Are You Wearing the Proper Footwear While Exercising?

April 20th, 2022

It is Important to Make Sure You Are Wearing the Correct Shoes!

The squat is one of the most important exercises for core strength. The squat, as noted by renowned strength coach Mark Rippetoe, is one exercise that works those core muscles.

Those of us concerned with maintaining a high fitness level, from weekend warriors to pro athletes, rely on a strong set of core muscles to stabilize the body and allow us to perform to the best of our ability. Athletes strive to improve their form in order to perform fundamental exercises better.

In the case of squats, this means decreasing the forward lean during the workout, getting the thighs as close to horizontal with one another as possible, and keeping the hips at or below knee level.

What happens to the feet during squats is debatable. Some people believe that your feet should be flat on the ground, while others believe the heel should be raised slightly. Those who believe in heel elevation frequently wear running or weightlifting shoes.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to make sure you are wearing the proper footwear while performing your exercises. To learn more, contact us today.

Weightlifting shoes vs. running shoes

Weightlifting shoes appear to be the better option for squatting at first glance. Because of a wider base and differences in construction, such as a less flexible midsole, most weightlifting shoes provide lateral stability that running shoes do not. Additionally, running shoes are also cushioned, which absorbs energy when exercising.

During squats, the weightlifter is consistently trying to redirect as much energy as possible vertically during movement.

We anticipate that the differences in shape, cushioning, and construction between weightlifting shoes and other types of footwear will result in a different outcome when exercising, which is why our physical therapists recommend footwear meant specifically for weightlifting while performing your workouts.

In fact, scientific studies can actually show exactly what kinematic differences will occur when either type of shoe is worn!

Why should I wear the proper footwear?

A study conducted by three researchers at the University of Northern Colorado observed the differences when fit, college-aged males performed repetitions of squats at 60% of their maximum ability. The study participants randomly switched between running shoes and an unnamed brand of weightlifting shoes.

The researchers observed the range of motion (ROM), trunk displacement and ankle flexion.

The weightlifting shoes produced less trunk displacement than the running shoes. This means the athletes in the study exhibited less forward lean during the exercise. They were able to redirect the energy upward. The researchers surmised this was due to less stress on the lower back.

The weightlifting shoes produced a difference in peak ankle flexion. This was to be expected due to the lifted position of the heel in weightlifting shoes. The result was that it was easier for the study participants to maintain proper squat form during the exercise, with the thighs and hips closer to vertical and less forward lean. The knees more easily moved over the toes, reducing hip flexion, which also promoted better form and performance.

The participants in the study commented that they thought it was easier to perform squats in the weightlifting shoes than in the running shoes. This may have been due to the reduced stress on the lower back or through some other factors, such as the mental conditioning of being told you are using shoes specifically for weightlifting rather than for running.

Are you wearing weightlifting shoes while performing your squats?

The benefits of weightlifting shoes when doing squats may be negligible for weekend warriors or non-professional athletes. It may even be more beneficial for the novice weightlifters to wear shoes with less heel lift so that they can concentrate on proper form. However, weightlifting shoes can help experienced strength athletes and powerlifters maintain form during heavy lifting or competition.

It is important to note that squats should be performed with proper form, in order to avoid injury. According to the findings of the aforementioned study, weightlifting shoes promote better form, which should help prevent injury. This aspect of wearing weightlifting shoes while performing squats can greatly benefit athletes.

Looking for more information? We can help

Do you want to learn how to get the most out of your squats while also lowering your risk of injury? Please contact us right away!

We can help you discover the proper form for your workouts and learn which types of footwear will be best for you.