A lot goes into your training and accessories when you take up a sport like Powerlifting. Powerlifting is a heavy-duty sport that requires you to go under a heavily loaded bar for various lifts. The loaded bar isn’t just loaded for the sake of it, rather the load can equal 2-3 times your body weight and in some cases even way more than that. For an elite powerlifter, going under a 500 lb squat bar can be a pretty normal task. There are powerlifters with the highest squat of over 1000 lbs even. So you get the gist of how taxing and rushing powerlifting can be. In order to be able to lift such enormous weights, a powerlifter needs to be prepared both mentally and physically. After he or she is ready in these two aspects the next thing that comes into play is equipping themselves with the proper powerlifting gear or accessories. This is in order to make sure a heavily guarded and safe environment is created for the training session. One of the most essential and often neglected gear by the powerlifting beginners is the powerlifting shoes or the lifting shoes. Powerlifting shoes/Lifting shoes/Weightlifting shoes are specially designed shoes meant for helping the professional lifters perform efficiently and safely at their respective lifts. So if you’re starting out with a powerlifting training with an aim to compete in near future and your mind is in a dilemma of whether to invest in a pair lifting shoes or not then all we can say is clear up the fuss and invest in them. So are powerlifting shoes worth it?
Yes, powerlifting shoes are worth investing in as they allow for a more efficient and better lift. The elevated heels of lifting shoes ensure an upright position of your back and chest when performing a lift such as a squat. This allows you to sink in deeper and achieve the full range of motion on the lift. One of the other most important benefits of investing in a good powerlifting shoe is the fact they allow for more ankle mobility and foot stability when under tension. This reduces your chance of injuring your knee or ankle. The hardened soles of the lifting shoes help produce more force to lift up the bar. Let’s understand these concepts in more intricate details so you can fully be equipped with the knowledge of whether you should invest in a set of powerlifting shoes or not.
Benefits of Powerlifting Shoes
Improved Ankle Mobility
Powerlifting shoes feature a solid elevated heel and ankle support. These 2 allow for a greater degree of movement and mobility when you go down on a lift. The elevated heels help keep your body upright without letting it fall forward under the heavy load. This considerably lowers the stress on your ankles. Compare this to a flat sole or barefoot, when you go down on a squat your ankles flare when under tension. If you lack mobility you will not be able to achieve the full range of motion as your ankles will not allow you to go further without hurting yourself. A lack of mobility, in this case, will mean your spine may give up the upright position when getting back up. Doing a lift on an elevated platform will eliminate this problem as your heels are an inch higher now. The ankle support on lifting shoes improves the positioning and movement of the ankle. When the mobility of various joints are improved they allow for a more comfortable and easier lift. The increased mobility factor also correlates to proper injury-free execution of the said lift.
Solid Foundation Owing To Better Stability
Another prominent feature of the powerlifting shoe is the wide surface area of the sole. The wider edged sole of lifting shoe sanctions more area for your body to settle in when coming down on a lift like squat or clean and press. A narrow base may cause your body to stumble. There are many cases of accidents where people’s foot have snapped under a heavy squat. A wide surface eliminates the risk of any such problem. The soles of these lifting shoes are not the compressible soft ones you’ll find in a running shoe. Rather they’re the hard kind. In the earlier days, wood was used as the material for the soles in lifting shoes. As time evolved, hard plastic is the go-to raw material for soles of lifting shoes. The hard sole creates a more stable base thus granting you the power to lift more risk-free. A running shoe would usually wobble under pressure but it is not the case with a hard sole. It is also the reason why you’ll notice people squatting barefoot or wearing converse, vans or chucks. But a lifting shoe offers more benefits than converse or chuck will, so it is well worth investing in them.
Extra Push For The Lift
The thick hard sole of powerlifting shoes absorbs very little force compared to a running shoe. This allows for producing relatively more force when getting up from the bottom of the squat. The concept pushing the ground with your feet become for efficient and easier here. Running shoes have compressible sole, so when you go down on a squat the sole compresses and absorbs a lot of force that was exerted. Pushing the ground from there becomes a tedious job as you have to produce a lot more force now. With a hard surface like that of a powerlifting shoe, only the necessary amount of force is used and no extra wastage occurs in the form of absorption. Thus lifting up from there becomes slightly easier. These shoes are designed to aid the lifter in every possible way.
Reduced Risk of Injuries
The mix of all the facts above ensures a safe training session for you. With improved mobility in the ankles and the other joints of the lower body, a number of knee and ankle injuries can be avoided. The wide hardened sole of the powerlifting shoe ensures you have a strong foundation for the lift and none of your joints snaps halfway through the lift. The important ankle support helps you to get a deeper squat by ensuring the positioning of your ankles is right and the don’t flare out during the movement. Therefore the lifting shoes help prevent a number of injuries by laying down a strong base for your lift. Most lifting shoes are equipped with straps to lock in the shoes tight around your foot. Always ensure when purchasing a lifting shoe that there is no room for any looseness in the shoe after being worn. The shoe should be comfortable and have no space for your feet to wiggle around.
Efficiency in Lift
The combination and the design of the lifting shoes not only provide a risk-free environment but also provides efficiency in lifting. The elevated heels grants for all the required muscles to work better. Thus helping the lifter settle in deep in the squatting position and reap the benefits of hypertrophy by engaging all the muscles. A pair of well-designed lifting shoe aids the lifter to lift up the bar from the bottom positioning of a squat without exerting too much force. This ensures efficiency in lifting for the lifter.