By Coach Nick
This is one of the most common questions I’m asked when coaching, “should I wear lifters today?”. It’s a reasonable question, seeing as we are constantly doing different movements and combinations of them. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Do: Wear them when lifting for heavy weight:
Lifters provide stability, better range of motion and muscle activation. That means that if I’m going for big weight on Squats or Olympic Lifts (Snatch, Clean, Jerk) I would put them on. There are other lifts that could use them as well, but in my opinion they help the most on the ones above.
- Don’t: Wear them when Deadlifting:
The best way to Deadlift is barefoot or shoes with very little cushion in the shoe’s sole. Lifters have a bit too much give for this lift, which means that you won’t be able to apply power into the ground as well. Lifters also change your movement and can pitch you forward due to the elevated heel, which is counterproductive with the Deadlift
- Do: Wear them if you have ankle mobility restrictions:
As stated above, lifters can help with ankle mobility and this can lead to better and safer movements. Especially with the Squat. That does not mean that you shouldn’t work on mobility, but lifters can be helpful in alleviating things in the short term.
- Don’t: Rely on them too much:
If you are doing functional fitness in a variety of ways, lifters can be a crutch. If you begin to rely on them too heavily then you may find you need to change shoes mid workout just to be able to do a lift. This reduces intensity and shouldn’t be necessary. You should have a solid foundation with all lifts without any additional equipment. Lifters are just a way to elevate yourself a bit further
The bottom line is that lifters are a wonderful tool to help improve performance, but shouldn’t be constantly leaned on. You can always ask a coach if today is a good day for them and we will give you an honest answer. Make sure to have a solid foundation of strength, technique and mobility first; then use those lifters to make yourself even better!