Weightlifting Shoe… WHY?

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Today’s Workout

“Vortex PLUS”
Run 1.5 miles for time
At minute one, perform 15 push ups.
Minute two, 15 jumping lunges (count every left foot)
Minute three, 15 push ups.
Continue in this pattern until you’ve run 1.5 miles, or become “stuck in the Vortex.”

Note: Your score for this WOD is the time it takes you to run 1.5 miles, or the distance/time when you got “Vortexed”.Have you ever thought about Olympic weightlifting shoes and wondered, WHY? No? Well, I have. Why a wooden platform? Why low-top? And what about the heel lift? That’s the most puzzling part for me… I mean do all Oly lifters have poor ankle flexibility and they use the angled bottom of the shoe to “cheat”? And what about the fact that every strength coach in the world cues squatting with “keep your weight in your heels.” If the shoe is angled forward, doesn’t that push your center of mass forward, toward the ball of your foot? It seems to me that if you’re supposed to keep the weight in your heels, the shoe should have the front of the foot RAISED up, so that your heels are lower than your toes… now THAT would put the weight in your heels!!

So, if weightlifting shoes are angled forward, why? Well, my good friend, Drew Wallace sent me this article on the history of the development of the weightlifting shoe. It is very long… but I totally geeked out in reading it… (give it a shot, you can “geek out” too!). It turns out, the purpose of the angle of the bottom of the shoe is to allow weightlifters to keep their torso erect while having their ENTIRE foot in contact with the floor for BALANCE and STABILITY, while their ankles are stretched at the limit of their flexibility in a deep squat or lunge. In the old days, without the heel lift, it was common to see a weightlifter with his heel completely off the ground… all the weight in the ball of his foot. And while this is possible, it’s really not safe for the lifter and it creates quite the unstable platform for finishing the lift.

Did you catch that? Really strong guys lifting weights with their weight in the BALL of their foot? WHAT? How many burpees would those WORLD CHAMPIONS be doing at CFLA if our coaches caught them with the weight in the ball of their foot? So it turns out that you CAN lift, squat, press, jump, dead WITHOUT your weight in your heels and with your knees in front of the tips of your toes? Hmmm… will explore that subject in a later post… this is plenty for now. Thoughts?

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Rudolph Plukfelder – split snatch



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