Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Barefoot (or at least flat foot) Training

We were born without shoes…and during the first few years of our lives, we went barefoot.  

When we wear shoes, our feet lose some of their natural physical capacity including failing to develop to their proper size and shape.  Our tendons and ligaments shorten and our muscles weaken.

Going barefoot or wearing minimal footwear has many advantages in weight lifting.    There are no artificial heals when you go barefoot or wear minimal footwear.    Shoes that lift the heel alter your center of balance.   They shift the weight forward and your body compensates by arching your back.   Most sports shoes don't help much either as they have shock absorbing cushioning that reduce wear and tear but don't do much for strengthening.   When performing lower body exercises such as squats and deadlifts, these shoes cause uneven stability.   In addition, those shoes are not designed for the heavy weight.  They can literally “blow out" the shocks.   

A barefoot stance is the best way to improve balance and posture.  This in turns allows you to lift more and more safely.

Many lower body strength-training exercises can be performed barefoot.  To mention a few -- squats, deadlifts, lunges, and step–ups.

When I perform deadlifts, I wear wrestling shoes.  (I cannot stand the thought of standing barefoot or socking footed on a public gym floor!)  They are flat, thin sole, no arch and very minimalist.    Many lifters also where Converse Chuck Taylors.   For your workout, these are the next best thing to barefoot. 

Take your training to the next level and go back to Mother Nature and try it barefoot (or minimalist).    Let the body work as intended and to full potential.
Stay tuned…

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