Monday, December 7, 2015

Weightlifting shoes for Christmas

Toby's new shiny shoes
As you start to go up in weight, you're going to find that real weightlifting shoes are going to be very important. Some people (even me in the past) tend to think of weightlifting shoes as a crutch and that you should not use added gear, but that's not true - they are actually a good idea. Why should you buy them?

The heel. The added ½"-1" of lift on the heel gives you some pseudo-ankle flexibility and allows your knees to track farther over your toes. This will allow your center of gravity to be pushed a little bit forward and you can then keep a more vertical torso. If I've given you the rubber mat to lift your heel in a squat, then you need weightlifting shoes - they're much safer than trying to step up on the mat with a loaded barbell.

The solid sole. Weightlifting shoes are not squishy. It's actually pretty dangerous to be lifting in thick-soled running shoes. You don't want foam compressing unequally when the weight gets heavy, or as you shift your weight from a pull to a catch you don't want the shoe changing your geometry. The stability also helps you keep your knees moving in a single plane rather than having your knees collapse inward.

The velcro strap. Remember when I say "shove your knees out" or "push the ground apart", that means you're adding a lateral force on the shoe while you're lifting. A flimsy shoe will roll when you add that force, a weightlifting shoe is designed to transfer that force to the ground.

I don't want to require everyone to pay a lot for special purpose shoes, but if you are coming to the gym frequently and you're serious about getting strong, you should splurge for some good shoes. It's also a safety issue, it's no good to lift on a unstable surface (no matter what the trainers at the big-box gyms say). The variety and prices are so much better now than when I bought my shoes, you really have no excuses. Ask your friends and family to get you a pair for Christmas.
power clean 5x3 - add weight from last time (more info)
21-15-9 reps for time:

KB snatch, each arm
calorie row
box jump