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5 reasons why barefoot training?
Your feet are your eyes and ears!
Recently i have spoken with some of our class participants about barefoot training and the reasons we promote it. Some people like to wear cross trainers which is fine but we frown upon this when it comes to s&c kettlebell training etc. Now normally before or straight after training is not the best time to talk to people about this, so i thought a small article about it would help.
1. Your feet have thousands of receptors located there which send informaton and receive information from your nervous system. They are like your eyes and ears, they need a clear view, they need to hear! When you cover up your feet with soft spongy cross trainers, you become blind, your hearing is muffled, feedback and information from the feet to the nervous system is limited.
2. Most cross trainers have a couple of cm's of soft spongy foam between the soles and the floor surface, so in reality you are sinking into this foam and not getting a good push into the ground. What you are missing out on here is what we call GRF (ground reaction force). GRF is what you use to combat gravity's pull, it adds lift to the body. Lift adds space, much needed space between joints, vertebrae etc. When you have lift you are reducing the risk of compression type injuries like squashed, compressed discs in the spine. When you dont have lift you are promoting, poor posture and a trip to the doctor or physio!
Injury = less money, no training, weight gain, weaker....... :(
3. One of the most common issues affecting modern people is weak feet. As long as i have been teaching NMT, s&c, corrective exercise, Pilates etc. i have been promoting the feet as the most important areas to get right when it comes to doing and teaching exercise. They are our foundation, if your foundation is weak, the house will come tumbling down at some point! Why are feet weak? Probably from lack of use? Driving more, walking less? So many different types of soft spongy shoes? We can speculate, but when you train barefoot you strengthen your feet. Again when you have strong feet you add lift and reduce possible injuries to the rest of the body. Why??? carry on...
4. One issue with the foot or feet is hyper pronation. What is this? Simply put, when your foot contacts the ground the inner part of the ankle shifts towards the other ankle (mid line) and the sole of the foot tries to turn outwards. This can cause a shock up the body, twisting your lower and upper leg, which places an extra stress on all tissues from the foot, up to the hip and onwards. Enough of this unwanted stress will result in injury somewhere up the kinetic chain.
5. Because of the dynamic nature of some kettlebell, barbell and power club movements you have to be able to shift your body weight from the back of your feet towards the front of your feet or vice versa in a split second. With a raised soft spongy heel on the cross trainer, forcing you towards your toes, you will find this shift near impossible and again you are increasing your risk of injury.
Ok so what to do? Most of you will continue to train in cross trainers and will wait for injury to come. This is very common, people wait for pain before taking action! If you don't trust yourself going barefoot, please buy a cheap pair of thin soled plimsoles, the nearer your feet are to the ground, the better! There are expensive options like vibram five finger shoes, look silly, cost alot, but whatever you are into, they will work :)
As one of our participants said "when i wear these cross trainers i have pain, when i wear my plimsoles, no pain' ???? Yes WTF??? :)
Enjoy and prolong your training :)