and/or you are not necessarily built for deep squatting. There is an article or two in this website on that subject, and I cannot remember where I read that people with longer limbs with relation to their torsos might have a harder time full squatting. Don’t quote me on that because I don’t remember where I read that.
Anyways, I honestly believe that, barring having a firm athleticism (and perhaps juice), a person should, for the sake of safety, first improve his glute and dorsiflexion flexibility to get into a good deep squat position with a load on his back. Once that has been achieved, or if it is confirmed that it might not be anatomically ideal for that person, that person might opt at that point to use small plates under the heels.