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Thread: Squatting and deadlifting with flat feet

  1. #1

    Squatting and deadlifting with flat feet

    A question I've always pondered on as a person with flat feet, is how much of a limiting factor it will have on my squats and deadlifts.

    What I'm curious is, will a person with flat feet be at a genetic disadvantage to squatting and deadlifting as opposed to someone without?

    To no coincidence, I had valgus knee, Patella femoral syndrome, and a host of other hip and knee problems.

    I have a feeling it's caused a host of soft-tissue restrictions, causing me to hammer mobility work alot more than those with a good natural arch. Or maybe it's just me.

  2. #2
    Member GymRat's Avatar
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    I don't believe in flat feet. Only lazy feet.

    "Poor foot posture" would be a more accurate name.

    If you go up onto your toes, does your foot have an arch?

    I always cue people to set their feet before commencing the lift.
    I.e. pressure through the big toe knuckle, and the heel. Then externally rotate. I've never met anyone yet who wasn't able to create an arch.
    Getting them to constantly work on holding an arch when standing (just at a 20% effort level, opposed to 100% effort when lifting) is another thing entirely.
    It start concious, but should develop to an unconscious behaviour, just l like holding any other posture if practised enough.

    Knees in, hip impingement, hips curling under at the bottom of the squat...... first place i look for all of these is the feet.


    Ps. I'm not a podiatrist obviously... just a gymrat
    Last edited by GymRat; 06-26-2014 at 10:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have flat feet too. Like completely flat. For squats I actually use some pretty tough/heavy Olympic Lifting shoes that keep my feet in place. Make sure you push your knees out by activating your glutes and you should be fine. Flat feet shouldn't cause trouble for CDL I think, but I don't know about sumo.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by GymRat View Post
    I.e. pressure through the big toe knuckle, and the heel. Then externally rotate.
    Agree. I find that pointing my toes upwards helps me.

    Quote Originally Posted by GymRat View Post
    Knees in, hip impingement, hips curling under at the bottom of the squat...... first place i look for all of these is the feet.
    About the hips at the bottom. I'm relatively mobile (long skinny legs) and prefer to do deep / ATG squats. Got feedback from an observer some while ago that my hips tend to dip inwards at / near the bottom position. AFAIK I've never experienced any problems due to this. The guy observing (a more seasoned powerlifter) warned that this might become an issue later on.

    What's your opinion - is this something I should work on (i.e. more mobility training) or is it simply a natural movement?

  5. #5
    Member GymRat's Avatar
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    A very long, avoiding office work, answer.

    What's your opinion - is this something I should work on (i.e. more mobility training) or is it simply a natural movement?
    Definitely something to work on... and yes it "might" become an issue as the disc of the spine don't enjoy going from extension (disc fluid at the front) to flexion (disc fluid at the back), especially under loads, but for some people with long femurs, or inflexible ankles, it is something that has to happen for the person to maintain balance. This may become an issue, or it may not. It depends.
    To me, and my limited understanding of physics, in this situation (long femur or inflexible ankles) the hips tuck under to maintain centre of balance.

    If ankle flexibility is limited, I cue the person to exaggerate the knees out position to try to find the extra range. Ideally the knees go forward or slightly out, (i like the knee to push outside the line of the big toe, not superdupa wide ala K.Star). However if the ankle range stops due to limited flexibility and the knee can not keep travelling forward, the femurs need to go somewhere, and out is more favourable to try and resist the hips tucking under. (If the femurs can't go further forward at the knee, they will go further back at the hip, thus leading to the hips tucking under).

    Something i have played around with myself thinking more about muscle load sequencing in the lift.

    I use to always cue people, knees out, hips back. But for people who have a problem with the hips tucking under, i will only cue the knees out, and sometimes even knees forward. This squat start is more like the dip in a jerk, than a squat, i.e. no hip flexion.
    At some point the hips will flex, BUT.... my theory is...

    The person sets up for a squat with an anterior pelvic tilt before they initiate the squat. IF you push the hips back first, you are creating a 'posterior tilting' (hips tucking under) tension via the hamstrings. Now, if you delay the hip flexion, and just cue knees out, keeping the torso vertical, you are creating an anterior tilting tension via the quads/hip flexors.
    To me, this locks in the anterior tilt better, thus assisting when you eventually get the hip flexion happening half way down and at the bottom of the squat. Its like giving the anterior tilt a head start in a tugga-war battle that starts when you get to the bottom.

    Now, i have mostly just played with this with high bar squatters, and only around 5 lifters and myself. I think it has merit and am continuing to use it with the lifters i work with.

    SO.. yes it is a natural movement to maintain balance. But yes, it is something i would work on and try to prevent for injury reasons, but also stability under load. The spine works best and is at its strongest for squatting when it is fixed in a rigid position.

  6. #6
    Seems you're a bit familiar with this issue

    I try to mobilise my ankles and hips through dynamic stretching before each session. I can definitely do some more stretching at other times as well. I seem to be able to do deep front squats without too much pelvic tilt at bottom, but I need to work on the neck squats. Long femurs..

  7. #7

    planter fasciitis

    My husband needs in his size and width and with Velcro closings. Due to his work he also goes through shoes at a fast rate. We depend on orhofeet for the shoes that keep him comfortable and allow him to wear for both work and leisure. I always order from your site and never have a problem.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by akshayv View Post
    My husband needs in his size and width and with Velcro closings. Due to his work he also goes through shoes at a fast rate. We depend on orhofeet for the shoes that keep him comfortable and allow him to wear for both work and leisure. I always order from your site and never have a problem.
    Can you show me the site where you buy ? Thanks

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