Go Barefoot At The Gym To Get More Out Of These Exercises

Go Barefoot At The Gym To Get More Out Of These Exercises

Running isn’t the only exercise you can do barefoot. Try these other exercises sans shoes for better balance and stronger feet.

Photo by Pink Sherbet

Going without shoes lets you work the muscles of your feet and potentially take advantage of more natural movement patterns, although runners have been warned to tread carefully to avoid injury from doing too much barefoot work all at once. With gym exercises, starting out small is probably a good idea too.

We also don’t want you running afoul of gym rules, so either do these at home or make sure your gym is OK with bared feet. Men’s Health suggests doing these moves without shoes:

  • Pushups, to give you an extra stretch in your toes and the soles of your feet. (If you love that stretch, also try the toes pose in yoga.)
  • Deadlifts, to bring you a little bit closer to the ground. If you do lots of deadlifts, you might already own low-soled shoes, but if not, kicking off your sneakers is an easy way to achieve the same thing.
  • Lunges, so you can stabilise yourself with your foot muscles rather than relying on the shape of your shoe.

Read more at Men’s Health on the benefits of going barefoot for these and other exercises.

4 Exercises You Should Always Do Barefoot [Men’s Health]

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  • i know people hate them, but
    for those who dont want to barefoot it.

    ive got two pairs and i will testify to the strengthening of my feet, ankles, shins, calves and probably knees. and my balance is a lot better too. to be honest the only ‘working out’ i did in them was walking around in the shops.

    when i started i could only wear them for about 20 minutes straight before i would have to take them off, but now, i can wear them all day without the pain.

    • You mean the company who was sued for making misleading, baseless claims about the health benefits of your stupid shoes?


      But things got worse from there. A few months later, in December 2013, a larger study of 99 recreational joggers preparing for a 10k found running in the Vibram FiveFinger shoe increased the likelihood of experiencing an injury, specifically increasing pain at the shin and calf when compared to a neutral shoe like the Nike Pegasus 28 or the partially minimalist Nike Free 3.0 V2.

  • Avid powerlifter here…. Best thing I found is a cheap pair of socks. Makes your shoes last much longer :-p.
    And before people say ahh but you can hurt your feet training like that, dropping a dumbbell on your foot, shoes or no shoes can easily break something.

  • Ugh, no thanks, I’m not a fan of people getting their stinky feet out while they exercise. Plus I haven’t been to a gym yet where the staff are any good at vacuuming. Something like Vibram’s if you want that barefoot feel, or otherwise there are a lot of segmented trainers on the market like the Nike Free that are great for things like pushups/lunges/squats/etc.

    The problem is most people buy trainers by putting them on, maybe walking a few steps, then deciding “this is comfortable”. Instead, try exercising in your shoes. How do they feel for squats? Lunges? Pushups? Burpees? etc. Taking a few steps in a store to see how comfortable shoes are is only worthwhile if you’re buying them to walk in.

  • Don’t do squats barefoot. Achilles injuries are common with big weight and bare feet.

    • I have been squating bare foot for years now. Haven’t had any problems. In fact squating in runners or cushioned shoes is really bad for you because of the cushion these types of shoes provide. Chucks are a really good alternative if you want to squat (or deadlift) in shoes.

  • Not to mention that many gyms won’t allow you to go bare-foot for safety reasons.

  • Yes, and please tell us what are those “safety” issues? Please note that dropping a weight on your foot in shoes or no shoes can easily result in as much damage either way.

    • Why so argumentative? Cynic’s right. A lot of gyms would consider going barefoot during a workout as a health and safety issue. Just because someone makes a statement about what the regulations are doesn’t mean they necessarily agree with the premise upon which they are based.

    • You know small cuts and abrasions that can lead to infections just the common sense stuff really.

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