Lately I’ve been getting more questions regarding knee pain.
For some odd reason we like to treat the symptoms of problems & not actually address the root cause. This is usually due to the fact of not having the time to really dive into our problem or just neglect it as a priority.
The distractions we’re introduced to on the daily that pulls us away from our bodies are endless. Some may even argue that we’re becoming modern day zombies…..
One of the best things you can do for yourself physically & mentally is exercise yourself as a whole. This can mean resistance training, calisthenics, group classes, yoga, or cardio….yes cardio. The reason this is so important for you mentally & physically is the simple fact that the results rely solely on you, nothing else can interfere during this time. Not only does this allow you to achieve physical goals, it also allows you to break mental barriers within yourself such as pushing through the non-motivation to get to the gym, making time for yourself during the day to just breathe & feel yourself work.
This Feeling Of Self-Accomplishment Is Positive & Empowering.
When we feel positive & powerful, we do great things for ourselves & others.
Who doesn’t want that?
Today I want to talk about those of you who are already making it into the gym day in & day out but aren’t taking the extra time to “prime up” or “wind down” your body before & after your workouts. Some may say, but I don’t have enough time to do extra movements before & after my workouts, I barely have enough time to workout.
Well what if I told you that those movements you do before & after the workout could potentially be more important than the actual workout?
Instead of looking at the workout as the main focus, you should be looking at the pre & post routine movements as the focus. These movements should consist of exercises that help correct proper posture, activate & deactivate the Central Nervous System, & build a better neurological connection to the muscles. If you tend to neglect this, you’ll eventually begin to either fall apart or….fall apart.
Not once have I met someone who neglects this & feels great during their entire workout without any type of unnecessary pain occurring. This is usually due to constant stress being applied to the body, which causes more & more tension within the muscles over time. Not addressing that tension will eventually result in “active pulling” of the muscles throughout the day due to a muscular imbalance. These “pulls” will vary depending on your preferred methods of exercise. (Ex: Runners & cyclists usually tend to be very quad & hip flexor dominant which leads to tight hamstrings which results in knee pain.) Not addressing this imbalance & continuing to perform this style of training is only going to make the imbalance much larger & will take much longer to balance back out.
For those of us who use resistance weights.
One small technique we can implement into our training that will help maintain a better balance between our posterior & anterior chain is to train without shoes. That’s right.
Train without your shoes on.
This also means that you better not have stinky feet if you’d like to make any friends in the gym. When you begin training without your shoes, you remove this large crutch we wear all day long that prevents us to use our feet for movement. With an estimated 100,000–200,000 exteroceptors (nerves) in the sole of each foot, your feet are among the most nerve-rich parts of your body. Neglecting such an important body part such as these is simple ignorance in my opinion, but just like many other products we consume. Shoes have become a staple in our life & over use them tremendously, leaving us to become disconnected with our feet.
Our brain craves stimulation.
What happens when you tickle your feet? You probably kick around & maybe even laugh. This is because we rarely feel the sensation of our foot being touched without socks on. Just imagine the stimulation you get from rubbing those feet on the grass or how firmly planted you feel while walking.
No cushion, no added room for error.
Just foot to ground connection. This allows us to use all of our ankle stabilizers & really dive into our ankle mobility issues. While wearing shoes we have this added cushion that allows the ankle to “sink & play” which can lead to us relaxing the foot muscles more often than not.
To incorporate more periods of “shoe strike” into your daily regimen, I always recommend going on a 5 minute morning walk as soon as you wake up to really get the blood flowing & stimulating those nerves to wake the brain up more efficiently without the use of outside stimulants (caffeine).
Lifting Heavy Objects Without Shoes.
Just as I stated above, wearing shoes can lead to relaxation of the foot muscles more times than not. When we workout, we want to activate as many muscle groups as possible during an exercise. This will lead to a larger CNS activation which leads to a greater strength output.
More Strength, More Results.
On top of the added CNS activation, working out without shoes can also provide more of a “grounded” sensation. Which can help you distribute your overall weight during specific movements such as the deadlift, squat, row, bench press, & shoulder press. When distributing your weight in different areas, you recruit specific muscle patterns to achieve different results solely based off of your main purpose. For example, while performing a squat, if you decide to squat barefoot it would be much easier for you to distribute your weight towards the heels due to not having cushion underneath them & strengthen your overall ankle stability. Distributing your weight into your heels will help activate the posterior chain(glutes, hamstring), which seems to be a common issue nowadays.
Clean your feet tonight, go train tomorrow.
I hope you enjoyed the read & learned a little along the way. Stay tuned for other articles regarding health, fitness, nutrition, & general life.
If you want to follow a training & nutrition program designed just for you, go check out our Professional Ninja Training & Nutrition Packages.