T Nation

Squatting With Elevated Heels

I recently experimented by elevating my heals on a five pound plate. My squat poundage went down at first and it does take longer to warm up, but the tension and pump in my quads was enormous!

I had my second leg workout today (in this fashion) and was up a few reps on all sets. I also noticed my teardrops look bigger now too.

Maybe this new growth is also because I changed things up, but I’m starting to think this is a superior way to squat, at least for quads.

Anyone have an opinion?

I read somewhere that heeled shoes put more stress on the knee joint, not sure if it’s true. They help a lot of lifters getting more confortable with deep squats, but one shouldn’t rely only on raised heels and work on hip/ankle mobility and hams/glute strength to get confortable with deep squats. I think they are a tool, alternating between raised heels and flat heel is a good way to mix things up.

Iv seen lots of pictures of people doing this but to me it seems insane.

[quote]HunterKiller wrote:
Iv seen lots of pictures of people doing this but to me it seems insane.[/quote]

        Years ago when I was a teenager that's how I was taught to do them. I read on Fred Hatfields site that it does indeed put more stress on the knee joint though. It always felt good to me back then though.

        But now I wouldn't do them like that because of the knee issue.
                ToneBone

May seem insane to you, but those guys with longer legs simply cannot do a regular squat and get any development out of it worth a damn, and elevate the heels. It’s a biomechanical issue.

I have extremely long legs, and squats work great for me… I must just be awesome.

pffft^

I find swatting with heels works better for the quads. Lots of pro bodybuilders do this. I used squat with army boots but now just use adidas running shoes.

Different story if your a powerlifter. Most of them like flat soled shoes. It tends to utilizes the glutes and hams more. My glutes are big enough though… Maybe I should bust out the army boots again. Those solid soles feel great.

I’m a taller lifter, their is nothing wrong with using elevated heals if you want to get a better full range of motion. I personally use olympic lifting shoes, since I sometimes reajust and thats really hard with plates-and dangerous- Also can’t use plates for Olympic lifts, so another reason I have the shoes.

I use the plates for awhile and it DID help my flexibility and allowed me to get lower with just normal shoes.

I have always gone very low, but the elevated heals just makes the knee travel farther forward which tends to activate more quads.

stretch your calf mm.

trust me

Yes this is normally an issue of ankle flexibility. It is generally recommended to start with your heels elevated if you have issues with depth and flexibility, but to slowly lower that elevation until you don’t need it at all anymore.

Squatting in this way does put more stress on the knee joint, but it takes a considerable amount of stress off of the hips and lower back. And the benefits to thigh growth are typically worth it in my opinion.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Yes this is normally an issue of ankle flexibility. It is generally recommended to start with your heels elevated if you have issues with depth and flexibility, but to slowly lower that elevation until you don’t need it at all anymore.

Squatting in this way does put more stress on the knee joint, but it takes a considerable amount of stress off of the hips and lower back. And the benefits to thigh growth are typically worth it in my opinion.[/quote]

      Hell there have been a lot of positive posts on it. I may try and use it again now. Like I was saying earlier, at the time I loved it and it felt more stable to me. What we used to do is take a 2X4 and tack a small piece of carpet over the board and extending out beyond it by about a foot or so. Thanks for the thread OP, and thanks to all the guys experience relayed forth. Not to mention I could use more quad size, and if this indeed helps that, I'm all over it.



                  ToneBone

[quote]InTheZone wrote:
mr popular wrote:
Yes this is normally an issue of ankle flexibility. It is generally recommended to start with your heels elevated if you have issues with depth and flexibility, but to slowly lower that elevation until you don’t need it at all anymore.

Squatting in this way does put more stress on the knee joint, but it takes a considerable amount of stress off of the hips and lower back. And the benefits to thigh growth are typically worth it in my opinion.

      Hell there have been a lot of positive posts on it. I may try and use it again now. Like I was saying earlier, at the time I loved it and it felt more stable to me. What we used to do is take a 2X4 and tack a small piece of carpet over the board and extending out beyond it by about a foot or so. Thanks for the thread OP, and thanks to all the guys experience relayed forth. Not to mention I could use more quad size, and if this indeed helps that, I'm all over it.



