Unlocking Strength and Stability: The Benefits of Lifting Barefoot

Lifting Barefoot

Introduction:

Are you considering ditching your shoes for your next lifting session? Lifting barefoot has gained popularity among fitness enthusiasts for its potential benefits in improving strength, stability, and mobility. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why you should consider lifting barefoot and explore the advantages it offers for various lifts. Whether you’re deadlifting, squatting, or performing other compound exercises, going barefoot could be the key to unlocking your full potential in the gym.

Benefits of Barefoot:

Lifting barefoot may seem unconventional, but it has been embraced by many lifters for its ability to enhance proprioception, strengthen foot muscles, and improve lifting mechanics. Let’s explore some ways you can incorporate barefoot lifting and why it’s worth considering ditching the shoes for your next workout.

1. Deadlifts with Minimal Shoes or Barefoot:

Deadlifting with minimal shoes or barefoot allows for better proprioception and connectivity with the ground. The absence of cushioning from shoes provides a more stable base and allows lifters to engage their feet and lower body muscles more effectively. Additionally, lifting without shoes can help improve lifting mechanics and reduce the risk of imbalance or injury.

2. Squatting Barefoot for Increased Foot Strength and Mobility:

Squatting barefoot can help enhance foot strength and mobility by allowing the feet to move naturally and engage the muscles more fully. The increased sensory feedback from the ground promotes better balance and stability, while the absence of shoes enables greater freedom of movement in the ankles and toes. Over time, squatting barefoot can lead to improved squat mechanics, increased depth, and enhanced overall lower body strength.

3. Improved Foot Strength and Performance:

Constant shoe wearing can inhibit the muscles and nerve endings in the feet, leading to decreased foot strength and proprioception. By getting out of your shoes and lifting barefoot, you can activate these neglected muscles, improve sensory input from the feet, and enhance overall foot function. Strengthening the muscles of the feet can have a ripple effect on the entire kinetic chain, leading to improved performance in various lifts and reduced risk of injury.

Is It Essential?:

Unlocking Strength and Stability: The Benefits of Lifting Barefoot

You might be wondering whether lifting barefoot is essential for improving strength and performance. While it’s not necessary for everyone, Continuous Motion Physical Therapy recognizes the potential benefits of lifting barefoot for certain individuals. While we specialize in physical therapy, we recommend considering the advantages of lifting barefoot for enhancing foot strength, proprioception, and lifting mechanics. However, if you have specific concerns or underlying foot issues, consulting a qualified healthcare professional or physical therapist is advisable.

Early Intervention:

Incorporating barefoot lifting into your training routine early on can help prevent imbalances, improve lifting mechanics, and enhance overall foot function. By gradually transitioning to lifting barefoot and paying attention to your form and comfort, you can reap the benefits of improved foot strength and performance over time.By embracing barefoot lifting and focusing on proper form and technique, you can unlock greater strength, stability, and mobility in your lifts, leading to improved overall athletic performance.

Barefoot for Reducing Pain:

Lifting barefoot can also help alleviate foot and lower body pain associated with wearing restrictive shoes or poor lifting mechanics. By allowing the feet to move naturally and engaging the muscles more effectively, barefoot lifting promotes better alignment and reduces the risk of overuse injuries. Additionally, strengthening the muscles of the feet can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with common foot issues such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis.

Preventing Future Episodes:

Prevention is key to maintaining long-term foot health and performance. By incorporating barefoot lifting into your training routine and focusing on strengthening the muscles of the feet and lower body, you can prevent future episodes of pain, injury, and dysfunction. Investing in proper footwear and gradually transitioning to barefoot lifting can help ensure a smooth transition and promote optimal foot function for years to come.

Conclusion and Call-To-Action:

In conclusion, lifting barefoot offers a multitude of benefits for improving foot strength, stability, and lifting performance. Whether you’re deadlifting, squatting, or performing other compound exercises, going barefoot can enhance proprioception, strengthen foot muscles, and improve lifting mechanics. If you’re ready to take your training to the next level and unlock your full potential in the gym, consider incorporating barefoot lifting into your workout routine today.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How does lifting barefoot improve proprioception and connectivity with the ground during deadlifts?

   – Lifting barefoot enhances proprioception and connectivity with the ground during deadlifts by eliminating the barrier of cushioned shoes, allowing for better sensory feedback and awareness of foot placement. This increased proprioceptive input enables lifters to maintain better balance and stability, improving overall lifting mechanics and reducing the risk of injury.

