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Squatting w/5lb plates under heels

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  • Squatting w/5lb plates under heels

    I usually squat in converse (or other flat shoes) but last workout I tried out the 5lb plates under my heels (I was tired and on a cruise...time to experiment) now I wantn to know, does this actually help to emphasize quads?

    I heard that somewhere, and my quads seem to give wa to my glutes and hams on squats anyway. I do squat relatively narrow (shoulder width ish).

    Ive also heard that it is bad for your knees somewhere. Any one care to clear this up? I tried searching "heel elevated squats" but nothingn really relevant comes up.

  • #2
    Squatting with a more narrow stance will involve the ques more... People put plates under their heels because they have mobility/flexibility issues and can keep their heels flat when squatting narrow. If you can squat ATG with a narrow stance and keep you heels flat, then do it. If you can't do this then you can put plates under your heels, or wear a shoe with a bit of a heel.
    -2013 USAPL Michigan State Championships 198lb Raw Mens Open, 1st Place (1217 total)
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    • #3
      It sound like you were just experimenting, but if you have trouble keeping your heels flat while squatting I'd prefer you to work on your flexibility and any muscle imbalances that may be contributing to this. In the long run this could keep you from having an injury, but it also may lead to better activation of the target muscle, which obviously would lead to more growth.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by bbjeff86 View Post
        Squatting with a more narrow stance will involve the ques more... People put plates under their heels because they have mobility/flexibility issues and can keep their heels flat when squatting narrow. If you can squat ATG with a narrow stance and keep you heels flat, then do it. If you can't do this then you can put plates under your heels, or wear a shoe with a bit of a heel.
        ok. thanks man.

        Originally posted by Doberman View Post
        It sound like you were just experimenting, but if you have trouble keeping your heels flat while squatting I'd prefer you to work on your flexibility and any muscle imbalances that may be contributing to this. In the long run this could keep you from having an injury, but it also may lead to better activation of the target muscle, which obviously would lead to more growth.
        well I tried it out today. I need to work on flexibility. I am better than I once was, but I cant go atg without something under my heels. Would you suggest working on flexibilit while in the mean time using somethig under heels?

        I feel like trying to go too deep when my hips are inflexible led to some lower back issues in the past.

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        • #5
          I had the same issue when I first started doing front squats a while back, so I did them with plates under my heels while working on my flexibility. Three months later I was able to front squat flat footed and have not looked back since. As a side note, this also greatly improved my form on back squats.
          You may initially see a drop off in poundages you can lift when you switch from the plates to flat footed, but within a short time you will meet and surpass your previous numbers.

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          • #6
            I don't like the use of plates. If you are having trouble with depth I prefer to work on flexibilty, form and muscle imbalances. Here are the steps that I've used in the past with clients:

            1. Find out if you have any muscle imbalances. I have seen that in the past that people with problems with depth tend to lean forward during the hands overhead squat test. This would be the result of the Soleus, Gastrocnemius, Hip Flexors, and Abdominal Complex being overactive and the anterior tibialis, glutes, and erector spinae being underactive.

            2. To correct the problem I would do 5-10 minutes of walking followed by foam rolling and static stretching of the problem areas. I don't normally do static stretching pre workout, but for this purpose I find they work best (We used to believe that this would hurt strength levels in training, but recent research has demonstrated that this is not true.) Even though this may be the case, I prefer active stretches when I'm not working on improving muscle imbalances and mobility.

            3. Next determine what exercises you need to add to your repetoire to strengthen your underactive muscles. In the above example of an imbalance a ball squat would be appropriate. This is preformed by putting an stability ball between your back and the wall. You would perform a squat while concentrating on your underactive muscles (primarily the glutes). This would be done with a slow cadence of 421.

            4. After using this exercise in your workout you want to perform the exercise you are having trouble with. In this case it is the squat. I have had success using the box squat and bands. First I will have the trainee put some power bands on the top of a power rack. Stand 5 feet or so away of from the rack while holding onto the bands. You will use these to assist you in performing a squat. Do 5 or so reps with a slow cadence, then move a little closer and repeat. Do this two more times until you are under where the bands are attached. This will put you in a regular squat position. The bands will still assist you in performing a squat, but the closer you get to the rack the more you will have to use your own balance.

            After the bands I will use a high box. I will then use coninually lower boxes. If form breaks down stay with the box you are still using good form on. The next time challenge yourself with the lower box.

            You may never get to the point of touching your glutes against your calves, but by working on these imbalances, your form, and your flexibility you can improve your mobility, lessen your chance of injuries and see better gains in the long run. This stuff is boring, but it will be worth it. These are just suggestions, I'm not working with you so you might be best served by finding an experienced trainer to help you with this. Just my 2 cents.
            1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
            2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
            2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
            2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
            2014 Francois Classic 3rd place
            2015 Francois Classic 2nd Place

            Truenutrition.com
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            • #7
              Doing DeFrancos Agile 8 every morning improved my squat form and hip/leg flexibility in a matter of weeks, if not days.

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              • #8
                Heels coming up is going to mainly be an issue with ankle mobility. Throw some ankle mobility work into your warm-ups in addition to the foam rolling and other flexibility work.

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                • #9
                  this is just my experience

                  i was a basketball, baseball, and football player all my life through college..... i have rolled and sprained my ankles more times than i can remember.....i have extreme tightness in my achilles. i stretch the hell out of them but my body just wont budge and allthough i can get a better ROM.... my right ankle especially just wont budge too much when it comes to getting more flexible.....i actually squat with 10's under my heels and i wear flat pumas when squatting or i will wear my finger shoes. that said, it gets the job done and i make sure my descent is slow and im really sitting back to take any extra stress off the knees which are also not that great.....and this works great for me

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