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Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip - 03/08/2005


I have just added barbell-squats to my program and am having a problem getting low enough to really get the most out of them. So a gym friend put down a 10lb plate on the floor to elevate my heels to help me get low enough. Was this a good idea and does it work? (Anthony, Levittown)

Yes, it is a good idea because it has brought your awareness into your workout. Now you have discovered that there might be a tightness in your hips and some range of motion problems at the knee and ankle joints. By placing a wedge or plate under your heels, you are probably aiding a tight soleus muscle. This gym tip helps you realize where your problem is located, but is by no means the solution to fix it!

You now need to pay attention to stretching and getting more range of motion out of this muscle. Seated calf raises are a good idea. Strengthening and stretching the ankle and foot connection would then make it possible for you to get that full-squat without using a plate.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on