Barefoot Training – What’s All the Hype About?

Barefoot Training – Do I have to wear those shoes?!

Barefoot training seems to be the latest “thing” to do. I haven’t personally tried it yet, but my husband has been barefoot training and LOVES it. So I’m sure in no time at all I will be getting some Vibrams and experiencing barefoot training for myself, but until then…I’m just going to give you a little background and pros and cons of barefoot training.

Barefoot Training – What’s the Point?

I don’t know if your anything like me, but I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about barefoot training or my feet… other than what color to paint my toenails, or when they are achey from wearing some really cute shoes. 🙂 But let’s really think about our feet and barefoot training for a second, our feet are the only part of our body that touches the ground when we walk, run, dance, jump, hop, skip or any activity that basically gets us moving…and we spend little or no time developing strength or mobility in them. And without our feet, we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the exercises that get the rest of our body in shape.

Not only do we use our feet to do the activities listed above (and a ton more), but our feet have almost 30% of ALL our joints in our body! Crazy, huh?! I mean 2 of the smallest parts of our body, play such a vital role in our lives…and most of us spend little to no time taking care of them, especially strengthening them, and doing such things as barefoot training. Our feet are the base of support and the foundation for movement. If they lack strength, mobility, and proprioception (the ability to feel yourself in space and the ability to react) then we are asking for trouble.

Barefoot Training – Why is it Important?

That is where barefoot training comes in and the importance of it. I mean after all, none of us were born with shoes on, but it doesn’t take long for us to start wearing them ALL the time and thinking that the “right” shoe is all we need to perform our best. But just like we need to spend time strengthening the rest of our body, we need to do that with our feet as well and that is why barefoot training is so important. There are many exercises that can be done barefoot that will help strengthen your feet. (You can actually do them with NO shoes, but if you’re the type of person that has really sensitive feet or can’t stand to be barefoot, then there are shoes now designed specifically for barefoot training. I mentioned them earlier…Vibrams.)

Here is a list of a couple of exercises that you can do barefoot training:

  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Running/Sprints

I know many of you probably would cringe at the thought of running or sprinting with no shoes on, but our feet were actually designed for it. Not only does it barefoot training strengthen your feet, but the entire lower limbs. We need to start thinking of our feet like we do our hands. Can you imagine if we never spent any time strengthening our hands…we wouldn’t be able to type or write, pick up our children, button or clothes, pick up a fork!…and not only that, could you imagine how weak our arms, back and legs would be?! The same principles apply to the feet and why doing barefoot training is so crucial.

Now onto the cons of barefoot training. The only cons I found to barefoot training are kind of the obvious reasons:

  • You could step on something and cut your foot while barefoot training
  • You could drop something on them while barefoot training
  • You could stub a toe while barefoot training
  • If you have specific foot dysfunctions requiring shoe orthotics

The only other thing that I discovered while researching barefoot training…and it made a lot of sense to me, is that you shouldn’t do barefoot training or even in Vibram’s on concrete. We were born to do barefoot training, but not on concrete, we need to be on a surface that has some “give”. Surfaces such as dirt, grass, sand, etc. is what professionals barefoot trainers and the type of barefoot training we here at Victory Fit Camp recommend. 🙂

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