Michael was training a new client with a balance and agility focus and a thought came to him – a barefoot thought! This client’s a hiker – a serious hiker. We’re talking major climbs, multiple times a week. Naturally, Michael began the first training session with the following words: “Take off your shoes. We’ll be training barefoot.” (Michael just loves it when clients follow requests!)
How many people actually understand that true balance and stability begins with the 44+ muscles on the bottom of our feet? If we’re ignoring those muscles, it’s no different than using a bandage on a wound that needs stitching. It will never stop the bleeding, but merely slow it down. If we’re never fully using those 44+ muscles, we’ll never gain true strength. Instead, we will only build some of the supportive muscles around our feet to mimic the real thing. Now don’t get me wrong, any intrinsic muscle building in the ankles and hips will always lead to better balance, but imagine if we had the whole package!
“By the end of the first barefoot session, my new client was singing the praise of barefoot training. We attempted no running – yet. We included intervals of barefoot treadmill, uphill walking, squats, balance discs, battling ropes, and upper body training.” –Michael
When it comes to balance and stability training, your feet need to be on the ground. Better yet, train in Luongo Footwear, barefoot, or in your favorite minimalist footwear. Otherwise, you’re simply adapting to the cushioning in your shoe. Undoubtedly you change your shoes, which have different levels of cushioning. Ideally, our bodies should be trained to be responsive to any surface. This is best possible when the muscles and proprioceptors in your feet have been awakened and strengthened!