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it is known that the best feet setup for squat is the so called tripod stance, which wants you place your weight in three points of the foot:

  • Base of pinky toe
  • Base of big toe
  • Heel

enter image description here

My question is how much weight should we place on these three points. The same for all of them? Or twice on the heel (as it is only one point behind the midfoot, whilst the other two points are in front of the midfoot)?

Moreover, I've seen many images (like that shown below) telling that the proper feet setup is the tripod stance, but they highlighted the feet external arch as if it also should touch the ground. Is it correct?

enter image description here

Finally, do you have some mind cues (for the way up and down) to help distribute the weight on the three points in a proper way?

10

There are two goals to aim for when distributing your weight:

  • You should be in balance, for obvious reasons; and
  • The combined centre of mass of your body and the bar should only move down and up during the squat, not forwards or backward, as forwards or backwards movement would cause lost efficiency.

Keeping your weight over the centres of your feet achieves both these things. In terms of balance, you are as far as you can be from either tipping forwards (having your centre of mass move forward beyond your toes) or tipping backwards (having it tip beyond your heels). In terms of avoiding forward-backward movement of your centre of mass, the mid-foot is an easy point of reference for where you should feel the pressure in your feet in order to maintain the transverse plane position of your centre of mass.

The tripod idea, in which the weight is distributed between the heel, the medial ball (first metatarsal head) and the lateral ball (fifth metatarsal head) of the foot, is a more recent one. It aims to add the requirement that the weight be distributed evenly from side to side of the foot, reminding the lifter not to push with the inner or outer edges of the foot. Your intuition that this idea should not result in a more forwards centre of gravity is correct. If you want to describe your weight distribution like this, it would be with 25% of your weight on each heel, and 12.5% on each medial ball and each lateral ball.

As for whether the lateral arch of the foot should be bearing weight, that will really depend on the shape of your foot and your shoe insole. I don't think it's something you should try to focus on or control.

Finally, do you have some mind cues (for the way up and down) to help distribute the weight on the three points in a proper way?

For forwards-backwards balance, just focus on keeping the pressure in your feet over the centres of the feet.

For lateral balance, try standing up (without a barbell) and supinating your feet so that the medial arches rise up off the ground and all the weight is on your lateral arches. Then do the opposite, pronating your feet so that your lateral arches rise and all the weight is between your big toes and heels. Now flatten your feet again. Remember the feeling of these three positions, and try to avoid the first two during the lift.

If you find that you have a problem with excessive pronation or supination during a squat, you may need a specific cue to counter that, e.g. "weight on your big toes!" if your problem is excessive supination.

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The answer is simple: the weight is on your heels. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxRji1q5SQM).

If anyone tells you differently, you should ask them how many times they have placed 1st in a deadlift or squat competition. In 2004, I was the strongest competitive weightlifter in the world in my weight class (I was 165lbs. at the time). So I think my credentials are pretty decent, to say the least, and none of this to brag, but rather to save your knees from unreconcilable damage.

The weight should be on your heels from beginning to end. My weightlifting coach would have us wiggle our toes when we were at the lowest position possible, with our legs forming just under a 45-degree angle, to test & make sure our weight was on our heels where it’s supposed to be. Always remember that weightlifting is opposite of pretty much every single sport where the majority of the time you have to be “on your toes”. Weightlifting, especially with heavyweights calls for you to be flat-footed.

Ever watch World's Strongest Men on ESPN? Those guys aren’t wearing Chuck Taylors as a fashion statement. They wear those in order to eliminate any possibility of your foot arching during a lift.

I really wanted to drive the point home, so that way, anyone who reads this will be able to avoid a career-ending injury.

For more information on nutrition and performance, follow me on Quora: https://weightlossspace.quora.com/

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  • 3
    I disagree with your conclusion. The instructor in your linked video is teaching "drive through your heels" as a cue for anyone that comes too far onto their toes during the squat. Although you need to drive through your heels, the weight should be mid-foot. You can watch Chris Duffin talk about the contact points, and stacked ankle concept, in this video. This is a good article as well on why the "drive through your heels" cue is not for everyone.
    – C. Lange
    Aug 16 at 3:48
  • Do you have bio-mechanical reasoning why the weight should be on the heel? Wouldn’t it make you very prone to falling backwards? From personal experience I tend to fall backwards while squatting (especially deep squats) and the only way to avoid that is by leaning slightly forwards.
    – Michael
    Aug 16 at 7:22
  • 1
    The video you link clearly shows how the athlete distributes the weight between the back and front part of hit feet (during the first, proper squat). You can easily wiggle your toes when properly balanced on three points; the front points are on the ball of the feet, not the toes themself...
    – AnoE
    Aug 16 at 8:31
  • It is quite common to over-cue when coaching. Telling a lifter who squats over their toes to squat over midfoot usually won't compensate enough, so you over-cue them to squat over their heels, and they will again undercompensate and squat over midfoot. Aug 16 at 12:29
  • 1
    I agree about the Chucks, that is good advice. Even better IMO is to ditch the shoes all together on those big lifts. Don't even think about wearing running shoes, cross trainers, volleyball shoes... and pretty much anything with the word "Gel" in the name.
    – Z4-tier
    Aug 16 at 13:05

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