When you’re in the gym lifting weights, you’re thinking about your form, your reps—and probably not paying much attention to what’s on your feet. Taking off your shoes and lifting in your socks, however, can be a great way to get some extra benefit out of your workout.
Here, we’ll take a look at exactly how working out barefoot can help your body get stronger, faster—and what kind of socks you’ll want to look for to keep you grounded in the gym.
Barefoot Lifts Build Muscle
When you aren’t wearing shoes, your feet are hard at work stabilizing your body. When you have shoes on, they do much of the work for you. Taking your shoes off forces your body to increase muscle recruitment and can boost your burn without you needing to add more reps to your workout. To level up this exercise, grab a pair of barefoot lifting socks. You may notice that you feel some new soreness after you switch over to working out in socks, even if nothing else about your workout has changed. This is normal, and your body will adjust over time.
Many people who make the switch to lifting in socks find that doing so allows them to feel more connected to the ground and stable, which can translate into bigger lifts, faster. When you feel confident and grounded, you’ll be able to feel confident picking up larger weights. Be sure to continue to follow your training plan and work with a fitness professional to determine the amount of weight that’s appropriate for your body.
Barefoot Lifts Improve Balance
When you’re used to wearing shoes most of the time, it’s easy to forget how much they do to help your balance. Shoes stabilize your feet, allowing your body to do less work to keep you upright. When you take off your shoes and lift in your socks, your entire body is forced to work harder to balance. This doesn’t just mean that your feet are getting more of a workout—your legs and core will both be hard at work to ensure that you stay balanced while you’re lifting.
So, How Should You Make the Switch? Use Barefoot Socks
There’s no doubt about it—it can feel a little strange to start lifting in your socks if you’ve always worked out in sneakers. The first step toward making the switch is finding a few pairs of socks that make you feel comfortable when you take off your shoes. Wearing grip socks can be the perfect way to ensure that you’re not slipping and sliding all over the gym, but still getting all the benefits of working out without your shoes.
If you have any injuries that affect how you work out, it’s smart to talk with your doctor before making the switch to working out in socks. You don’t have to do your whole workout in socks to get some of the benefits of barefoot lifting. Starting with just five minutes in your socks and working up to full shoeless workouts can be a good way to ease into the change.