Happy Hump Day everyone! Today I’d like to address another accessory most CrossFitters use and that is the olympic lifting shoes. If you don’t have a pair and are serious about your lifts, it helps to have them. To wear or not to wear or when to wear them. That is the question. Check out another great article from Verve on Oly shoes.
Olympic lifting shoes were created for the specific sport of Olympic lifting. Here is why:
1) Spreading the floor- Olympic lifting shoes possess straps, which allow us to push out against the side of the shoe with our foot, increasing hip activation. More hip activation will equate to a stronger pull or squat.
2) More stability- Olympic lifting shoes have a wooden sole with rubber on the bottom to prevent sliding. This means our feet will consistently be on a stable surface, unlike Chuck’s, which have a compressible sole. More stability means we will have a consistent platform from which to push.
3) Heel- Olympic lifting shoes typically have at minimum a .5” to a 1” heel. This heel allows the lifter to squat into a deeper position due to the increased range of motion for the ankle joint. The raised heel also allows the lifter’s chest to stay upright, even in the bottom of a deep squat with the bar held overhead or in the front rack (snatch and clean & jerk). *As a side note about the heel, this does not permit us to slack on our mobility of the ankle and hip, just because the shoe can help mask the issue. We should be able to squat without artificial support.
If we are in fact doing Olympic lifting or movements associated with Olympic lifting, i.e. front squat and overhead squat, then yes let’s strap on our Oly shoes. But what about those other barbell movements, our Power lifting moves? Should we continue to wear our Oly shoes? Because these shoes were designed for a specific sport the same benefits to wearing them do not exist when doing Power lifts (back squat, deadlift, sumo deadlift). Power lifting is a completely different sport. The same ankle mobility required in Olympic lifting is not required in Power lifting and the extra height on the shoe can actually be problematic during our deadlifts and back squat. Oly shoes create more distance to be covered in the lift as well as push us forward when we really need to stay back in our heels/ posterior chain. Also Oly shoes were designed for a narrower stance squat, so they may feel awkward when doing a wide stance back squat or sumo deadlift. For Power lifting a more flat, stable shoe is recommended.
When the WOD is the “Olympic Total”- Olympic lifting shoes. If the WOD is the “CrossFit Total”- flat shoes.
20 Min amrap:
6 power snatches 95#/65# RX+ 135#/85#
14 jumping lunges
200 meter run