Most people go to the gym in a pair of trainers, keep those trainers on during their respective workout and then leave in the same pair on trainers. Despite this obvious and common theme there always seems to be at least one exception to the rule within each and every gym up and down the country. Are these individuals slightly mad or are they onto something the rest of us appear to be missing?
Taking off your trainers to perform certain exercises might not seem like the done thing in gyms but are there any obvious benefits to kicking off your footwear and opting to go barefoot? This article considers the benefits of barefoot training.
For obvious reasons, the removal of trainers for upper body exercises such as chest press will have absolutely no affect on your ability to shift more resistance or achieve further repetitions; however it may bring about significant enhancements to your squatting and dead-lifting ability.
Lower body exercises such as squats and dead-lifts require you to push through your heels of your feet as part of the upward phase of the movement. Before considering this in terms of the exercise itself, firstly remind yourself of Newton’s scientific law regarding motion. It states ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. In simplistic terms and drawing comparisons from the squats and dead-lifts technique, how hard you push against the ground will determine how much resistance you can shift during the upward phase of movement.
With all this in mind, how much force can you generate through driving against the ground when you’re wearing the latest pair of air filled, cushioned trainers? If anything, these sporting soles will absorb any force, which they are designed to do, resulting in lesser force for your respective upward drive.
Force generation is not the only factor that your footwear will potentially impact upon. Again, considering the techniques involved in lower limb exercises such as squatting and dead-lifting, you require functional ankle mobility in order to achieve a full range of motion within these respective exercises. Trainers can actually limit this range of movement, dependant on their type, and may restrict you in obtaining an optimal position from which to power your upward phase of movement from.
Why not try this for yourself at home. Compare your squatting technique both with and without footwear and see whether you notice any significant differences in the depth of your squat. If you’re anything like us at FitnessBeans HQ you’ll be surprised by results.
Barefoot training has the ability to improve force generation and enhance mobility levels during key lower limb exercises such as squatting and dead-lifting but are you convinced? As with everything, different strategies will suit different individuals and what works for one individual might not work for another. In the end, it’s about what feels right for you and creating an environment that will allow you to train at your optimal. With all this in mind, it might just be worth considering and experimenting before you go out and purchase those state of the art trainers!
Why not tell us your thoughts and preferences in the comments section below.