Sometimes the best shoe for the job isn’t a shoe at all — it’s your bare feet. Sure, you’ll need a good shoe to go running in or Jordan’s to hit the hoops, but if you’re tuned into BodyRockPlus, this could be your chance to hang up your sneakers.
Perhaps the better question is why should you workout barefoot?
Barefeet Equals Greater Gains
The equation is simple: barefoot workouts = greater gains.
Proprioception (Spatial Awareness)
Say that ten times fast. Think of proprioception as spatial awareness. An example of this in action is dribbling a basketball down the court, around obstacles without looking at the ball. It takes practice, balance, and awareness of your body as it’s in motion to accomplish this. Proprioception is sometimes referred to as your “sixth sense,” as it relies on the information gathered from nerve endings that cover your hands and feet. The more you wear shoes, the duller your sense of proprioception. Which is a shame because the information your soles gather is transmitted even faster to your brain when barefoot — things like, you’re favoring a knee or walking across the grass.
Increases Your Force
One of the things likely holding you back from barefoot workouts is weightlifting. The possibility of dropping a weight on yourself is a risk, sure, but what if we told you that going barefoot creates a solid platform (more so than shoes) so that you can lift better? Think about it, to generate enough force to lift while in shoes requires you to balance on cushy soles (designed to absorb force)...kind of nonsensical. That’s like finding balance on your memory foam pillow. It takes more exertion to drive up flat-footed, meaning greater total-body benefit. So, if you want bigger gains, start with a solid foundation first.
Note: This excludes extreme weightlifting, be smart, and always wear the proper gear.
Strengthens Muscle, Improves Flexibility & Balance
In keeping with building a solid foundation, one area of the body we almost always neglect is the small muscles in our lower legs and feet; whip them into shape and you’ll help prevent ankle injuries. This will also improve your balance, better your range of motion, and strengthen your overall gait.
We know, how can going barefoot prevent injury? Not only does it strengthen your balance while giving you a stable foundation, it also allows you to feel any weaknesses in your body as you workout. You’re more likely to pinpoint tenderness in your left ankle while barefoot then you are while wearing cushy shoes. This allows you to adjust your workout to compensate thus, preventing injury.
Are Barefoot Workouts Safe?
Yes, but use your discretion.
If you’re planning on lifting extremely heavy weights, barefoot is not the right choice for you. But if you’re attending a BodyRockPlus at-home workout with Sean or Bethercize then why not?
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If you’re clumsy or suffer from a previous foot injury, this could also tread on your desire to hang up your sneakers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t, it just means you have to go about it the right way.
In fact, if you’re intrigued by the wonders of exercising barefoot, you should also follow this advice: baby steps. Start by going barefoot for five minutes/per workout for a few sessions then gradually work your way up to entirely shoeless. This way you’re decreasing the chance of injury while giving the nerve endings in your feet a chance to develop.