We're so used to wearing shoes at all hours of the day that doing something barefoot can feel awkward and borderline creepy. But Venus Lau, certified trainer, yoga teacher, and Animal Flow expert, encourages all of her clients to work out without shoes on — and for good reason.
When we asked Venus why people shouldn't work out with shoes on, she hilariously replied, "Well, that's like if I said, 'OK guys, we're going to do push-ups, but we're going to wear these really thick pads underneath our hands.' Or, 'Do some pull-ups, but first, put on these thick, padded gloves.'" We can't help but laugh at her candor.
"We're not climbing trees made of sharded glass," she joked. What Venus means is, with most of the movement we do, we don't really need shoes on. It's not like we're protecting our feet from dangerous terrain. In fact, there are way more benefits to working out with your shoes off.
Venus posed this question: "If I have a stronger grip, am I going to be able to do bicep curls better?" Obviously, the answer is yes, because your wrists and hands will be stronger, and you'll be able to lift heavier and with better form. Similarly, if the grip of your feet is stronger, you'll perform better squats, lunges, jumps, and deadlifts. You'll even do HIIT cardio at a faster, more effective rate.
"When I work with my clients, I say, 'Create an equal footprint and drive the whole footprint into the floor to create that seal and foundation with the ground,'" Venus told POPSUGAR. "As you know with acupuncture and massage, there are meridians [energy pathways], and all the energy through the hands and feet come up through the rest of the body."
So when you allow your entire foot to grip into the floor, you're actually creating a stronger energy pathway from the ground throughout your whole body, which will eventually help you lift heavier. And the heavier you lift and the stronger you get, the more fat you shed and the leaner you get.
If you want to learn more about Venus' supereffective method, check out her comprehensive, full-body 8-week fitness program Strength and Flow. Expect to see amazing changes in your body!