In today’s fitness world, there seems to be an endless array of trendy tools and gadgets promising to enhance your workout experience and results. From vibrating foam rollers to resistance bands with handles, it can be challenging to navigate through the latest trends and determine which tools are truly beneficial.
However, amidst all the noise, there are tried and true fitness tools that have withstood the test of time, proving to be effective in helping individuals achieve their fitness goals. One such tool is the squat wedge.
You might have heard of squat wedges if you’re into fitness or strength training. But if you haven’t, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll be taking a deep dive into everything you need to know about squat wedges and how they can help improve your squat game.
If you’re ready to take your squat PR to the next level, continue reading because this guide is for you!
What is a Squat Wedge?
First things first, let’s define what a squat wedge is…
Simply put, it is a wedge-shaped object that you place under your heels when you’re squatting as it helps to elevate your heels above the ground, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with limited ankle mobility.
Squat wedges are usually made of foam, wood, or plastic, and they can vary in thickness depending on your needs. They can range from a few millimetres to a few inches in height, and the angle of the wedge can also vary, typically ranging from 10 to 30 degrees.
So, how does it work?
Well, when you squat, your feet are typically flat on the ground and your weight is evenly distributed throughout your foot. However, sometimes, it can be difficult to maintain proper form and depth when squatting. This is, in large part, due to a lack of ankle mobility during a lifting session involving a challenging amount of weight.
That’s where the squat wedge comes in!
By elevating your heels, a squat wedge helps shift your weight forward, allowing you to maintain a more upright torso and reach a deeper squat position. This increased range of motion can help you target your quads, glutes, and hamstrings more effectively and also reduce the strain on your knees.
In short, using a squat wedge is an excellent implement for those seeking to enhance their squatting ability in the weight room. Ultimately, it helps you achieve better form, a greater range of motion, and improved activation of your leg muscles during squats. A
The best part?
It’s an affordable, conveniently mobile, and easy-to-use tool that you can immediately incorporate into your workout routine.
The Benefits of Using a Squat Wedge
Now that you know what a squat wedge is and how it functions within any given exercise regimen, it’s now time to dive into the top benefits of considering its implementation.
Using a wedge can provide numerous benefits for your squatting technique and overall lower body strength. Even if you’re not a competitive lifter, for example, a squat wedge can act as a great introductory tool to train your body to practice better form.
Think of it as the lifter’s version of a yoga block!
With that said, here are the top benefits of incorporating a squat wedge into your workout routine, and particularly, your leg routine:
- Improves Ankle Mobility: Limited ankle mobility can be a significant barrier to achieving proper squat form and depth. Using a wedge can help alleviate this issue by elevating your heels, allowing you to maintain a more upright torso and reach a deeper squat position without compromising your form.
- Increases Range of Motion: By elevating your heels with a wedge, you can increase your range of motion during squats. This allows you to engage your leg muscles more effectively and target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes more directly.
- Reduces Knee Strain: When you squat without proper form, you put a lot of strain on your knees, which can result in pain or even injury over time. Using a wedge can help reduce the strain on your knees by allowing you to maintain proper form and keep your weight centered over your feet.
- Targets Specific Muscle Groups: Depending on the thickness of the wedge, you can target specific muscle groups during your squats. For example, a thinner wedge will target your quads more directly, while a thicker wedge will target your hamstrings and glutes.
- Helps Beginners: Squatting can be a challenging exercise, especially for beginners who may struggle to maintain proper form. Using a wedge can provide a stable base and help beginners achieve proper form and depth during their squats.
- Improves Posture: Proper posture is essential for preventing injury and optimizing your workout results. By using a squat wedge, you can improve your posture by maintaining an upright torso during your squats.
- Provides Versatility: Squat wedges can be used in a variety of exercises, not just squats. For example, you can use them for lunges, calf raises, or even stretching exercises.
Overall, incorporating a squat wedge into your workout routine can provide numerous benefits, including improved ankle mobility, increased range of motion, reduced knee strain, targeted muscle groups, and improved posture.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, a wedge can help you take your squats to the next level and enhance your lower body strength. By focusing on the improvement of your squat, and thus, your lower body strength, you can ultimately improve your overall athletic performance and strength across disciplines.
What more could you ask for in a fitness tool?!
Top Exercises that Require a Squat Wedge
While the squat wedge is primarily known for its use in squats, it can be a versatile tool for a variety of lower-body exercises.
With that said, here are some of the top exercises to incorporate when using a wedge, starting with, of course, the squat itself. Whether it’s a barbell squat, dumbbell squat, or air squat, the squat wedge is designed specifically for this movement pattern…
- Squats: Starting with the most obvious exercise, the squat wedge can help improve your squatting form and technique by elevating your heels. This, in turn, can help improve ankle mobility and reduce the strain on your knees. To use a wedge for squats, simply place it under your heels before beginning your squatting motion.
- Lunges: Similar to squats, lunges can also benefit from the use of a squat wedge. By elevating your heels, you can target your quads and glutes more effectively, leading to a deeper stretch in your hip flexors. To use the squat wedge for lunges, place it under your front foot before beginning your lunge.
- Calf raises: The elevated platform of the squat wedge can be particularly useful for targeting your calves. To do a calf raise with a squat wedge, place the ball of your foot on the elevated platform and raise your heel as high as you can, then slowly lower it back down.
- Bulgarian split squats: Bulgarian split squats are a challenging exercise that can help strengthen your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. By using a squat wedge, you can increase the range of motion and deepen the stretch in your hip flexors. To use the squat wedge for Bulgarian split squats, place the top of your back foot on the elevated platform while lunging forward with your front foot.
- Deadlifts: While the squat wedge may not be the first tool that comes to mind when doing deadlifts, it can be a useful addition to your routine. By placing the wedge under your toes, you can increase the range of motion in your ankles and achieve a deeper stretch in your hamstrings. To use the squat wedge for deadlifts, stand on the wedge with your toes while performing the deadlift motion.
Incorporating the squat wedge into your lower body workout routine can take your exercises to the next level.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, these exercises can help improve your form and technique, while also targeting specific muscle groups more effectively. So give them a try and see the difference the squat wedge can make in your workouts.
A Final Word
The squat wedge is a simple yet effective tool that can make a significant impact on your lower body workout routine. By improving ankle mobility, reducing the strain on your knees, and targeting specific muscle groups more effectively, the squat wedge can help you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently.
While the squat wedge may not be the trendiest fitness tool on the market, it has withstood the test of time and remains a staple in many athletes’ and fitness enthusiasts’ workout routines. From squats and lunges to calf raises and Bulgarian split squats, the squat wedge can be used in a variety of lower-body exercises to enhance your form and technique.
If you haven’t incorporated the squat wedge into your routine yet, now is the time to do so. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, the squat wedge can help you take your workouts to the next level and achieve your fitness goals more efficiently.
So, what are you waiting for?! Give it a try and see for yourself the difference it can make in your lower body workouts and beyond.