Author Topic: Starting Over--Barefoot Training  (Read 2580 times)

Offline Josh Wright

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 574
  • Karma: +383/-15
  • A world is out there to explore!
    • View Profile
Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« on: October 13, 2009, 04:38:51 AM »
Hey everyone!

Well, I have decided to start over. Simply because, I feel like I have not trained as well as I should have in the beginning. When I first started Parkour I neglecting techniques that were important and now that has come back to haunt me. I know I cannot simply forgot everything I have learned, but I am wanting to take it from the beginning again.

The only problem is, I am confused on a lot of things. I am wanting to train barefoot, but I am concerned on how that will do on my ankles. I have very weak ankles and have been conditioning them a lot lately. Just wondering if it would be too hard to just jump right into going barefoot. Of course I am going to take A LOT smaller drops, but what about precisions? I could never land on the balls of my feet to begin with with shoes on, how is that going to go barefoot?

Also flips? Front flips (even on flat ground) put a lot of stress and pressure on my ankles. Of course I know my body better than anybody else, so I am the only one who can tell if I am doing too much or not, but I am just curious to the ones who train barefoot if they do any kind of flipping, ect and how long it took them to build up to this.

Also, I know this is a bit random, but what kind of warmups do you guys do? I tend to do the APK Warmup but I think that may neglect the ankles and feet a bit. I may be wrong, so feel free to correct me if I am.

So that's about it you guys. Sorry this topic is "all over the place." I have so many questions running through my head at the moment and school in about 20 minutes so I'm in a bit of a rush.

Just let me know all you barefoot trainers or just anyone in general that would like to give me advice on starting over. Oh ya, I am going to learn the roll properly this time.

-Take Care

Edit: Landing. I am still so confused on the proper way to land. I used to it the ground, crouch down very low (low enough to slap my hands on the ground, grass, ect) and then spring back up. However, I still feel this is incorrect.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009, 05:27:53 AM by Josh (Legend) Wright »

Offline Jim "Monkey" Parker

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 481
  • Karma: +24/-4
  • I am a leaf on the wind...Watch how I soar...
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 09:27:11 AM »
Hey Josh,
I've been trying to train almost exclusively barefoot for the past few months and I've discovered a few tips n tricks that might help:

1) Do some research on barefoot running and look at videos of barefoot running technique. The debate still seems to rage on exactly what the best step/stride is (heel strike vs mid foot vs forefoot) but everyone seems to agree that you need to relax, relax, RELAX! The softer, more relaxed your stride, the better your body seems to find it's best form.

1a) For a warmup, I always start with a 1/2-1 mile jog which gets the system warmed up. Then move on and warm up any muscles that don't feel ready.

1b) You will need to pay a lot more attention to the ground you are running over until your feet toughen up. You wouldn't believe the amount of pain a pebble smaller than a pea can cause until you put your entire weight upon it as you run past. Owie!

2) Barefoot training is THE best tool to teach proper landing techniques. If you botch a landing in shoes, the cushioning will give you a bit of a margin of error. Definitely not so going barefoot. If you don't land properly, you will know, and it will hurt! There are plenty of good landing tutorials out there..but the basic thing to remember is to use all of the shock absorbing properties of your body. That includes your foot. Land on the balls of your feet, dissipate force by bending at the forefoot, ankle, and knee; and either roll out, or let your hands come to either side of your body. Keep your chest proud (up) and looking forward. You should look a lot like a track runner in the ready position. Then spring up and continue your run.

3) Rails kinda hurt barefoot until you remember to Relax! You'll need to be extra shock-absorbent and really squat into your landings.
 
4) Remember, if the anthropological studies are correct, we evolved to be able to run down a deer all day, over uneven ground until it died of exhaustion. This was waaaay before Nike, KSwiss, Montrail, etc. Our bodies know what to do...we just need to get rid of the coffins we've forced onto our feet since right after we were born and rediscover how our feet were meant to work!

I haven't done any flips in bare feet (or in shoes really) so I can't speak to that. Once you've got your running and landing technique down give it a go on nice soft grass and let us know how it goes!
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
-Japanese Proverb

Offline Grayson

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 725
  • Karma: +25/-6
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 08:35:47 PM »
I very much encourage you too train in grass in barefoot before moving on the concrete.
I eat a lot of food.

Offline Charles Moreland

  • Global Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1095
  • Karma: +225/-24
    • View Profile
    • www.charlesmoreland.com
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 08:58:42 PM »
Precisions on rails are an advanced technique. Even more so without any further room for error which comes by way of foam. Mess up and land a precision on your arches and you'll be hurting. Please be as careful as possible while progressing in this method.

I would highly discourage flipping in a concrete environment. Maybe that's just me. Too much room for error.

Can't go wrong with simple QM or balancing. Sometimes I'll just set up a short circuit of very simple vaults and tic-tacs.


@Jim

I disagree that there is any confusion in the scientific world on proper stride. I wrote an entire article on this way back when which is stickied in the gen fitness forums.

