Remember my emails about the old man in China?
I’m sure many of you – most of you do!
And the one thing I still remember about the old man… every time he climbed the hill, every time he started, he’d take his shoes – or his “slippers” – as they call it there, off.
He’d carry them in his hands all the way to the top of the hill while he climbed barefoot, then do his stretching and one minute handstand at the top barefoot – and then back down.
Upon descending he’d put the flip flops back on – and walk back home, which I believe for him was a 15-20 minute walk through the city.
I found it interesting to be sure.
And there were times I tried it – climbing the whole damn hill barefoot – but truth be told, in MOST of my training – especially that which I did to get in the best shape of my life – it was ALL with shoes on.
Nothing against walking, running, or climbing barefoot if thats your thang tho.
But you gotta make sure for one you’re doing it in a clean place, with no glass, stones, or other “natural impediments” lying around (I dont know about you, but I dont want to be stepping on thorns, brambles etc when walking around!) – not to mention other nasty stuff you can find in certain countries such as well… animal “leftovers” – trash on the road – if you get my drift.
The hill was admittedly pretty clean in most regards, so that was fine there.
But now, why would someone do this ?
Well, first off, climbing with flip flops isn’t exactly the easiest thing. I’ve done it, and you’ll slip, slide, everything possible under the sun – especially if it’s raining and slick (I almost had a nasty fall once when doing that. Hehe).
Second, that particular hill, the steps, the way the road was paved – walking in that park itself barefoot was a “foot massage” of sorts, because of the way certain paths were laid out, where the stones literally stimulate the balls of your feet, and so forth.
And the entire foot …
Nothing against those that dont believe in it, of course. I’ve gotten plenty of foot massages etc in China – they HURT like hell if you’re not used to them – but you do feel pretty good afterwards!
Plus, all the benefits about stimulating the lymph system, endocrine system – the pressure points supposedly corresponding to each part of your body – and brain – I dont know, I’m in the middle there, it could all be true – and then again, Ive done just fine without that sort of thing, so what do I know.
Personally, me, I’ll train with my shoes on – just feels more natural, more comfortable …
Even in sopping hot weather when those shoes would literally be DAMP with sweat after all the four hour hikes!
Now, at home?
I’m almost always training barefoot – unless I’m jumping rope, which I do with shoes.
But squats, pushups, all of it – I do barefoot.
Not that you can’t do it with shoes on.
I dont think you benefit any less with shoes on either.
I think though that training barefoot brings you more of the “connection to the earth” that we are supposed to have – and it also improves balance and coordination more than if you would do these things with shoes.
Energy transfer, developing the bouncy “spring” from the balls of the feet … ligament and tendon strength in general – I believe its all to an extent better done barefoot.
Look at how martial artists train – barefoot.
Look at how the traditional Indian wrestlers train – barefoot.
Muay Thai, boxing (well, in the ring at least) – barefoot.
(and most of the fights are barefoot too – shoes give you an advantage! Think about it, kicking with military grade boots vs barefoot for one … hehe).
And so forth …
I’ve actually found shoes make the squats a little easier in terms of balance, which is why you see me doing my workouts barefoot in 0 Excuses Fitness
Of course, when I go outside, thats a different story.
So thats my take on it.
Like it or not … Hehe.
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