Strengthen the Feet and the Body to Run Barefoot


Almost everyone I encounter who talks about running barefoot (or in so-called minimalist footwear) misses the most important component of safe transitioning. You MUST strengthen both the FEET and MOST of the BODY to run safely, efficiently and, ultimately, powerfully barefoot or minimalist. Everyone who trains with me understands from the get-go that off-road drills to enhance the shift to my squat-scoot style of mid-foot running are non-negotiable. You either do them or you don’t train with me. It’s as simple as that.

All of the following drills are done barefoot on any surface you have available (and they MUST be done barefoot to reap the benefits). First, the feet:

1. toe raises on a step followed by 1 legged eccentric drops

2. 1-legged hopping on the spot. Land where you take off

3. alternate 1 legged hopping forward and backward. Land where you take off

4. 1 legged box hops from a 1/4 squat held position. Move quickly inside the box

Do each of these for 30 seconds 3 times per week x 1 circuit. Progress to 60 seconds and add 1 circuit per week. Maintain at 4 circuits x 60 seconds per exercise

Second, the body:

1. Sumo squat stationary hops

2. 1 legged low squat chest flyes with light weights

3. 1 legged alternate arm forward and angled lifts with light weights

4. side to side low lunges with light weights

5. prone plank alternate arm rotations with light weights. Whole body rotates as one with 1 arm holding dumbbell leading the way

Do these for 30 secs x 1 circuit 3 x/week. Add 5 seconds and 1 circuit per week till at 60 seconds and 3 circuits 3x/week.

Doing these as part of your training week will develop all of the key running muscles you need to hold the squat/scoot mid-foot technique whilst barefoot,,,and be injury-free!

Coach Jeff


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