Why Squat Barefoot
Most commercial gyms don’t allow it, but squatting barefoot has a host of benefits!
When new members join us they are surprised to be told to remove their shoes. As I look to rebuild my strength and stability in this awesome lift, I thought it time to highlight why lifting barefoot can help you feel more grounded, alleviate back pain, gain better depth and actually get stronger!
Benefits of squatting barefoot
1. Improved Balance
Shoes are designed to give you more support, however the due to the soft fabric and cushion it will dull your awareness. Once barefoot, you can achieve better connection to the floor underneath you, making you feel more balanced as you can better spread your toes and grip the floor. This will also lead to better activation as you will be more aware of your form.
2. Improved Force
Many people think squatting is about pushing through the heels, but a good squat should have you using the big toe, little toe and heel. With standard shoes, the cushioning will absorb a lot of this force and change you centre of gravity.
3. Improved Depth
Shoes are also designed to keep your ankles stable, but this can also encourage a restriction in ankle flexion when you hit the bottom position. Being able to perform a full range squat is critical to ensure you hit posterior muscles (not just quads) or in correcting load up the lower back.
Improved Gains and Strength
The cumulative effect of these benefits will lead ultimately to improved performance and strength gains. If you are not used to squatting without shoes, it can take a little to get used to. By removing the stability and cushioning, you forcing your legs and feet to recruit more muscle fibres and this stress will forcing adaption.
Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.
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