Going shoeless for TRX Training or slipping into minimal sneaks that allow your feet to articulate as they would if they were barefoot can help you get the same critical feedback and movement enhancement from your feet that you get from training with bare hands. In life and often in training and sport, our feet are our primary point of contact with the planet and our chief feedback mechanism for many movements.
Whether you’re a longtime barefooter or just making the transition, here are two techniques you can use to get the most from your barefoot training.
Spread to Engage
The more time you spend moving and training barefoot, the more you will notice that your toes and the bones in your feet want to spread out wide. This spread helps absorb shock when you’re moving. When you’re in a static standing position, the wider your toe spread, the more engaged your feet and body will be and the greater your base of support for movements performed in a standing position.
It takes time for the muscles and connective tissue in your feet to adapt to their new freedom, but from day one of your barefoot experience, dedicate a few minutes to paying attention to your feet and how they move. It doesn’t have to be during training either. Kick your shoes off under your desk and practice spreading out your toes as wide as possible. Pay attention to how the spread impacts the manner in which the muscles in your calves and the rest of your body activate and engage.
Once you’ve mastered the spread the next step is to learn how to forge effective foot fists. Foot fists don’t look or feel like the fists we make with our hands. To make foot fists, imagine your toes being fingers that are gripping the ground as hard as possible while maintaining a wide toe spread. This will enhance your balance and stability during standing unilateral movements and create greater whole-body engagement and awareness.