The Science Behind Squat Wedgiez

Backed by Science:  Research suggests that squat wedges may reduce the risk of injury while squatting, improve squat depth, and target specific muscle groups (1-7). Anyone can benefit from using squat wedges, especially if you struggle to squat deeply.

“It is clear that for both trained and untrained subjects, a heel elevation helps in improving depth of the squat.” -Jagessar, 2019

“This study indicates that from a perspective of spinal safety, it appears advantageous for novice weight trainers to perform back squats with their heels slightly elevated..”- Sayers, et al. 2020

Train Smarter, NOT Harder: 

Training a muscle through its full range of motion has been shown to be superior for muscle growth (8). If you aren’t able to stress the muscle due to limitations then the muscle won’t grow or become stronger. Using squat wedges can be an effective way to improve your range of motion and increase your lower body muscle mass. 

Workout anywhere and anytime: 

Squat Wedgiez were built to be used anywhere, so that your workout wouldn’t be limited to the gym. You can take them to the park, beach, hotel, or home gym. And since they weigh less than a pound, you can fly with them too! 

FAQS

1. What is the difference between the two wedges?

Travel Wedgiez were built for busy professionals who need a compact wedge they can bring to their workouts. They have an extra grip on the bottom surface sp that you can train anywhere. Also, they are built out of a high-density polyethylene material capable of holding up to 750 pounds.

The XL Wedgiez are much larger and give you a greater range of heel elevation. They are ideal for larger feet or those who need a higher heel elevation to squat. They are built out of high-density foam that can hold up to 500 pounds. Deformation of the foam is common after a heavy lift, but it will bounce back to its standard shape.

2. What does elevating the heel do?

Elevating the heel shifts your center of mass backward so that you have more space for your knees to go forward. This will allow for a deeper squat movement that will target the thighs and glutes more compared to a partial range of motion squat.

Also, if you struggle to keep the heels down while squatting, adding a wedge underneath them can teach you how to feel your heels. The feeling of the ground in contact with your heel will improve your balance and give your brain the sensory information it needs to perform the squat optimally.
3. How high should you elevate your heel?
You should elevate the heel as much as you need so that your heels aren't lifting when squatting, but not at the cost of pain. For some, elevating the heel too much can cause slight knee pain due to the extra loading on the knee.
If you feel discomfort, reduce the load by performing an assisted variation of the exercise or decreasing the range of motion. Over time, the joints and muscles will become stronger, allowing you to perform the full range of motion movements.
4. What does elevating the forefoot do?

Elevating the forefoot shifts your center of mass forward giving you more space for your hips and knees to pull backward. Having the toes elevated can prevent excessive forward knee movement in a Romanian deadlift or hip thrust. Also, elevating the forefoot will extend the toes, which will improve ankle mobility.

5. How high should you elevate your forefoot?
You should elevate the forefoot as much as you need so that your knees don't track over your toes during a hip hinge exercise. If the position feels off balanced, elevate the forefoot less. For calf raises, elevate the forefoot enough to feel a calf stretch.
6. Can't I Just Use Plates?
Weight plates may elevate your heel, but they don’t bring your center of mass backward; they put more pressure on your forefoot, which is not the goal. The purpose of a heel elevated squat is to shift your weight backward so that the knees have more space to go forward.

Also, you have to stack three five-pound plates to get the same heel elevation as Squat Wedgiez. Weight plates leave gaps between your feet and the ground, decreasing your balance and reducing the sensory information needed for your ankle and foot to work optimally. 

 

If you have any more questions, please email squatwedges@gmail.com

Thank you for letting me give you a wedgie,

Erik Rokisky, CSCS

Founder

References

  1. Sriwarno, Andar & Shimomura, Yoshihiro & Iwanaga, Koichi & Katsuura, Tetsuo. (2008). The Effects of Heel Elevation on Postural Adjustment and Activity of Lower-Extremity Muscles during Deep Squatting-to-Standing Movement in Normal Subjects. Journal of Physical Therapy Science - J PHYS THER SCI. 20. 31-38. 10.1589/jpts.20.31. 
  2. Jagessar, Miguel. (2019). 2D Kinematic Analysis of the Effect of Heel Elevation on Squat Depth. 10.13140/RG.2.2.17688.34568. 
  3. Sayers, Mark & Bachem, Caroline & Schütz, Pascal & Taylor, William & List, Renate & Lorenzetti, Silvio & Hosseini Nasab, Seyyed Hamed. (2020). The effect of elevating the heels on spinal kinematics and kinetics during the back squat in trained and novice weight trainers. Journal of Sports Sciences. 38. 1-9. 10.1080/02640414.2020.1738675. 
  4. Jonathan Sinclair, Bobbie Butters, Paul John Taylor, Mark Stone, Ian Bentley & Christopher James Edmundson (2020) Effects of different footwear on kinetics, kinematics and muscle forces during the barbell back squat; an exploration using Bayesian modelling, Footwear Science, 12:3, 139-152, DOI: 10.1080/19424280.2020.1769202
  5. Charlton, J. M., Hammond, C. A., Cochrane, C. K., Hatfield, G. L., & Hunt, M. A. (2017). The Effects of a Heel Wedge on Hip, Pelvis and Trunk Biomechanics During Squatting in Resistance Trained Individuals. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 31(6), 1678–1687. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001655
  6. Johnston, Christopher; Hunt-Murray, Chase; and Hsieh, ChengTu (2017) "EFFECT OF HEEL HEIGHTS ON LOWER EXTREMITY MUSCLE ACTIVATION FOR BACK-SQUAT PERFORMANCE," ISBS Proceedings Archive: Vol. 35 : Iss. 1 , Article 176. Available at: https://commons.nmu.edu/isbs/vol35/iss1/176
  7. Pangan AM, Leineweber M. Footwear and Elevated Heel Influence on Barbell Back Squat: A Review. J Biomech Eng. 2021 Sep 1;143(9):090801. doi: 10.1115/1.4050820. PMID: 33844006.
  8. Oranchuk, D. J., Storey, A. G., Nelson, A. R., & Cronin, J. B. (2019). Isometric training and long-term adaptations: Effects of muscle length, intensity, and intent: A systematic review. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 29(4), 484–503. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13375