T Nation

Flat Feet and Deadlifts

This is my first post, I’ve been reading quite a lot, and have yet to see anything about this.

I’ve read on the site quite a lot of stuff about deadlifting without shoes. Does this still apply if you have flat feet?

I have really flat feet, and I wear in-soles in my shoes to the gym. These in-soles help facilitate an arch in my feet. Just to give an idea, if I walk around for about an hour without my in-soles, my ankles kill, and sometimes my knees and even hips hurt.

Should I stick with the in-soles in the shoes? Obviously if I deadlift barefoot, I would not be able to use the in-soles.

Thanks!

Deadlift barefoot if you gym allows, even with flat feet. Otherwise get a pair of flat soled shoes and put your inserts into those. Examples of flat soled shoes are Converse Chuck-Taylors and Vibram five-fingers.

Personally I have flat feet as well, though thankfully they require any medical attention so I am not sure how much use I can be.

The problem as I see it in that wearing (standard) trainers it can completely change how the weight is balanced and I often had alot of initial problems in attempting to perform squats and dead lifts with trainers on. This can lead to alot more problems. As such I generally deadlift and squat barefoot.
A gym session for me will take about an hour, during which only the periods of time when I squat and dead lift do I actually remove my shoes, so if you can go 10 minutes barefoot without any pain then I would definitely recommend doing it, perhaps sitting down during your rest periods between each set to minimize the problem. The one thing I would be wary of is whether lifting weights might increase the strain due to flat feet.

The person above provides the best general advice though if you do seem to get aches when barefoot (or if it is not allowed).

i have the same problem, i’ve found that converses work well with my in-soles. what are your insoles like? did they take casts of your feet? it took me about 3-4 years before i managed to get mine propperly done in decent material. before then i was given these shitty felt things that just collapsed as soon as i put any weight on them

My ones are “specially molded to the shape of my feet”, though I’ve also tried off-the-shelf ones, and I can’t tell the difference. I might try going barefoot and see, though my gym frowns upon that.

My recommendation would be to definitely go barefoot…no question. I’ve got incredibly flat feet (…when I step out of a pool it looks like the footprints of some prehistoric dinosaur)…and the best advice I got (from a deadlifting expert, Eric Cressey) was to deadlift barefoot or perform any hip dominant movement barefoot as much as possible. I too wear orthotics so I can understand your dilemma.

There are a few reasons to go barefoot, some of which are obvious and others that we tend to overlook.

  1. The most obvious reason is the proximity of your heel to the floor. It decreases the distance you have to move the bar.

  2. When your heel is touching the floor, it acts as a “coaching cue” for the lifter to focus on driving through the heels…very important for proper deadlift technique.

  3. The one reason that people tend to overlook is the “foot and ankle strengthening” aspect of going barefoot. Now that I’ve been training barefoot for over a year, I’m AMAZED at how much of a difference this has made. We’re built like buildings and it all starts with the foundation, our feet. The performance of our feet ultimately dictates the chain reaction up the body as it relates to the transfer of energy and the overall stability…especially when moving heavy shit! Flat feet can be painful and training barefoot has made my foot muscles stronger so now my overall arch/foot pain has diminished tremendously. I was always told that you couldn’t “rebuild” an arch but I’m telling you that you can. You’re never going to have a “normal” arch but you will reprogram how your foot moves and your ability to put pressure on the outside of your feet instead of having your arch collapse, thus making it harder to always be pushing your knees out when doing any leg movement which we should all do.

Go barefoot for hip-dominant exercises and you’ll thank me later! :wink:

My recommendation would be to definitely go barefoot…no question. I’ve got incredibly flat feet (…when I step out of a pool it looks like the footprints of some prehistoric dinosaur)…and the best advice I got (from a deadlifting expert, Eric Cressey) was to deadlift barefoot or perform any hip dominant movement barefoot as much as possible. I too wear orthotics so I can understand your dilemma.

There are a few reasons to go barefoot, some of which are obvious and others that we tend to overlook.

  1. The most obvious reason is the proximity of your heel to the floor. It decreases the distance you have to move the bar.

  2. When your heel is touching the floor, it acts as a “coaching cue” for the lifter to focus on driving through the heels…very important for proper deadlift technique.

  3. The one reason that people tend to overlook is the “foot and ankle strengthening” aspect of going barefoot. Now that I’ve been training barefoot for over a year, I’m AMAZED at how much of a difference this has made. We’re built like buildings and it all starts with the foundation, our feet. The performance of our feet ultimately dictates the chain reaction up the body as it relates to the transfer of energy and the overall stability…especially when moving heavy shit! Flat feet can be painful and training barefoot has made my foot muscles stronger so now my overall arch/foot pain has diminished tremendously. I was always told that you couldn’t “rebuild” an arch but I’m telling you that you can. You’re never going to have a “normal” arch but you will reprogram how your foot moves and your ability to put pressure on the outside of your feet instead of having your arch collapse, thus making it harder to always be pushing your knees out when doing any leg movement which we should all do.

Go barefoot for hip-dominant exercises and you’ll thank me later! :wink:

[quote]edannenfels wrote:
My recommendation would be to definitely go barefoot…no question. I’ve got incredibly flat feet (…when I step out of a pool it looks like the footprints of some prehistoric dinosaur)…and the best advice I got (from a deadlifting expert, Eric Cressey) was to deadlift barefoot or perform any hip dominant movement barefoot as much as possible. I too wear orthotics so I can understand your dilemma.

There are a few reasons to go barefoot, some of which are obvious and others that we tend to overlook.

  1. The most obvious reason is the proximity of your heel to the floor. It decreases the distance you have to move the bar.

  2. When your heel is touching the floor, it acts as a “coaching cue” for the lifter to focus on driving through the heels…very important for proper deadlift technique.

  3. The one reason that people tend to overlook is the “foot and ankle strengthening” aspect of going barefoot. Now that I’ve been training barefoot for over a year, I’m AMAZED at how much of a difference this has made. We’re built like buildings and it all starts with the foundation, our feet. The performance of our feet ultimately dictates the chain reaction up the body as it relates to the transfer of energy and the overall stability…especially when moving heavy shit! Flat feet can be painful and training barefoot has made my foot muscles stronger so now my overall arch/foot pain has diminished tremendously. I was always told that you couldn’t “rebuild” an arch but I’m telling you that you can. You’re never going to have a “normal” arch but you will reprogram how your foot moves and your ability to put pressure on the outside of your feet instead of having your arch collapse, thus making it harder to always be pushing your knees out when doing any leg movement which we should all do.

Go barefoot for hip-dominant exercises and you’ll thank me later! :wink: [/quote]

Great advice, thanks! DOes that include squats too?

Nope! For squats you definitely want to use sneakers. A bit of a heal on shoes isn’t a bad thing when you’re talking about non-hip dominant movements such as squats.

Great, thanks!

[quote]barbarianlifter wrote:
Deadlift barefoot if you gym allows, even with flat feet. Otherwise get a pair of flat soled shoes and put your inserts into those. Examples of flat soled shoes are Converse Chuck-Taylors and Vibram five-fingers.[/quote]

I own 4 pairs of fivefingers. In my opinion best shoes you will ever find for training. Couple of years ago my doctor said that I have flat feet. After wearing fivefingers for 6 months my soles were “cured”.

Problem is that your soles muscles are not strong enough to support your soles arches. Feet, calves and hamstrings will become stronger just by running and moving barefoot. Moving barefoot will also improve your posture. Check out vibram fivefingers and vivo barefoot’s.