2. What are the benefits of squatting barefoot for foot strength and mobility?

   – Squatting barefoot promotes foot strength and mobility by allowing the feet to move naturally and engage the muscles more fully. The absence of shoes encourages greater toe splay and activation of the intrinsic foot muscles, leading to improved arch support and overall foot stability. Additionally, squatting barefoot can enhance ankle mobility and dorsiflexion, enabling deeper squat positions and more effective engagement of the lower body muscles.

3. How does lifting barefoot help improve overall foot strength and performance?

   – Lifting barefoot activates the muscles and nerve endings in the feet that are often inhibited by constant shoe wearing, leading to improved foot strength and performance. By engaging these neglected muscles, lifters can enhance their ability to stabilize and generate force from the ground up, resulting in more efficient movement patterns and increased lifting capacity. Over time, barefoot lifting can contribute to better foot mechanics, reduced risk of injury, and enhanced overall athletic performance.

4. Is lifting barefoot necessary for everyone, or are there certain individuals who may benefit more from it?

   – While lifting barefoot is not necessary for everyone, certain individuals may benefit more from it, particularly those looking to improve foot strength, proprioception, and lifting mechanics. People with foot issues such as flat feet, weak arches, or balance issues may find barefoot lifting particularly beneficial for addressing these issues and improving overall foot function. Additionally, individuals who participate in activities that require precise foot placement and stability, such as weightlifting or powerlifting, may find that lifting barefoot enhances their performance and reduces the risk of injury.

5. How can I gradually transition to lifting barefoot if I’m used to wearing shoes?

   – If you’re accustomed to wearing shoes while lifting, transitioning to lifting barefoot should be done gradually to allow your feet to adapt to the new stimulus. Start by incorporating short periods of barefoot lifting into your workouts, focusing on exercises that allow for controlled movement and proper form. Pay attention to how your feet and lower body respond to the change in footwear, and gradually increase the duration and intensity of barefoot lifting as your feet become accustomed to the new environment. Additionally, consider performing foot strengthening exercises and mobility drills to support the transition and enhance overall foot function.

A man in a suit and tie smiling.
Author

Dr. Cameron Moore

PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, CSCS, Dip. Osteopractic

Helping active people STAY active

Want To Get Relief Faster?

Choose which option works best for you

Monday-Friday 8am-6pm by Appointment

The front of a building with a sign that says continual sports.
Scroll to Top

Dr. Peyton Oules, PT, DPT Cert. DN

A professional portrait of a smiling woman with medium-length brown hair, wearing a black zip-up jacket with a "continuous motion physical therapy" logo, in a gym setting.

Dr. Peyton Oules, physical therapist, is a Brewster, Washington native who grew up as a small-town athlete. During her high school sports career, she suffered from two ACL injuries which led her to pursue a career in physical therapy. 

She began her studies by earning her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Pre-PT at Eastern Washington University.  During her undergraduate studies, she spent much of her time playing volleyball and coaching at the high school level.  Dr. Oules continued her education to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University in Goodyear, Arizona.While in school, Dr. Oules became Certified in both Dry Needling and Myofascial Cupping.

Part of her clinical training included international travel to Sydney, Australia where she expanded her orthopedic skill set and had the opportunity to provide treatment for the athletes from the 2023 World Underwater Hockey Championships.

During her doctorate level studies, Dr. Oules learned the importance in making movement a lifestyle. She has a passion for sharing this knowledge with the community and getting her clients back to the activities they love.

Outside of the clinic Dr. Oules enjoys CrossFit®, hiking, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her dog, Rue. Some of her favorite adventures to date include hiking parts of the Grand Canyon and running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Sydney 10k!

Dr. Peyton Oules’ Credentials:
•           Physical Therapist (PT)
•           Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
•           Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)

Dr. Khristian McGinley, PT, DPT Cert. DN

therapy in pregnancy

Dr. Khristian McGinley, physical therapist, grew up here in Phoenix, as a competitive softball player with a longtime passion for health and wellness. After sustaining an elbow injury in high school and attending PT herself, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career helping people recover from injuries and getting back to doing what they love. She eventually received her B.S in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in 2013, then earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University in 2017.

Dr. McGinley began her career with a passion in pediatrics and orthopedics, undergoing coursework to treat diagnoses such as torticollis, developmental delay, and toe walking. She also became certified in Dry Needling in 2017, and since then has been additionally trained in Dry Needling for Pelvic Rehabilitation. After the challenging birth of her first child, she developed a passion for treating the pregnant and postpartum population. She became specialty training in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation in 2021 and since then has focused her practice on helping moms achieve pain free pregnancy, peaceful childbirth, and complete postpartum recovery. She specializes in diagnoses such as urinary incontinence, diastases recti, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. McGinley enjoys hiking, running, camping, weight lifting, and playing slow pitch softball. She loves spending as much time as she can outside with her husband and two children.

