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Home Training Living in Fitness Working Out Barefoot- Benefits and Drawbacks

Working Out Barefoot- Benefits and Drawbacks

Working Out Barefoot- Benefits and Drawbacks


One of the frequently asked questions about working out and lifting is whether you should do this barefoot or if shoes should be worn during these activities. There are different opinions and all of the experts are not on the same page. This method does offer some advantages in most cases but it may also pose special risks as well. You will need to compare and evaluate both methods, and then you can determine whether you want to try working out barefoot or not. 

A large number of bodybuilders and physical fitness professionals advocate going barefoot for most of the lifting exercises and routines that you probably use. These individuals point out the benefits that you can get from not wearing shoes. Others believe that foot protection is paramount, especially when lifting large amounts of weight. You will need to make up your own mind, and the right method should only be chosen after you have examined all of the facts and available information.




What Do Experts Say About This Method?

Working out barefoot and performing squats without any shoes or socks has a large following. Advocates point out that your feet can gain greater stability while performing the routines, and this can help increase the ability of these tissues to push up and maintain a better stance. Shoes may actually hamper your ability to workout in the most effective way according to many who follow the barefoot workout philosophy.

There are also experts who do not recommend working out with bare feet, and they offer numerous reasons why this is a bad idea. Fungal infections from using this method in commercial gyms and crowded areas are a concern, and others point out that you could step on a sharp object which could cause you to lose balance. There are some who also voice concern about foot injuries if you drop the bar or lose your grip on a plate while making changes. 



Should You Squat and Lift Barefoot?

While there are differing opinions on working out barefoot and barefoot squatting the biggest concern that you may have is whether this method is right for you. Many bodybuilders and serious lifters prefer to perform naturally. Some claim that they get better positioning and stability, others believe that this method actually increases the muscle groups targeted and can improve the strength and muscle gains experienced.

Arnold Schwarzenegger can be seen working out barefoot in many iconic photos from the past, and he is a strong supporter of not using shoes or other footwear during routines and training sessions. Many top professionals in this field today also follow this train of thought. There are both benefits and drawbacks when it comes to working out in your bare feet. Look at all of the pros and cons and then decide whether this is the best possible choice for you and your workout goals. 




What Benefits Will You Get From Working Out Barefoot?

There are many positive benefits that can be had by working out in your bare feet. Some of the most popular benefits for weight lifting include:

  • Muscles and muscle groups that are not used while wearing shoes will become engaged when the routine is performed without these accessories.

  • Your entire foot is more active and fully engaged in the training. There are no restraints or limitations on your foot movement or placement, and this allows all of the tissues in the foot to work harder.

  • Your bare foot will sense and feel the underlying surface much more effectively. Wearing shoes actually causes your foot to feel unstable and this will inhibit muscle growth. Your body will automatically allow less force to be exerted due to this, and your training results will be less effective.

  • Bare feet allow you to push back against the ground and can make your session much more effective. Greater force and resistance means more muscle growth and bigger mass. 

  • There are no soft materials between your feet and the ground. Many shoes will squish down while you are lifting and this can throw the entire effect off balance. You can push against the hard ground instead of sinking into material, so that you get maximum impact and the best possible muscle retention and growth. 

  • Better flexibility is achieved because there is no footwear to limit the ways that your feet and toes can move.

  • Better balance, posture, and form is maintained because your feet are in a natural position, and you can achieve greater stability during the workout session. 





What are the Drawbacks of Barefoot Workouts?

With all of the benefits that can be found by working out barefoot this may seem like a simple decision. This method also carries some drawbacks and risks as well though, and you should understand these before you decide that this is the best method in your situation. The possible drawbacks include:

  • If you are not wearing protective footwear then there is a risk that you could step on a sharp object and lose your balance. This may not seem like a big deal but if you are trying to squat with 300 pounds or you are engaged in a 400 lb. Lift then this could cause serious injury. Always check the area thoroughly to ensure that there are no sharp objects or safety risks.

  • A big concern when working out barefoot and squatting without footwear is the risk of injury in other ways. If you lose your grip and drop a 50lb plate on your exposed foot you could end up with a mangled extremity and an injury is almost guaranteed. One the other hand even the toughest shoe would probably offer little protection in this scenario. 

  • One frequently discussed consideration when squatting barefoot or working out without shoes is the risk of fungal infections. A gym is an ideal location for athletes foot and other fungal infections, and these can spread when they come into contact with bare feet. This risk can be managed by working out at home or in another private location, because there are few other individuals using the same areas so the risk of contracting a fungal infection is minimized. 



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