Barefoot is best!

bare

I love working out at my local gym! I see and hear so many exercise and nutrition myths, I reckon I could keep my blog full with them!

Today I was running through some front squats, trainers off, when the female instructor and also the gyms Personal Trainer, came up and said, “Where are your shoes?! Health and safety!” I nodded towards the floor where my trainers were sitting, and said, with a smile “Just exercising properly, surely you know you’re stronger without shoes on?” she just smiled back, not knowing what the hell I was talking about, and continued to show a guy how to perform a single arm DB Row with the best rounded back teachnique ever!

If you perform an exercise standing, wear no training shoes, or some very flat shoes, like converse or adidas all stars. The reason being, your feet have around 28 bones, a large number, therefore you have a  large number of muscles and nerves associated with these bones. When you wear a pair of nicely padded training shoes, you are not only displacing your ankle and therefore the rest of your kinetic chain when you push into the floor, but you are numbing a large number of these muscles, and therefore the contractions of the muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back etc are weaker and out of synch.

Compare this with training in level shoes, or socks, and your feet and nervous system come alive! It is foot to hard floor contact, and when you push into the floor, those nerves and neural drive will fire up big time, contracting many more muscles and in turn will create a stronger contraction and you WILL be stronger.

I have all my PT clients working out without trainers, and when performing standing exercises, I’m down to socks for my own workouts. Give it a try, drop off those shoes and try some OH presses, Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans etc, and you’ll notice how much more “aware” your senses and muscles are, and how much stronger you will be – just make sure you have clean socks on!! Let me know how you get on!

 

P.S. Here’s a great article on why “barefoot” is better http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/

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The 3 i’s is not the answer!

Heard a great interview with Sportscoach Mike Boyle the other day, talking about soft tissue injuries, and how “specialists” rely on the 3 i’s to alleviate the problem, without actually getting to the root cause of the problem.

antiinflammpills

If you visit a doctor or “specialist” the first thing they will tell you to do, is to take anti-inflammatories for the first 5 days or so – the 1st ” i ” ! The only time this is likely to resolve the problem, and long term is if the injury was as a result of an external resistance, such as an impact, or sprain or strain.

injection

If you find this didn’t work (most cases of a kinetic dysfunction, which will continue to push and pull the body out of alignment) you’ll pop back to see Mr Specialist and he’ll probably prescribe ” i ” number 2 – the injection or cortisone injection. Cortisone can be quite damaging to the bodies tissues, and is regarded as a “stay away” form of treatment by many professionals. It acts by pooling around the inflammation and treating the inflammation – again, this is treating the symptom but not the initial cause of the injury.

If you then find after a few weeks/months the pain is still there (which will be the case if not immediately apparent) you go back for the 3rd “ i ” – incision. (I won’t post a picture of this!!) “Let’s open up the area and take a look” – in other words, I’ve got no idea what’s happening, let’s go and poke around and see! Again, if they do perform surgery, it’s only in an attempt to resolve the immediate issue – it’s won’t correct the initial cause!!

I had exactly this issue about 5 years ago. Started getting a continual pain in my left shoulder, which became worse with overhead movements. Luckily I had private medical cover, so got to see “the” shoulder specialist in Surrey. After injections and MRI scans, he gave me a cortisone injection, this failed, so I had a second about 4 weeks later. He said that if that one didn’t work, they’d perform “investigative surgery” – thankfully the cortisone resolved the pain! I performed rotator cuff exercises, which has now strengthened the shoulder, but I’ve also worked on my tight Quadratus Lamborum (lower back muscle!) which was the initial cause of the shoulder issue as I’d taken up gold around that time, and this tightness was limiting my range of rotation, which in turn affected my shoulder movement.

Not once did “Mr Specialist” attempt to find the cause of the injury, nor was he concerned about what I should do post-injection to ensure it didn’t happen again. If I knew then what I do now (how many times has that been said?!” I may well have had a debate with him over treatment and prevention methods, but I just accepted what he said.

If you have a muscle imbalance, this will invariably cause a dysfunction within your kinetic chain and cause pain at some point, often referred. Seek out a qualified therapist or Kinetic Chain Specialist and find the root cause of your injury – this will not only ensure the real problem is resolved, but you should becoming stronger and pain-free for more than a few months!