Why Do We Exercise Barefoot?

If you were to ask someone if they would ever train barefoot, they would likely look at you as if you were half mad. The only time people deem barefoot training appropriate is when at the beach or performing yoga. Other than that, it seems like some sort of archaic training method, and although true, not all new things are necessarily better. Join us as we delve into the benefits of barefoot training and how exercising in shoes is not as efficient as you may believe.

Drawbacks of Training in Shoes

Training barefoot was once the ideal way of maximizing results. The trend shifted when shoe companies began switching their focus from constructing minimalist-style footwear to shoes intended to provide ultimate cushioning and comfort. Although the footwear assisted in making activities such as running and traditional gym training more comfortable, it presented more drawbacks than many noticed. Training in shoes:

  • Limits your ability to strengthen leg and foot muscles.
  • Is counterproductive for those who wish to improve stability and balance.
  • Contributes to foot and ankle dysfunction.
  • Inhibits hip and lower torso mechanics.

The disadvantage of training in shoes is much more than having weak ankles or instability. Foot and ankle stability is integral to perform many exercises and can be the reason behind your inability to do them correctly or without discomfort. By strengthening your body from the ground up, you build a foundation that is conducive to efficient training.

Barefoot Training Explained

After adequate preparation, working out barefoot can increase overall strength, promote proper firing patterns and foot mechanics. Many people fail to realize that roughly 20% of the muscles in the body are in their feet and ankles. This is so as they are meant to absorb an excessively high amount of force.

By training barefoot, we allow those muscles to strengthen and improve our ability to perform many compound exercises like:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Jump squats
  • Box jumps
  • Step-ups

You’ll quickly realize after regularly training barefoot that your ability to perform many movements with shoes has improved. The reason being is that your tendons, ligaments, joints, and surrounding tissues are no longer responsible for absorbing massive amounts of force. Your body now trusts your feet and ankles more, allowing you to maximize output for all physical activities.

We understand that the fear of injury looms large in the minds of many barefoot training newcomers, which is why we design our fitness studios with your safety in mind. Our mats, walls, and plyo boxes are all made from soft materials to allow you to regain foot and ankle strength in the safest environment possible. Interested in being a part of an EPIC workout? Contact us to discover how you can get your first class free!