                  ToneBone[/quote]

ToneBone, you’re welcome. Awesome avatar! I saw Satch, Vai and Malmsteen live!

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
InTheZone wrote:
mr popular wrote:
Yes this is normally an issue of ankle flexibility. It is generally recommended to start with your heels elevated if you have issues with depth and flexibility, but to slowly lower that elevation until you don’t need it at all anymore.

Squatting in this way does put more stress on the knee joint, but it takes a considerable amount of stress off of the hips and lower back. And the benefits to thigh growth are typically worth it in my opinion.

      Hell there have been a lot of positive posts on it. I may try and use it again now. Like I was saying earlier, at the time I loved it and it felt more stable to me. What we used to do is take a 2X4 and tack a small piece of carpet over the board and extending out beyond it by about a foot or so. Thanks for the thread OP, and thanks to all the guys experience relayed forth. Not to mention I could use more quad size, and if this indeed helps that, I'm all over it.



                  ToneBone

ToneBone, you’re welcome. Awesome avatar! I saw Satch, Vai and Malmsteen live!

[/quote]
Yeah I saw them all so many times before. Backstage etc. I used to be a freak about Satch and Vai. My old teacher took over for Satch’s guitar lesson duties in Berkeley when he got too famous to stay there. The guy shreds. Doug Doppler. Also took some from Alex Slolnick of Testament for a while there.

              sorry about the hijack.
                   TBN

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Yes this is normally an issue of ankle flexibility. It is generally recommended to start with your heels elevated if you have issues with depth and flexibility, but to slowly lower that elevation until you don’t need it at all anymore.

Squatting in this way does put more stress on the knee joint, but it takes a considerable amount of stress off of the hips and lower back. And the benefits to thigh growth are typically worth it in my opinion.[/quote]

I think it’s more an issue of hip mobility and hams/glutes strenth than ankle flexibility, assuming ankles are healthy. Most people don’t know how to sit between the legs in the bottom of the squat. When sitting between the legs, the knees don’t move that much in front of the toe (also depends on body leverage). People learning to squat should take a lot at Dan John stuff, great coaching tips on squatting form.

vince gironda style

One important thing to notice is that the graph shows a 2x4 and not 5lb weights. Also the drawing is without shoes. There are reasons for this. Mainly stability and precaution. Don’t squat with tennis shoes AND 5lbs plates. Make sure to use a plank and lower until the knees have traveled 1 or 2 cm past the toes.

Alternatively get a pair of weightlifting shoes. Weightlifting shoes have inside heels to mimic this 2x4 pattern and weightlifters have used this style for years with no problems.

However you need ankle, hip and hamstring flexibility or you are risking injury in the long term.

[quote]sawadeekrob wrote:
One important thing to notice is that the graph shows a 2x4 and not 5lb weights. Also the drawing is without shoes. There are reasons for this. Mainly stability and precaution. Don’t squat with tennis shoes AND 5lbs plates. Make sure to use a plank and lower until the knees have traveled 1 or 2 cm past the toes.

Alternatively get a pair of weightlifting shoes. Weightlifting shoes have inside heels to mimic this 2x4 pattern and weightlifters have used this style for years with no problems.

However you need ankle, hip and hamstring flexibility or you are risking injury in the long term.[/quote]

My knees travel farther than 2cm beyond my toes even when I squat flat footed. The five pound plate lets them go just a bit more.

If my knees don’t go forward enough, than I get almost no quad activation whatsoever and it becomes a glute and hamstring exercise.

I think that is why weight lifters generally have better quads than powerlifters. WL don’t use the “bastardized good morning” style squat.

I’ve never squatted like that before, but I may give it a try sometime. I wouldn’t ever do it regularly though - like others said probably a good change up. Squatting is a natural movement, and we don’t naturally squat with our heels elevated, so it stands to reason that our bodies are made to squat best with our feet flat on the floor. I think that anytime you stray too far from natural movements you are increasing your risk of injuries. But if you get results, I don’t see an issue with doing it on occasion.

I’m very tall, and without heels I have never been able to do full, deep squats. Now older, I’m still using them, and my knees are practically the only joint that DOESN’T hurt. OL’s tend to burn out or breakdown from back and shoulder injuries before knee injuries, except perhaps those who violently bounce at the bottom of their cleans. Doc