Squatting - Equipment

Squat - Equipment

Two pieces of standard squatting gear - shoes and knee wraps - should be carefully selected and used, not only to maximize your lift but to maintain the short and long-term health of your knees.

  • SHOES - Your shoes are literally where the rubber meets the road. Don't ever train in your tennies. Most general purpose athletic shoes lack adequate longitudinal or transverse stability and have little or no arch support for heavy lifting. As you squat, your feet may develop a tendency to pronate, or cave in toward the inside. When this occurs, the knees are also forced inward, leading to a constant strain on the medial collateral ligaments, excessive shear force on the meniscus and improper patellar tracking, which can lead to chondromalacia. If your feet tend to pronate anyway or if you're prone to being knock-kneed (and these two conditions are very often associated with each other), it becomes even more important to select good training shoes.

  • Specialized squatting shoes provide a deep and solid heel cup that prevents the foot from rocking and rolling to the outside, causing great stress on the lateral collateral ligaments of your knees.

  • KNEE WRAPS - When properly used, wraps can improve knee safety during heavy squatting. Just as important is the fact that wraps give you at least a 5%-10% increase in how much you can lift. Wearing them while squatting under 80-85% of your max is counterproductive because the wrap absorbs the stress so the muscle tissues never get stronger. Keeping your knees warm (wrapped loosely) improves blood flow and tissue elasticity, improving safety.

  • When buying knee wraps, opt for ones that weigh the most (more fabric equals greater protection) and that stretch out to at least 19-20 feet in length (more times around the knee equals greater protection). Don't purchase wraps that are bulky, heavily elasticized and stretch out to fewer than 15 feet. Tightness from elasticity doesn't provide you real support.

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