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Working Out Barefeet

May 30, 2022 by

I was 15 when I entered the gym for the first time. It has been 9 years since.

The past 6 years out 9 I have been working out BARE FEET.

My entire time at CrossFit, i have been training bare feet. The only time I wear shoes is either during Rope Climbs or Runs. Otherwise be it any sort of exercises in the WoD, it is "no shoes gang" all the way. It took my mom the longest time ever to stop nagging me about it and accept the fact that I won't be lifting in shoes anytime soon.

Front Squats, Cleans, Snatches, Box Jump Overs and even DOUBLE UNDERS. My coaches at the current box still freak when I do Double Unders.

So, there is no particular reason or motivation behind this. Why did I start working out bare feet?
I liked it. It made me feel better. I felt lighter for some reason. That's about it. I do not have a great, big, deep explanation behind it. Whatever I currently know or feel with regards to working out bare feet is all retrospective.

Have I every hurt myself working out without shoes on? No.
Am I scared that I will drop the bar, dumbbell or kettlebell on my foot? No.
Does it hurt when the skipping rope hits my toes or feet? Not anymore. LOL!
Did it hurt when I was learning to skip? Yes. A lot.
Did I stop? Hell Nah!

What started out as a preference is now "the way". Wearing shoes while working out. Especially with squats of any kind just feels super super weird. Also, I cannot string together 5 Double Unders with shoes on. Whereas I have done 130 Double Unders bare feet.

What i have learnt from working out bare feet is -

1. You cannot escape ankle mobility issues. It will make its presence felt and you have to work on it. There is no way you can negotiate your way around it.

2. I can actually use my toes. They actually work and help you with regards to your training. Be it while pulling during a heavy Deadlift or while pushing during a heavy Back Squat. They do work.

3. If your footwork during any of the olympic lifts is off. You will feel it. Your feet will make you aware of even the slightest of the slight errors with you footwork. It has got to be "bang on right" for it to feel good.

4. Just general awareness and care. If i am not using a crash I will not just throw the bar down and walk while it bounces. Rather I will make sure that the weight is at a dead stop and only then move away. This is not something that I built consciously or was like - Oh stop it fully and then move, you might hurt yourself. I think it was a rather subconscious thing that made sense to my brain without even thinking, that the safer thing to do is to make sure that the weight is not careless bouncing and rolling around.

There are probably a lot of cons with regards to training bare feet, but i have not come across any which have convinced me to put shoes on during training.

Why am I putting all this down? Um, to just share. Haha!
I am not publishing this here to convince people to train bare feet or to preach about it or be like "Oh dude! You've got to try it!"

I just felt like using this article and platform to share my feelings and experiences. Specially since it is a recurring topic of conversation.

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