I recently watching an old classic the other day called ‘pimping iron’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is a documentary about his career in bodybuilding and the preparation for his last competition, the 1975 Mr. Olympia. One of the biggest things that I noticed was that he didn’t wear shoes when he lifted. Actually, he was barefoot almost the whole movie. He had one of the best physiques of all time, he won Mr. Universe 5 times and won Mr. Olympia 7 times and he trained without shoes. Could there be something about that?
There are 33 joints, 26 bones, and over 7,000 tendons, ligaments, and nerve endings in the foot and ankle. It is a biological and biomechanical masterpiece. Everything in your body is connected to your feet and in order for you to have the best physique, you have to start with a strong base–your feet. By covering your feet with shoes you lose much of the movement and balance of using your toes. The bodybuilders understood that in order for the rest of their body to be amazing that they had to start from the ground up so barefoot was the way to do that.
How do you wear no shoes in the gym though, without getting in trouble? Vivo barefoot shoes are the best that I have found. They have little to no foot support so it is just like you are barefoot except you have some protection from the elements and you won’t get kicked out of your local gym.
My cousin is a barefoot running instructor in Colorado and we were having a conversation about how bad shoes are for your knees and hips while running as well. With the thickly padded heel on the back of running shoes, it makes you extend your leg out in front of you which is not a normal reaction for the human body. You can see this when you watch a young child run, their center of gravity is always above their feet. They do not stretch the legs out in front until they are taught (incorrectly, I believe) later in life by adults.
Shoes also make your feet lazy and you don’t use your toes at all. Do you even know your toes are there most of the time when you’re wearing shoes? Do you ever think of pushing off your big toe down when you’re walking? Should you? What are your toes there for anyway?
I hope this article makes you think a little about your most amazing feet and let’s start a conversation. What do you think? Comment below or email me at [email protected]
**Now go use your toes and workout your feet**