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Dear Dr. Bell, is there a certain type of shoe that is better for heavy Olympic lifts? People in my gym have “lifting shoes.” I hear the flat shoes are the way to go? Any thoughts?
If you are a beginner or intermediate lifter, Olympic Shoes (which have about a 2 inch heel) may help you increase your lift. They aid you by enabling you to keep your torso more upright throughout your lift. The increased quadriceps activation my actually give you more hypertrophy and increased strength in your quads. Use caution to thoroughly stretch your calf/Achilles Tendon Complex post exercise so you do not decrease your Range of Motion(ROM) in your lower leg due to the use of these shoes.
If your weakness is in the Squat portion of your Olympic Lifts or you want to develop the strength of your Squat, you may want to use flat lifting shoes. Very few elite level Powerlifters use Olympic shoes. Many Powerlifters use Olympic shoes and transition to flat shoes around the 400 pound Squat level.
The Converse Chuck Taylors are popular with Powerlifters.
Dr. Jim Bell