T Nation

squat question

The other day I was told that when doing squats, one should never put weight plates under their heels because it causes injury to the knees. Now I’ve been putting plates under my heels and if I don’t I can’t go very low and it also feels like my quads aren’t doing any work. I had ACL surgery and I don’t want to mess up my knee any more than it already is. I hope my explanation makes sense and someone out there can advise on using plates. Thanks everyone! :]

You know your body and it’s limitations better than anyone else.

I don’t know if its bad or not, but if you can’t go deep without them perhaps you need to stretch more. It took me at least 6 months to feel comfortable with deep squats, I just had to lift light for a long time.

Work on you flexibility, thats the main issue that is limiting to you…To be extra careful, try to get a coach or therapist to asses you to find out what exactly are the tight muscles that need to be stretched. Your calf complex is one of them since raising your heels on plates helps, but rarely is it only one muscle.

I would also suggest doing box squats to parallel as these can take the stress off your knees. They may not hit your quads as much but it might be a good idea to rotate them in…as these go up in weight so will your deep squat…check out dave tates Box Squat article…

i agree with ericka and bess

plus man if you have to squat with plates under you feet whenever you squat thats not cool man, what happens when you try to deep squat that it messes you up? Perhaps its a muscle weakness? But yea if you have a problem iwth you anteriorcolatteral ligament then you should definitly get a qualified professional to access you, and as someone who has had mor ethen his fair share of medical fuck ups, let me tell you to stay away from physical therapist, physical therapist are wussy fat middle aged woman who dont know shit about shit, find a good chiro who does stuff like art and sport rehab.

Olympic lifters wear shoes with elevated heels (for better back position and stable footing – see Tommy Kono’s "Weightlifting Olympic Style p93)…the only risk with plates I can think of, is if they slip or you twist your ankle on the edge of the plate with a mis-step. I also agree with the first post.

Yup, as everyone else says, you need to stretch more. I always used to tell people not to squat with plates under their feet, but do not see anything wrong with doing it from time to time, if quad work is more the goal. But most people use the squat as a posterior chain exercise and plates detract from this. I do not feel squats in my quads much at all either, so in addition, I do some more direct quad work every now and again.

Just like what most said, I would work on flexibility on the Calves, gluets, hammy’s and lumbar. I give squats to some clients with elevated heels because of average flexibility. There is more of a tendencey to lean forward over the base of support this way which does place unwmanted stress. I always get them to push up and backwards via the heels to prevent this. However with an acl injury, yeah get some Profeesional assistance with someone that HAS squatted before. (Maybe try front or dumbell squats, easier to stay upright)

herb311 said:
…physical therapist are wussy fat middle aged woman who dont know shit about shit, find a good chiro…

Oh boy. I don’t think you really want to start this. That is one of the most naive statements I have read on this forum in a long time. The very notion that physical therapists go to school for 6 years and know nothing about how the human body works is absolutely ludacris. I’m less than 1/3 of the way through the DPT program, and I already know that the anterior cruciate ligament functions to restrain anterior tibial displacement, rotation, and valgus stress. But don’t listen to me, because I obviously “don’t know shit about shit”. And the idea that all physical therapists are “wussy fat middle aged women”… is not even worth commenting on. Yeah, go find a “good chiropractor”. I’m sure that after he “puts your back into place”, he’ll be happy to discuss the biomechanics of the tibiofemoral joint capsule. The bottom line, herb311, is that if you’re going to be making childish comments such as this, you’d be better off just keeping your goddamned trap shut.

As for the original poster, how long ago did you have the surgery? If it was a while ago, I wouldn’t think that squats would bother the ACL, but I’m no expert. If it hurts, don’t do it. If you’re concerned, I’d go see a physical therapist with experience in athletic rehabilitation.

And no, putting plates under the heels does not cause “injury to the knees”. However, it emphasizes the quads more, and if your quads are disproportionately stronger than your hamstrings, this can cause problems in the long run. As long as your program has at least as much posterior chain work as quad work, you’ll probably be OK.