One of the benefits of strength training is it enables people to perform better at daily activities (lifting things, playing sports, etc). That benefit is slightly less when one trains in different footwear than they perform their activities in, because the movement skills are different. For example, when you lunge in sneakers, your stabilizer muscles work harder, and your feet don't get as much "feedback" from the ground about your positioning. If you lunge often enough in sneakers, your body eventually "learns" how to do it very smoothly (as good as barefoot). Which is good, if you tend to wear sneakers for daily activities, like i do. But if you always lunge barefoot and then try to do the same movement in sneakers out in the real world, you may not perform it quite as smoothly.. and who knows, you could even get injured?
As an example - suppose a basketball player always practices shooting baskets with a ball that's twice the weight of a real basketball. When it comes time to play a real game, he won't shoot as accurately, because he never practiced throwing a light ball.
Personally i train in low heeled shoes similar to Converse & Keds, since that's what i usually wear when i'm out and about. Plyometrics and speed drills are a lot more comfortable in them vs. barefoot.
Fitness Minutes: (91,157)
6,082 11/15/12 7:36 P
I have arch problems, so I can't go barefoot. So, I guess shoes it is for some of us!
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9 11/15/12 6:00 P
Barefoot is the way to go I think. Just easier unless you are doing any running or exercises that put stress on your feet/ankles/knees.
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79 11/14/12 9:36 P
Thank you so much for the replies! Barefoot it is!
I don't think it makes much difference for upper body work.
But it does make a difference for lower body. For exercises like squats and calf raises, barefoot works your foot and ankle muscles much harder as they work to keep you balanced (especially single leg variants).
I lift weights at home bare foot. It's not normal at home for me to wear shoes when I do that. I have had no problems.
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 11/14/12 6:29 P
In my kettlebell class and Pilates class we were required to go barefoot as this allowed for better stability as some workout shoes with an elevated heel can throw off your balance. As for any other benefits, I am not aware of any besides protection of your feet. Of course in a gym environment there is a health issue involved.
Fitness Minutes: (585)
79 11/14/12 6:09 P
This is one that I've never seen addressed. I've nicked my little brother's unused dumbbells (he doesn't work with the 10 - 15lb. weights) and I've started following some of the SparkPeople home workout videos until I feel comfortable hitting up the gym. I don't, however, know if I should wear my sneakers while I work out or not! Is any there any benefits to being barefoot or vice versa (outside of the obvious protection in case I drop my dumbbells)?
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