Barefoot Weight Training Guidelines
Written on February 23, 2009 at 5:00 am, by Eric Cressey
Q: I know that you’re a bid advocate of including barefoot weight training in your strength and conditioning programs. What in general is your “shoeless” policy with your athletes, if any?
A: Yes, we use a lot of barefoot weight training around Cressey Performance in our strength training programs. In addition to strengthening the smaller muscles of the feet, barefoot training “accidentally” improves ankle mobility in athletes who have been stuck in restrictive shoes their entire lives.
Here are the exercises we’re open to doing barefoot:
All deadlift variations (rack pulls and DB variations included), box squats (hip dominant), and all any body weight mobility drills.
We don’t go barefoot for any loaded single-leg movements (aside from 1-leg RDLs and 1-leg squats/pistols) or more quad-dominant squatting variations.
All that said, we are careful about integrating barefoot drills in very overweight or very weak clients. These individuals do not go barefoot for any of our dynamic flexibility warm-ups aside from in-place ankle mobilizations, as lunging variations can be a bit too much stress on them at first.
We do, however, encourage clients (in most cases) to go with a good minimalist shoe. My personal favorite is the New Balance Minimus.
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