Squatting is an art, so many muscles working in a carefully orchestrated manner in order to deliver consistent tension and power up and down the movement, such a beautiful thing. Those of us who work hard to become strong in this movement pattern, because thats exactly what every session is, a series of movement patterns, cherish every pound we slap on the bar week in and week out. Whether we bodybuild or powerlift, we cherish the gains over time. Then, something interesting happens. We plateau. We can’t seem to get more weight on the bar no matter what we do.
For me personally, when I leveled out at 225×3, and no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to get more weight on the bar, I’ve eaten more, I’ve stretched more, took deload weeks(which made it worse believe it or not) slept more, used a different squat rack, etc, etc, etc; in came Oly shoes! I’ve purchased a pair of Nikes and this was going to take my squat game to a whole other level! I will be squatting three plates on each side in no time! WRONG!
In fact, at the time i acquired them, I’ve gotten weaker. I actually had to take weight off the bar. After a few sessions wearing my new oly shoes, the DOMS in my quads were crazy! And THAT’S when i figured it out. I am a posterior chain dominant type of dude. Deadlifts, backsquats, rowing, anything that has to do with pulling and pushing with glutes and hammies i’ll quickly succeed.
I plateaued initially because of the simple fact that my hamstrings and glutes took me as far as i could go with my backsquat progression without full activation of my quads, because….yeah, believe it or not backsquats works your quads too! oh em gee! When back squatting, exploding out of the hole was never a problem for me, it was that top portion of the squat, locking out at the top of portion of the movement that required hip thrust AND quad push that i was lacking in.
The oly shoes fixed that. How? How could it have fixed that when it in fact made me weaker? Simple, the 0.75″ raise in the heel took emphasis off the glutes and hammies a bit, because there is less distance for the bar to travel and therefore less work my glutes and hams have to do through the bottom portion of the movement, and transfer some or more of the load to the quads at the top portion of the movement. In essence, creating a different, more efficient firing pattern which involves all muscles in the legs and not just primarily glutes and hammies. I know this because before the shoes my glutes and hammies were developing fast than my quads. Now that i have the shoes, and controlling for everything else in my sessions, my quads have grown considerably.
This is all according to my genetics and the structures of my limbs. Not sure if any other people went through this same issue or….thing….or whatever you want to call it. But this is the beauty of beating on any craft day in and day out. You learn problem solving skills that allow you to operate objectively throughout mastery of craft.