Squat with elevated heels good idea?

Was having a debate wheter or not for sprinting squatting with elevated heels would be a good idea or even be more functional when it comes to training for sprint speed.

My argument goes like:
developing a high hams/quads strength ratio is crucial for speed. Therefore you should focus more on hamstrings than on quads. Your squat style should reflect that by putting most of the stress on the posterior chain versus on the quads.

The counter-argument goes like:

  • sprinting is done on the ball of the feet so, squatting with elevated heels is a more functional with respect to sprinting
  • Ben Johnson (supposedly) squatted with elevated heels for this reason

Who can shed some light on this?
Also is it true that Ben Johnson and for that matter top sprinters in general train the squat in a heels elevated fashion?

i personally wouldn’t have any athlete squat with the heels elevated.i have seen coaches prescribing this method to their athletes because of tight calves or bad ROM in the achilles etc…personally i would avoid this as the exercise itself will auto stretch with time.

I squat with elevated heels only because I’m not flexible enough to have even decent form without them being elevated. I never really weighed the differences, but have always thought that it was better to squat this way than not at all, or with form more like a good morning than a squat.

If I do actually think about it, I like the idea of more closely matching what you are training for, but I would still probably incorporate both styles into your training.

I have 2 clients who I have raise their heels because of a pre existing condition with their achillies being very tight. I have noticed some more ROM since giving them squats.

I think for sprinting you want that flexibility in the ankle. I think this is one of the reasons Charlie recommends a deep squat.

MB,try this exercise for the next month with no elevation.use it and test it to see the results.you may get a shock with the results in your favour

Plook, i would say the same to yourself.try it then see the results.

Does Charlie Francis recommend a squat with elevated heels? And is the story that Ben Johnson trained that way true?

Try what? I do squat deep and without my heels elevated. I only have 2 of my clients using elevation because of their history.

I drop my ass to the grass boy.

I’ve never read or heard Charlie recommend squats with an elevated heel.

I think I will. This was just an old habit I picked up when I first started lifting. I really haven’t given it any thought since. Thanks!

sorry plook,misread on my behalf :o :o

Isn’t squatting with elevated heels bad for the knee’s?

how do you make this out…John explain a little please

Its just something ive heard, could be a rumor.

Elevating the heel moves some of the force from hamstrings to quads, thus causing a strength imbalance in the knees. All you have to do is get into a squat position (without weights) and feel how the tightness of the quads and particularly the hams changes when you shift from heel down to heel up.

when pushing “up” try to push with the heels of the feet.try it,feel it and let me know.

akh good point!

This was one of the reasons why I originally began elevating my heels. Squats were in my lifting program primarily to target my quads - I just didn’t get a good quad workout without elevating my heels. Furthermore, my hamstrings tend to be FAR stronger than my quads. This is probably why I slightly pull my quad at every kickball game :o

you are one in hundreds if this is really the case.how do you know your ratios between your Q’s vs H’s

Ok, I might have phrased that a little off. What I meant is my hamstring LIFTS are far stronger than my quad lifts, i.e. I can stiff-legged dead lift twice or more what I can squat with elevated heels (the difference is even more with a front squat), and, when I actually do them, my leg curls are stronger than my leg extensions. Also, when I postion my legs on the leg press machine to target my hammies more, my pundages go way up.

To answer your question directly: I don’t know the ratios between my quad and hams, my statement was just based on the anecdotal evidence I listed above, which is skectchy at best. What I was really meaning to illustrate with my post was my rationale for trying to target my quads by tweaking the squat.

Do you know of any ways to self-test the ratios?

I’ve squatted with raised heels for many years without any problems.
I find it works best for me but for others it may not.

I don’t see the difference between squatting with a little plate beneath the heel and wearing a pair of o-lifting shoes (which have a bit up wedge in the heel). The principle is the same, but you don’t get people posting on the dangers of wearing lifting shoes…