Where To Start Barefoot

What’s the best way to strengthen my kneed and feet? I know they’re weak, especially the feet because i’ve been wearing orthotics for about 9 years. So they never really got strong.

I think the answer is training barefoot.
Your first clearance to consider this is that you must be pain-free. If you are not pain-free, something will cheat, compensate, get F’d up if you try to train any old way.
Please use the FMS and clean up any weak links because barefoot will expose them worse than even with decent shoes like Frees.

The second clearance would be to find out if you have a functional or structural flat foot. To do this yourself, see if there is any kind of arch when you lift your foot off the floor. Also take your fist and try to punch your medial arch to see if you can create some space.
If you aren’t sure, or can just get a little movement I would try to find a legit manual therapist and see if they can open it up and let you get an arch.

I would like to see a little more arch once the bar clears the floor.

If you are ready to go, start with jogging on grass using the stride that your body allows for. It may be a boring walk, but take it until you can open it up.
Farmers walk with the same process.
The least provocative DL with a focus on regaining foot stability is the Trap Bar DL. Do it out of a rack if you must. Make it look perfect with a nice medial arch and no toe curling.

Start with static and slow dynamic moves and really make sure you are employing the short foot.

These are freakin' scary. Vibrams REAL.

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2 Responses to “Where To Start Barefoot”

  1. Dan Crockett says:

    Charlie,

    While certain activities may preclude being done barefoot, as far as “in-the-gym” training goes, is there any reason why building up to “heavy/heavier” squats with bare feet can’t be a legitimate goal provided that you always respect proper progression and respect what they body is giving you at any given time?

    I ask this because a lot of people will suggest going barefoot for posterior chain work but advise against doing so for squats. My own intuition seemed to tell me that I simply warm-up progressively and allow the dynamics of the interaction between my feet and the ground to be the deciding factor in whether or not I need to slap on a pair of the least egregious footwear that I can find or possibly need to regress a movement. Perhaps for the absolute heaviest of lifs, some sort of footwear for squatting might be a good idea, but it would also appear that if the movement isn;t right barefoot, then the shoes would likely only mask something that shouldn;t be masked.

    And for this question, I am most interested in more of an Olympic stye squat, as I would assume that those suggestion barefoot deadlifting wouldn;t view barefoot box squatting as a big deal since the tibia is more vertical in that lift.

  2. Charlie says:

    Dan – Yes, for the last month, I have done all of my lifts other than bench press barefoot.

    I have no explanation why barefoot, again assuming you are supposed to be barefoot in the first place, would not be a good for squatting, but it would be okay for deadlifting.
    Sure, you’re PR barefoot will be lower than with shoes. All shoes offer some level of stability or advantage, but at least in my lifting, I am expecting barefoot to bring up my Chucked lifts.

    I would put OL in the same boat. I sure wouldn’t expect to see deep catches, but I’ve seen some video where guys were ATG barefoot. Conventional thought has me thinking barefoot doesn’t seem like a great idea for OL, but there shouldn’t be any reason why you shouldn’t.

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