1b) I need to re-iterate, and I really don't want to sound like a bringer of doom, but this is a very important point. You would be surprised by the impact a tiny pebble, stick, or shard of glass can have. In high school, a friend of mine was walking down the sidewalk and tripped. Instinctively, he rolled, only to have his C7 land directly on a small pebble, and he became paralyzed.

How often you train barefoot needs to be very well calculated. My normal stomping grounds is a breeding ground for hobos, druggies, and punks. There is broken glass, broken objects, and just random crap everywhere. While training barefoot is a great tool, and I do it every so often, given this factor, I cannot train barefoot all the time.

Also, please remove the quotations from your name   ;)

4) Remember, if the anthropological studies are correct, we evolved to be able to run down a deer all day, over uneven ground until it died of exhaustion. This was waaaay before Nike, KSwiss, Montrail, etc. Our bodies know what to do...we just need to get rid of the coffins we've forced onto our feet since right after we were born and rediscover how our feet were meant to work!


EDIT - I'd argue and say that humans were never "designed" nor evolved to chase down anything. Sprinting is ridiculously taxing on the body and cannot be sustained for very long at all. Running long distances to catch prey doesn't seem very practical either. If anything, we evolved to manipulate a stone and a stick, combine them, and propel them through the air to pierce our prey. Why sprint like a madman when you have this wonderful, freely movable shoulder that can javelin a spear through the air?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009, 09:04:57 PM by Charles Moreland »

Offline Josh Wright

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 574
  • Karma: +383/-15
  • A world is out there to explore!
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 04:35:03 AM »
So...much... information *nose bleed* to comprehend!

@Jim

1b.) I understand the ground I am running on is going to be a lot more of a "hazard" now. It's crucical that I pay a lot of attention to that. Stupid people in Alabama love to break beer cans over the grounds and such, so shards would be an issue. However, I am planning on staying in the grass before moving on. I am aware that this is just as dangerous though simply because I cannot see much what is in grass unless I inspect every square inch first

2.) Thank you very much for that load of information, sir :D

@Grayson

Don't worry, man! I will take it easy in grass before progressing! I may fiddle around a bit on concrete but not doing anything that I would feel uncomfortable with

@Charles

1b.) That's absolutely horrible :O! This actually scared me really bad. I am not going to do Parkour ever again, bye. Just kidding. That is truly horrible and I am sorry that that happened to your friend

Also, maybe I shouldn't train barefoot ALL the time. I am getting those silly Vibram Five Fingers or whatever they are called. I am not sure how well that would benefit towards my training but I am getting them for free so no complaning :)

Thanks for all the information guys! It's good to know I can post something and get a well educated response back. I like when one person replies but I want to hear other people opinion's on the matter as well.

Offline Shae Perkins

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1420
  • Karma: +78/-18
  • Texas tough
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2009, 07:01:18 AM »
I have been training about 95% barefoot for the last 1 and a half, maybe 2 years now and here is my take on the matter.

1.) The beauty of training barefoot is that you feel every single impact. While some shoe-dwellers think it's a hindrance because you can not jump quite as big, but I use it as an asset! Being able to feel every impact your feet make will help you out greatly with your technique, specifically with dropping and precisions as you happened to mention, for it hurts quite badly when you land wrong!

So drill the technique very safely, incrementally, and with much focus:)

2.) I am not much of a flipper, but I think I agree with Mr. Charles here. Flipping on concrete is dangerous... Exercise caution.

3.) I'm glad you asked about warming up the foot:D

I usually do the same thing I would do with my hands (wrist circles and clasp my hands many times) that I would with my feet- rotate the ankles, I like to write the alphabet, and clasp your toes many times.

And recently I have found that picking up small rocks and other objects and doing barefoot balance work will also do wonders:) Look into this.



This post was based off of my personal gatherings. Enjoy:)

Offline Jim "Monkey" Parker

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 481
  • Karma: +24/-4
  • I am a leaf on the wind...Watch how I soar...
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2009, 02:23:51 PM »
@ Charles...a little pushback here as I feel there is more information to put on the table:

First off, I agree that one should start very slowly when training barefoot. The first time I took my barefoot run outside my short <1 mi run and out onto the trail >3mi I was in a good deal of pain. Not from my feet mind you, but my calves were screaming! The same goes with Parkour. Doing smaller jumps/drops and at lower speed is the way to go. But it seemed like Josh was of that mindset already and Parkour is a journey of discovery...if he didn't know before his first training session, he would realize it afterwards!!!

Quote
I disagree that there is any confusion in the scientific world on proper stride. I wrote an entire article on this way back when which is stickied in the gen fitness forums.

I'm familiar with your article, I think it's a great study of running stride...and the stride you put forth is very close to the way I run barefoot. But I do believe the jury is still out. A lot of the research I've been doing is outside the realm of Parkour (trail running, distance, ultras) and the debate on stride (specifically where on the foot should be making contact with the ground) varies widely. It's my belief that it depends on your physical makeup and what feels right to you. (Except for folks who use a heel-strike stride..I think they're crazy!)  ;)
Quote
4) Remember, if the anthropological studies are correct, we evolved to be able to run down a deer all day, over uneven ground until it died of exhaustion. This was waaaay before Nike, KSwiss, Montrail, etc. Our bodies know what to do...we just need to get rid of the coffins we've forced onto our feet since right after we were born and rediscover how our feet were meant to work!


