Are cardio squats

Is Deadlift Without Shoes More Effective?

By Laura Pomer | September 30, 2020, 12:09 p.m.

When doing deadlifts and some other strength exercises, many athletes prefer to be barefoot. What are the advantages of this - and what do experts say about it? FITBOOK explains.

Squats, deadlifts and the like should be more effective without shoes. Even pumper legend Arnold Schwarzenegger (73) supposedly believed in his active time as a bodybuilder that the best possible stability is achieved through direct contact with the ground barefoot.

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Train barefoot? - That's what the expert says

Artur Kantarev is a research associate at the Institute for Training Science and Sports Informatics at the German Sport University in Cologne. As he explains in an interview with FITBOOK, the topic can be viewed from different perspectives.

"Many use the wrong shoes"

In Kantarev's experience, the same pair of sports shoes is usually used for strength AND cardio training in the weight room. These are mostly those with soft soles and thick padding, and these are actually suitable for endurance exercises. For example, they should be able to protect the foot (e.g. on the treadmill) from damage caused by jerky loads. When it comes to weight training, however, such shoes are absolutely unsuitable.

"With the deadlift and the squat, all of the power is transferred through the feet to the floor," says Kantarev, who also works as a personal trainer in the areas of strength, athletics and mobility, "that's why you want the most stable and direct contact possible you can do this either with shoes with a solid sole - or actually barefoot.

Risks from the wrong footbed

If you wear the wrong shoes (because they have soft soles) during strength training with high loads, you risk unfavorable movements - e.g. B. Inward or outward turns with the foot. These would make the ankle more prone to injury. You can also get into a knock-kneed position, i.e. let the knee collapse inward, and this can be damaged.

Also interesting: Are squats actually harmful to the joints?

When it comes to deadlifting, shoes can do a lot

As has been criticized on various portals, some sports shoes have a raised heel that can force the upper body into an unfavorable position during deadlifts and squats. Here Kantarev admits that the flatest possible stance - when deadlifting! - is actually better. In the case of squats, however, an increase in the back of the foot can even be useful. This would make it easier to take an upright posture with the upper body and even compensate for any mobility problems in the ankle, for example to be able to go deeper into the bend. He recommends special weightlifting shoes with a very firm sole to anyone who wants to use this effect.

Training tip for the feet


The expert gives the green light for barefoot training (- "We are born without shoes, until a few hundred years ago we were only walking barefoot!"). It is not always a good idea to start right away: if you have got used to limiting your feet by wearing shoes, you may already have atrophied important stabilizing muscles. It is therefore important to feel your way slowly and first build up the foot muscles again.

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