Deadlifts are one of the best exercises but all too often I see people doing deadlifts in sneakers or running shoes.
Wearing running sneakers when deadlifting is a big no no for many reasons.
1. When you deadlift in running sneakers your foot is in a padded sole. This is not good as you will lose a lot of strength and power when pushing your feet into the ground. Cushion is good for running, not for deadlifting.
2. If you wear running sneakers deadlifting this will elevate your heel. Having your heel elevated is good for squats, not for deadlifts. By elevating your heels you are pushing your knees forward when you hinge or squat. This throws off correct alignment when you deadlift as ideally you want to have as much of a vertical shin angle as possible when you deadlift.
3. A running sneaker is a very unstable surface. For strength stability is important. The more stable the platform when lifting weights the better.
4. A runner also has an elevation of 1-2 inches for shock absorption. 1-2 inches of distance in a deadlift makes it a lot harder. You want to deadlift only as far as you have to. Pulling 300-500 lbs 2-3 inches more makes it a lot harder. Economy of energy is important in training smart.
What should you wear on your feet when deadlifting?
This is simple, anything with a flat sole or very little sole or go barefoot.
If you can go barefoot do it. It’s a natural way to deadlift and it feels amazing.
You can also use Chuck Taylors or wrestling boots. Chuck’s are great but they have about an inch or 1.5 inches so this is something to consider. I have a pair of Batman Chuck Taylors and Breaking Bad Chucks and I love them, but when it comes to lifting I use wrestling shoes.
I have also seen a lot of people using deadlift shoes recently as well. They are growing in popularity.
Personally I deadlift barefoot when doing conventional and when I lift sumo and compete I wear wrestling shoes as going barefoot or socks only is not allowed in PowerLifting Competition.
Try deadlifting barefoot or with little to no elevation for best results and don’t deadlift in running shoes.
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Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.