Squatting And Shoes don’t Go Hand In Hand.
By Vishwanthar on Training
October 26, 2010
I suggest my clients in the gym to get rid off their shoes while they are squatting or deadlifting. But I allow them to wear thin soled shoes. So any canvas shoes would fit in, for they have very thin sole. Why? The answer is extensor reflex. This reflex causes the leg musculature to contract in response to the pressure on the sole of your foot. It is a protective measure against loading. “Research suggests that always wearing a shoes diminishes the sensitivity of the foot, which may turn off the squat friendly reflex” says Pavel Tsatsouline, an elite fitness instructor. He further states that the extensor reflex recruits the leg muscles in a precise pattern according to the direction of pressure from the ground. Poorly designed shoes may redirect the pressure where it does not belong – and alter the proper recruitment pattern. Besides, shoes with high shock absorption delay the transmission of pressure to the sole of your foot.
Dr Fred Clary who has regularly squatted 900 pounds squats barefoot to call forth those receptors. Clary states that such training sensitizes the extensor reflex receptors and enables him to squat heavier. Steve Maxwell, world renown Kettle-bell instructor, guides his clients to work barefoot whenever they are performing leg workout, and he has stated that everyone succeeds in hitting couple of extra reps on their leg exercises.
Elite powerlifters wear thin soled shoes and recommend Chuck Taylors Converse shoes. It is very well known that powerlifters are very strong athletes who lift heavy weights. For, it would be sane to heed their advice.
PS: Many of my gym clients who now squat barefoot swear by it, as their squatting poundages have increased.