A common problem people have when it comes to squatting is being able to keep their heels on the floor and remain in balance. It wasn’t until a buddy of mine alerted me to the fact he could not physically squat without falling over. After much deliberation and frustration on my part I decided to look into how to fix the problem.
A solution my friend came up with was to just keep the heels raised off the floor, I was skeptical but he said it was advised on a forum. He managed to get good depth and remained in balance but he suffered some intense lower back pain. This is because having your heels raised off the floor increases the pressure on the lower back, hence the back pain. It’s therefore crucial you solve the problem rather than trying to work around it. To feel the full benefit of squatting you need the correct squat technique.
Squat Technique tweaks if your heels raise off the floor
Curl your toes up
Your heels will not leave the ground if your toes are curled up. It will also drive most of the pressure through the centre of your feet reducing strain on the joints.
Hip Flexor Mobility
Hip flexor muscles help in flexing the femur and pull the knee upwards. Your feet coming of the floor will usually be a sign of some sort of compensation for poor hip flexor mobility. By conducting a series on lunges, both forwards and reverse and split squats will increase the flexibility of this muscle and stop your heels coming off the floor.
Usually going hand in hand with weak hip flexors is having weak gluteus Maximus this is known as a reciprocal inhibition. So in order to increase this flexibility you need to perform gluteus activation exercises. A bulgarian split leg squat is great for engaging the glutes. Stand facing away from a bench and place one leg on back on it and squat until your leading legs reaches 90 degrees then raise yourself up again. It’s hard to explain so it’s worth Googling. Another exercise is the single legs Romanian deadlift. Both really activate the glutes.
Having a spongy sole is not going to help you in any way when it comes to getting the right squat technique. Instead you should invest in a training shoe that has a firm flat foot. This will ensure your weight is distributed correctly through the sole of the foot and you will not have a spongy soft sole lurching you forwards.
Another reason your heel may be coming off the floor is that your quads are stronger than you posterior chain. In order to strengthen your hamstrings conduct some dead lifts. This will also aid you in your squat technique allowing you to lift more because of a stronger core. Power cleans are also great for building up hamstrings and increasing strength.
So here are 5 solutions in order to improve your squat technique and keep those heels on the ground.
If you have any solutions of your own I would love to heard them, I just accumulated the best I could find.
Remember don’t put plates underneath your heels you need to sort the problem out.