Taking A Look At How The Ankle Complex Impacts The Squat

Recently I had a client of mine present to the clinic and he has started adding in the overhead squat to his exercise routine.  He was reporting that there was a marked difference in comfort and technique when performing the overhead with bare feet/flat shoes Vs heels raised.

In the image below you will see a comparative photo of the client in a static squat position with feet flat on the left Vs heels raised on the right.

As you can see from the photo, he clearly hits a better position when the heels are raised. Often there is a big debate around feet flat Vs heels raised with weight lifting and what we should be advising our clients.    When it comes to providing advice on this, often I will look at the individual and work towards what best suits their structure and biomechanics.  For some clients I will advise feet flat squatting if they have the requisite movement abilities and can perform this safely, whereas others I will prescribe a shoe with a slight heel raise.  It all comes down to their biomechanics, structure and how they move.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t try and improve their mobility, stability or motor control issues though, as I will always be working to improve these and address any particular asymmetries.  This client is currently working on improving their foot/ankle mobility through a series of exercises as well as addressing areas of tightness through their hips and thoracic spine.  When it comes to having this client overhead squat, he is currently performing a series of bodyweight overhead squats without heels raised, then progresses to loaded overhead squats with heels raised.    For me, there is no right or wrong way to perform an exercise, it simply comes back to what we are trying to achieve and whether the risk vs benefit is there (that is risk of injury vs outcome of the exercise).

This blog was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.

Principle Four Osteopathy

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics.

The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation.

To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.