4 Barefoot Movements You Should Be Doing

TAGS: Barefoot Training, Chris Janek

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Barefoot training has been around A LONG TIME. In the S&C industry, I learned some great stuff at the legendary Parisis in Fairlawn, New Jersey, back in 2002. We trained there while I played arena football for the New Jersey Gladiators. Bumping shoulders with Martin Rooney and Joe Defranco was an amazing experience. They were some of the coaches whom I had the pleasure of seeing and learning from.


RECENT: 6-Week Cycle for the Powerlifter in Limbo Land


For the powerlifters reading this, listen to what Donnie Thompson and JL Holdsworth have to say about barefoot training. Donnie Thompson (3000-pound total; inventor of Fatbells, Thompson Fat Pad, the Bow Tie; @thompsonbowtie) says,

"After discovering the secrets of strength ankle flexion and feet spread, I put it to use years ago. I started with kettlebell work to prepare me for heavy squats. I went to bare feet in 2003 for my speed squat days. Strictly barefooted for all deadlifts. This enabled me to dial in my contact with the floor/ground. I would literally let the weight coarse through my body. My feet would literally spread. The more contact my feet had with the ground, the better conductor of force my body could be. This led to heavier poundages without having to get any stronger. I wore the thinnest-sole shoes possible when I went to heavy squats, mimicking barefeet. Even sprayed adhesive in my shoes to become one with the shoe. Barefoot training is a must if you want to maximize power!"

JL Holdsworth (owner of The Spot, RPR co-founder, @coach_JL) says,

“The foot and ankle are the most ignored complex in all of training. The ankle and foot are the joints through which all force generated from the hips and legs are displaced into the ground. You can have the strongest hips and legs in the world, and if your feet and ankles are weak, you lose a large percentage of the force you produce. For powerlifters, this is important. However, for field sport athletes, this concept is crucial. If you are a field sport athlete or strength coach and you are ignoring the foot and ankle, you are doing yourself or your athletes a huge disservice.”

A lot of this barefoot protocol we do at TTF is what I have learned from them and others from years back. This sample protocol is simple (YES, SIMPLE STILL WORKS) and has worked great with my clients and teams over the past 12 years.

Along with doing some sessions barefoot throughout the workout, what will be explained and shown is more of a cool down. This will help to strengthen the ankle, Achilles’ heel, and foot, as well as target the calves. Most of the time, weather permitting, we use the local high school football field. Please make sure that whatever area you are using is free from any obstructions, such as glass, gum, etc. If doing this inside, make sure that you have an area as well as a facility that is okay with this.

The distance for what we do usually is about 25/30 yds, but you can see what works best for you depending on the time, space, etc. You can also wear a weight vest or hold weight for an added load.

1. For the first one, we want to keep our legs locked/slightly locked and walk as far on the toes as possible.

2. For the second one, we want to keep our legs locked/slightly locked and pronate our feet as much as possible while staying on the toes as much as possible.

3. For the third one, we want to keep our legs locked/slightly locked, and supinate our feet as much as possible while staying on the toes as much as possible.

4. For the fourth one, we want to lead heal-to-toe contact during every rep, focusing on getting on the toes as much as possible during every repetition.

As stated earlier, this can also benefit the powerlifter. I used to do this ALOT.

Hope this helps you with your training or with the athletes you train. Feel free to reach out to me with questions below, at tankstrainingfacility@yahoo.com, or send me a DM through my social media outlets (Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter).

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