Take off your shoes for better workout results

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 10, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Your feet form the base of support during lifts.
  • Uneven support can make exercise harder.
  • Press feet on ground to create tension on targeted muscles.
  • Adaptation to less padded shoes will come eventually.

The motive of a sweating at a gym can be different for all of us. For some it means shedding belly fat, for some building muscle mass and for some it would mean getting back in shape. During workouts we pay proper attention to almost all of our body parts. But, one body part which skips out attention is our feet.

The creator of Men’s Health StreaFIT, BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., said "When you perform a standing exercise and your feet are your base of support, what they do affects the rest of your lift. If they're not stable, you're going to have a harder time performing the exercise".

Workout With Shoes

Muscle Irradiation: The Effect

When your non-working muscles actually provide support to your working muscles during a lift by holding tension, this effect is known as muscle irradiation, says Gaddour.

To understand it better you can clench your fist very hard. When muscle contraction takes place in your hand, some tension is also felt all the way up to the shoulder. This is exactly what happens with your feet during a lift. When you put your feet to use to create tension with the ground, it will shoot up to the body to assist the targeted muscles.

Creating the Support

If you wish to create tension and a solid base of support, dig your feet into the floor, says Gaddour. You must press tour feet flat on the ground and use your leg muscles to try and twist your feet away from each other just like you are trying to stretch or rip the floor between them.

Workout With Shoes

The Catch

Gaddour says "doing this is easiest and most effective when you have full contact between your feet and the floor. If you're wearing highly cushioned shoes, there's a lot more standing between you and the ground that can sabotage the tension you're trying to create".

However, ditching your shoes always cannot be an option. There are gym policies, germ-ridden floors and the weird looks by your fellow gymmers that can make you uncomfortable with removing shoes. Thus, the best possible option would be wearing a pair of minimalist footwear.

Gaddour suggests that you must look for shoes that have minimal cushioning and arch support in the sole and zero drop, which is the difference between the levels of your heel and toe. If you are used to sitting in a padded shoe, give your feet some time to adapt to less support.

It may take some time for your feet to adapt to the less padded version of your shoes. But, eventually when they would and it will result in a much better workout.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Exercise and Fitness.

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  • Sammy15 Dec 2014

    Certainly, working out without shoes has its own great benefits.

  • Suresh11 Dec 2014

    This piece of information was really insightful.

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