If you ever watch me at the gym or in a video training, you will see me pulling, pushing, lunging, squatting or twisting. I love moving my body in the way it was supposed to. As Paul Chek states: “to move means to experience.” With that said, I am constantly looking to have a work out experience at the fullest because it helps me connect with all parts of myself.
I am frequently changing the format of my training so I can continue getting results by challenging my body. I change the tempo, sets, repetitions, resting time, exercise order, intensity and so on. My latest change was my footwear, I wanted to increase the connection between my body and the ground, increase foot proprioception, work more my stability and enhance my overall experience as I move my body. The moment I tried "barefoot training" shoes I felt all those aspects in action. My footwear of choice was the Vibram Fivefingers®. I like the tight fit and how they mold around the foot.
This may sound funny, but the moment I put them on, I instantly want to move. I truly feel more grounded. That is a great feeling, physically and emotionally. There are a lot of studies done related to energy and the points under our feet, if you are interested in it, research reflexology. There is a lot of energy coming from earth, any chance I have I walk barefoot on the grass, dirt or rocks. I have found that once you get used to feeling your foot working the way it is designed to, you can never go back. If you want to see what it feels like, try a few exercises in the gym or simply walk around the house.
A word of caution, if you want to jump right into your workout routine wearing them, as with any new exercise, you need to start slowly. Start by just wearing them for a couple of hours for the first few days, then try a few exercises. The rule is always the same for exercise, listen to your body. If your joints or any area of your spine hurt during or after your work out, back off. Any new exercise that you do too much, too soon can cause injuries.
Below you can watch a video with a few of my favorite exercises that work a full range of motion and directions on my feet/ankle complex. Besides spending time in the gym, I do a lot of Stand Up Paddling. This is an excellent example of barefoot training. The constant movement of the water is an amazing stimulus to my foot, and the rest of the body.
By Ale Gil