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Fitness & Health

25th Jun 2018

Want bigger quads? Squat with weightlifting shoes

If you thought they were just an expensive toy for Olympians, you'd be mistaken

Alex Roberts

They are typically seen as a training tool for elite-level athletes, but research shows weightlifting shoes can help anyone build bigger quads

Powerlifters and Olympic athletes are the primary purveyors of weightlifting shoes, which is at least grounded in some truth.

For those who regularly programme the clean, jerk, snatch and squat, the shoes are essential. You can also lift more weight with weightlifting shoes – vital if you compete in powerlifting or sports where your lower body lifts are directly assessed.

Traditional running shoes are not conducive to an impressive squat. They are designed for what the name dictates – the ‘does what it says on the tin’ effect. The raised sole and built-in cushioning absorbs the shock of pounding away on the pavements when you head out for a run.

Heavy compound lifts require more stability, and a shoe that allows you to generate force from the ground up. Squatting shoeless – or with Converse – is a far better bet for this reason.

(Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

Specialised weightlifting shoes go even better, however.

The slightly-raised heel allows you to squat deeper, placing a greater stretch on the target muscle groups. The pros don’t end there, though.

According to research conducted by St. Mary’s University, squatting with weightlifting shoes increases the amount of knee flexion in the legs.

The flexion of any joint will activate the muscles around it, and this is certainly the case for your legs. Increased knee flexion corresponds to greater quad muscle growth.

If you’re skipping leg day or struggling to grow your pins, weightlifting shoes could prove a worthy (if slightly pricy) investment. Due to their usual cost, this is further reason to ditch expensive takeaways in the run-up to summer.

For more motivation, check out this insane footage of Chinese weightlifter Tian Tao effortlessly squatting 300 kilograms