Dr. Khristian McGinley’s Credentials:

  • ​Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)
  • Specialty-trained in Pelvic Floor Therapy

Dr. Meredith Wall, PT, DPT FAFS, Cert. DN

A man and woman looking at an ipad in a gym.

Dr. Meredith Wall, physical therapist, grew up as a competitive athlete in basketball, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball. After sustaining an ankle injury and going to rehab as a young athlete, she instantly fell in love with learning about sports injuries and rehabilitation. This led her to major in Exercises Science at Grand Valley State University. After she graduated in 2010, she immediately pursued physical therapy to ultimately achieve her lifelong goals of becoming a physical therapist. She earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Grand Valley State University in 2013, graduating as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society recognizing individuals with outstanding GPA in a college graduate program.

Dr. Wall continued her educational pathway through the Gray Institute receiving a fellowship in Applied Functional Science (FAFS). A FAFS is only obtained by a select number of practitioners, who deliver optimal care through the diagnosis and treatment of functional human movement. She also became Certified in Dry Needling (Cert. DN) in 2017, is trained in the McKenzie Method to treat spinal pain, and most recently has become specialized in Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation. This specialty area allows her to treat women across the lifespan dealing with incontinence, diastasis recti, pelvic pain, and pain during or after pregnancy.

Dr. Wall’s special interests include diagnosing and treating active patients across the lifespan to help them return to optimal function. In her spare time, she enjoys Crossfit®, running, coaching youth sports, and traveling with her husband and three sons.

Dr. Meredith Wall’s Credentials:

  • ​Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Fellow of Applied Functional Science (FAFS)
  • Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)
  • Specialty-trained in Pelvic Floor Therapy

Dr. Cameron Moore, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, CSCS, Dip. Osteopractic

skilled thrapist

Dr. Cameron Moore, physical therapist and co-owner, has always been very active with sports and activities starting with competitive motocross racing up to a semi-professional level and being a scholarship athlete in track and field competing at the division 1 level in college at Eastern Washington University in the triple jump. Cameron became interested in the profession of physical therapy after having knee surgery in high school and seeing the inter-workings of the profession. He pursued his bachelors degree in Exercise Science before moving to Phoenix to earn his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from Franklin Pierce University.

He then began specialization courses for spinal manipulation (Spinal Manipulation Institute) and dry needling (Dry Needling Institute). This lead Cameron in to becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapist (FAAOMPT) through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT) and earned a Diploma of Osteopractic®, a distinction and training that only a small percentage of physical therapist have completed.

Dr. Moore continues to be very involved with motocross riding, Crossfit®, Olympic weight lifting, running and an overall active lifestyle with his Wife (Michelle) and their Vizsla (Parker).

Dr. Cameron Moore’s Credentials

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Certified in Dry Needling (Cert DN)
  • Certified in Spinal Manipulation (Cert SMT)
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Diploma in Osteopractic® (Dip Osteopractic)
  • Fellow Of The American Academy Of Manual Physical Therapist (FAAOMPT)
  • American Academy of Manipulative Therapy Fellow (AAMT)
  • Crossfit® Level 1 Certified (CF-L1)
  • Crossfit® Mobility Certified
  • USA Track and Field Level 1 Coach

Dr. Michelle Moore, PT, DPT FAAOMPT, Dip. Osteopractic

weightlifting in physical therapy

Dr. Michelle Moore, physical therapist and co-owner, grew up as a competitive gymnast and developed a passion for healthy living from a young age. Her collegiate studies in Health Education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and athletic background influenced her to combine her passions and pursue a career in physical therapy. She earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Franklin Pierce University in 2013.

Dr. Moore continued her educational pathway through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy where she earned her Diploma Osteopractic® (Dip. Osteopractic) and became Certified in Dry Needling (Cert. DN), and Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT). From 2016-2017 Dr. Moore completed the rigorous coursework to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FAAOMPT), a distinction held by only a fraction of the profession.

Dr. Moore’s special interests include treating active individuals and returning them to the activities that they love. In her spare time she enjoys Crossfit®, Olympic Weightlifting, mountain biking, hiking, and traveling with her husband, Cameron, and dog, Parker.

Dr. Michelle Moore’s Credentials:

  • ​Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Fellow of American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT)
  • Diploma in Osteopractic® (Dip. Osteopractic)
  • Certified Dry Needling (Cert. DN)
  • Certified Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT)
  • Crossfit® Mobility Certified