By Cheryl Coppa
If you have trained with me, you may have noticed I am always barefoot! If you scroll through Instagram you can even find elite lifters ditching their shoes.
While most of the time it might be a personal preference, I started training this way because I don’t wear shoes in the house, so why would I put them on to work out in the house?
Writing this made me realize I have not bought a new pair of athletic shoes in over 2 years, maybe I should replace that expense with pedis!
I have always had weak ankles, and I noticed over the past couple of years my ankle mobility and strength have greatly improved, so I wondered why and came to the conclusion that it was due to the barefoot training.
Let’s take a look at this a little deeper
When you think about it, our feet are the foundation of our entire body, they literally walk you through your whole life, therefore they need to be strong and function properly.
A lot of our athletic shoes provide unnatural support and limit the feeling and movement of our toes, which can end up affecting our posture and the alignment of our hips and pelvis (also a major cause of knee pain).
This can actually cause the ankles and the feet to get lazy & weak.
Your feet are covered with proprioception - sensors that provide feedback to the rest of the body about position and alignment. Going barefoot helps us to feel and connect with our environment and greatly helps with balance in our natural movements.
How low can you squat?
Nearly 1/4 of the body’s bones are in the feet! Pretty crazy, right? So, you can imagine how important it would be to have them functioning properly.
By going barefoot, you increase the mobility of the foot which gives you a wider range of motion. If the stability and mobility of the feet are not there, it is a domino effect and will impact the ankles, knees, and hip positions.
Maybe you have noticed you can’t squat very low, or when you squat your heels have a tendency to lift off the ground, this is directly linked to lack of ankle mobility.
Improve balance. Build strength
Working out barefoot helps us to build strength and stability with the stabilizing muscles of the foot and ankle, as well as improve balance, proprioception, and overall performance.
Keep in mind that some people do require more support than others, but you can still work toward the best, strongest functional feet & ankles to carry you through your life.
If you are completely new to barefoot training, start with some simple bodyweight movements like squats and lunges so you can gradually get used to the change, and progress from there.
Also, try out some of these simple exercises you can do on your own anytime, anywhere! (see video below)
Take care of those feet, even if that means pedicures and foot massages! On that note, maybe our insurance companies should reimburse us for a spa visit for our feet.
Cheryl Coppa is a wife, mother of 3, and a fitness trainer in the Exercise Box program. She train busy moms and women at home using minimal time and minimal equipment to achieve specific goals. Cheryl's special booty program is a huge success getting her incredible results for her participants