Okay, this move sometimes confuses people. If you are wearing lifting shoes or shoes with a high heel, you can more easily get lower in your squat. If this is true, is it also true that wearing these shoes can actually limit your range?
As I said before, it comes down to muscle imbalance. We need our muscles to be working efficiently and effectively to provide stability and allow us to move well and through a full range of motion. If our muscles are not doing this job well, other muscles have to kick in to help. Joints will also take some of the role of stabilizing and start to lock down, reducing their range of motion. This is why it is critical to include some specific barefoot training and foot-strengthening exercises in your training program.
Does that mean you always have to lift barefoot? Not at all, but it does mean you need to carve out a few minutes every single day to specifically train those feet, ankle, and lower-leg muscles by doing exercises barefoot.
Start with this one, a not-always-so-easy way to balance on one foot known as “short foot.” This simple exercise proves to be very challenging for many people, as it forces all of the smaller muscles of the foot and lower leg to engage and work together. Time yourself, and see how long you can get. Once you feel confident with this exercise, there are so many ways to incorporate this exercise into your barefoot training!
- Lift the toes of your right foot off of the ground and splay them as wide as you can.
- Place them back on the ground, ensuring each is in full contact with the ground.
- Attempt to pull the ball of your big toe toward your heel without lifting your toes.
Essentially, think of trying to make the arch of your foot higher. Lift your left foot off the ground, holding for as long as you can.