Squating and Shoes

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ninjackn
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Squating and Shoes

Post by ninjackn » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:06 am

So the other day I forgot to bring my shoes to the gym with me (a spare work out shirt and shorts is small enough to keep somewhere).

I have flatter feet, i'm one of those guys who does those foot tests and you don't see much of a curve. Normally I wear this one pair of basket ball shoes because they're comfortable and don't have any huge arch support and for the most part feel flat. (Although I think there is a slight downward angle)

Anyways I head off to the power rack load, do my warm up sets and then load up the barbell. I aim for my target reps of 8 only to feel off. Normally I feel most of the weight is pushed up from the heels but without my shoes I feel as if more weight ended up in the inside edges/ball of my foot, that is my whole foot is playing a larger roll and the inside of my thighs need to do a lot more work.

Pushing through with my determination and thinking that i've done this before it should be ok I force out the 8 reps but some where a long the way something gave out, threw off my posture gets and I pull my lower back. The pain went away after a few days but it really got me thinking about shoes vs no shoes.

I'm wonder if my shoes are giving me some sort of aid and placing the load of the squat in a more "optimal" place for moving more weight (but less optimal for developing the muscles it's cheating)

That is, should I start focusing on squatting without shoes (less weight so I can get used to it etc.) or just keep going at it with my shoes. I feel the shoes are mostly flat with my body weight but I imagine the added weight changes it a lot.


KPj
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Post by KPj » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:49 am

To be honest, it sounds to me like you could be doing a very common technique mistake with the squat which will present itself with or without shoes. Without shoes it's just much more obvious as you have direct contact with the floor and can feel more of what's going on. Big clumpy cynder block type shoes don't allow that kind of feed back.

YOu said the weight on your feet went to the inside edge/balls of them. This would indicate to me that your not 'spreading the floor apart' or pushing your knees out to the side. It would indicate that your knees were caving in to some degree, and this would make your glutes ineffective in the exercise. That would then cause a dominance in the quads which would shift your weight more forward and away from the heels. This would normally also cause a little rounding - even if it's just subtle rounding - in the lower back, which could well have caused what you felt. Whether this started at the feet, or started at the hips is irrelevant, really, like the whole 'chicken and the egg - what came first' thing.

So, I would say that when you squat, no matter what footwear you have on follow these cues - 'grip' the floor with your feet, as if you're trying to pick up a basketball with your feet. Spread the floor apart, as if you're trying to rip it apart, and push your knees out to the sides. Do this throughout the movement especially as you approach and come out of the bottom position. It SHOULD feel pretty strange and even uncomfortable at first. Sometimes I find the only way to get people to understand this enough is to wrap a band around their knees. The band pushes your knees IN, whichi causes you to push OUT, resisting the band. I have done this to people with a light band and it's caused their glutes to cramp up, in my opinion because the glutes thought "what the hells going on" due to them actually doing some work (sometimes i give muscles a personality - I'm strange like that).

As for shoes for squatting. I don't like shoes with a heel lift for squatting (olympic lifting aside). I also don't like shoes that try and offer loads of 'support'. For squatting I like chucks (converse) because they are very close to the ground and the tough material allows you to push against the sides without your feet rolling off them. Barefoot is fine but will take some getting used to. Regardless of the shoe, though, just make sure you're pushing out to the sides as mentioned above.

KPj

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Post by hoosegow » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:13 pm

I'll second the chucks. I do not like shoes with any kind of cushion for squats and deads. I've blown out the sides on a couple of pairs before I switched to chucks.

KPj also gives some good advice. Just to add a tiny bit, an unstable surface like cushiouned shoes will enhance the flaws in your form. Like he stated, the minor flaws become more pronounced.

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Post by Jebus » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:18 pm

I go barefeet but my feet are already fked! I have really high arches and I always get heel spurs if I don't wear these orthotics. Also my feet do not look like what feet are supposed to be. My baby toe is squished in and a lot of times my legs feel weird, like my knees want to go out in different directions.

ninjackn
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Post by ninjackn » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:40 pm

This is some good advice, thanks.

I like my basketball shoes because they're mostly flat and not heavily custioned, very similar to converse. They were picked over my other shoes because they seemd to be the closest thing to weight lifting shoes.

Anyways, with my new found knowledge of proper foot work, I think my 'problem' is shoes. Any shoes really. It sounds like the wall of the shoe transfers the energy to the soul which provides tons of friction and reduces any force i need to apply with my feet. I noticed there's a guy in the gym who does squats using the same principal only taken further, he's fairly tall so he has a super wide stance to where his feed are pushing against the sides of the power rack.
It sounds like I should back off on the heavier weights and try squatting without shoes so I can perfect my form. Maybe once I get used to that I can go back to shoes or maybe i'll be converted to a no shoes squatter.


hoosegow
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Post by hoosegow » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:32 pm

This is just my opinion, I don't like going barefoot as I always seem to stub my toe. Also, most comercial gyms won't let you go bare foot.

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Post by Nevage » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:38 pm

I have the flattest feet probably possible but I Squat in standard running trainers as it's what I've always done. I think if I did it bare foot, I might mess my knees up. I seem to have an equilibrium with trainers on between my knees and ankles, I don't wanna ruin it! I wouldn't worry about fine tuning technique unless something is going bad, it's not possible to group everyone together with the same form. Guidlines are good though e.g, Rippetoe.. Deadlift angles being different depending on body type, limb length, height etc.

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Post by tostig » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:51 pm

hoosegow wrote:This is just my opinion, I don't like going barefoot as I always seem to stub my toe. Also, most comercial gyms won't let you go bare foot.
I slip my running shoes off just before I do my exercises in the cage. I put my running shoes back on to load the plates.

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Post by KPj » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:03 am

Yeah, when the beginners that train with me come in with your typical running shoe (big heel lift and plenty of 'support'), i make them go barefoot. They have actually started to prefer it. Don't even need to tell them to do it anymore.

KPj

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Post by robertscott » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:42 pm

i much prefer to squat and deadlift barefoot, although I crushed my toe under a bar once, it's never really recovered.

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Post by Jungledoc » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:52 pm

I find that our rack doesn't have a position that is exactly the right height for me, and I either have to use one that makes it a little hard to get the bar off the hooks, or drop down 6 inches. I like to workout barefoot, but I can't tell much difference between barefoot and chucks, but the chucks raise me up the centimeter that I need to use the rack properly.

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Post by ninjackn » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:17 pm

robertscott wrote:i much prefer to squat and deadlift barefoot, although I crushed my toe under a bar once, it's never really recovered.
Ouch. Although, I don't think shoes would have helped that much.

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Post by Ryan A » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:49 am

I like squatting with heels elevated (like olympic lifters) but I don't powerlifting squat ever, so that could make a difference in shoe type.

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Post by robertscott » Sun Nov 08, 2009 11:58 am

ninjackn wrote:
robertscott wrote:i much prefer to squat and deadlift barefoot, although I crushed my toe under a bar once, it's never really recovered.
Ouch. Although, I don't think shoes would have helped that much.
you're probably right, although every time i look at my mangled toe i wonder "what if..."

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Post by KPj » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:52 am

Jungledoc wrote:I find that our rack doesn't have a position that is exactly the right height for me, and I either have to use one that makes it a little hard to get the bar off the hooks, or drop down 6 inches. I like to workout barefoot, but I can't tell much difference between barefoot and chucks, but the chucks raise me up the centimeter that I need to use the rack properly.
I'm the same with our rack. When using a wide stance I take it off the lower pins and when using a close stance I can get away with the higher ones....

KPj


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