Regardless of which side of the “barefoot” fence you sit, recent scientific developments by Harvard professor and barefoot enthusiast, Dr. Daniel Lieberman is sure to have you thinking about whether you should be reaching for your high top sneakers prior to your next stroll around the neighborhood or forgoing them all together in place of nature’s offering. For those that continue to debate that running barefoot is just not feasible and perhaps dangerous, I’d have to offer a rebuttal…. I mean, barefoot running and training doesn’t mean going on an eight hour run looking for your next meal. Unfortunately, the term “barefoot training” has been hijacked and equated with burning your shoes followed by a life of hugging trees and growing your hair out. I mean, we’ve all tried to increase our bench press max right? But we didn’t start day one with 350 lbs on the bar. Like everything else, the decision of how to and when to go barefoot is dependent on a number of factors, but is certainly governed by the law of progressive overload and common sense. Several practical suggestions on how to implement some barefoot work into your team’s training can be found in the March issue of Training and Conditioning. I’m not advocating you send your starting basketball center who’s been wearing Nike shocks their whole life for a run and plyo workout, but I’m pretty sure they have had shoes off recently, (maybe as recent as this morning when they woke up and walked to the bathroom) and their foot didn’t break right? So why don’t we take advantage of Mr. Wolff’s law and challenge your foot, ankle, and lower extremity just a little bit.
Barefoot training won’t cure cancer but it just might put a smile on your feet again.
For a cliff note version of Dr. Lieberman’s Harvard work click here.
Art Horne Is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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