EDIT - I'd argue and say that humans were never "designed" nor evolved to chase down anything. Sprinting is ridiculously taxing on the body and cannot be sustained for very long at all. Running long distances to catch prey doesn't seem very practical either. If anything, we evolved to manipulate a stone and a stick, combine them, and propel them through the air to pierce our prey. Why sprint like a madman when you have this wonderful, freely movable shoulder that can javelin a spear through the air?

I didn't really flush out this thought fully....The key here is that we evolved as distance runners. That we are biologically capable of running prey to death by persistence...not speed. The first example of this I heard of was from the book "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougall. In it, there is a story about a tribe who still practices "Persistence Hunting". This is the process by which hunters are able to separate an animal from the pack and run it down over the course of 8-12 hours. Eventually, the animal is not able to keep its body temperature down and it dies from exhaustion.

I would argue it's certainly not the most efficient form of hunting...but it's likely what our ancestors used before weaponry and the fact remains that we still carry the same genetic material as those long-ago hunters. (Ability to sweat, a diagphram that's not restricted by our stride to pump air, etc) We are capable of doing it. It's just, since we don't have to run down Kudu to survive, we don't develop our bodies in that way.

For an overview on persistence hunting check out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wI-9RJi0Qo
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting
Of course, they're wearing shoes in the hunt  :P

Quote
Also, please remove the quotations from your name   ;)
Wait, are quotes a no-no? My old APK forum name was Monkey and I kept it in there when Mark asked us to use our real names because for a while no one knew who was who when we took the forum names away. I've been off the forums for a while..so maybe its a moot point. But it's still my nickname. I'll get rid of it if it's against forum rules, but would otherwise like to leave it in.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
-Japanese Proverb

Offline Derek broussard

  • Patas
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • bluewaterdreamz
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2009, 11:31:26 AM »
No one has talked about flipping barefoot.

  This is how I learned to flip (10yrs ago), barefoot in the grass.

 on the cement its about the same.. maybe a little more impact.

 however off objects seems to be my limit. I can not find a way to keep all the forces from punishing my feet.

Turbotrob

  • Guest
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2009, 01:27:49 PM »
Hey Josh it has benn a little over a month now since you said you were gonna start barefoot training. Wondering how it went for you because after a month my feet and calves were ripped and I could and still can walk over just about anything (2yrs later). Just seeing how you liked it or if you stayed shod?

-Trey

Offline Scott Steinmetz

  • Guenons
  • **
  • Posts: 64
  • Karma: +8/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2009, 01:30:49 PM »
Hey, just wanted to throw a little input in about ankle warm-ups and the like.

I've had a lot of issues with rolling / hurting my ankles and the tendons of my toes (when I go barefoot) in parkour, flips, and dance.

I used to wrestle and the ankle warm-up my team used was really simple but effective, if you find (or imagine) a plus sign on the ground, two-foot jump from one quadrant to another in a figure-eight motion while staying faced the same way. It comes down to just quickly jumping front to back, side to side, and back to front. I do this and ankle rolls until I feel comfortable with moving onto training / other warm-up.

Flips barefoot have never seemed worth it to me, there's a lot more force involved and it's easier to hurt yourself with a small mistake. However, so long as you stay on grass it's not much / any different from a gymnastics floor for landing, just make sure to check for any small rocks or acorns as they will HURT.
But for now just let it go
Don't run, don't rush
Just flow

Offline Gregg HIPK

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1644
  • Karma: +72/-4
  • Methode Naturelle
    • View Profile
    • HIPK fb group
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2009, 04:57:08 PM »
I strengthened my ankles, etc by barefoot walking on uneven terrain.

The 4 quadrant hop is only good if you do it both directions. Otherwise, you're not working each leg the same.

Here are some stupid barefoot things you can do if you want to get injured:
Climb sharp/ slippery/ wet surfaces. Big drops onto sharp rocks.
Try to keep up with someone much faster. Try to show off, or not look like a wuss.
Run without paying attention to the thorns in the grass ahead.

Try to learn from my painful experiences. Don't do those things ;D

Offline Casey Boatwright

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 889
  • Karma: +13/-5
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2009, 04:21:24 PM »
about the ankel thing (because im too sore to read all of the  posts )  but training barefoot will greatly strengthen your ankle and your foot       shoes are what weaken you feet,   im not here to debate the science or what not but the arch of your foot is supposed to take impact, not be pushed up on to weaken it, lol but yeah all for the barefoot training!!!!! woot! kick ass tho!
You live a filtered life.-
Everyone dreams of changing the world, I only want to change it back.-
In Myth, God Is Force.

Offline Justin "Rabbit" Oakes

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 627
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • I Dont Just Do Parkour.. I Live It
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Over--Barefoot Training
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2009, 01:15:47 PM »
i LOVE the idea of training barefoot! I have been doing this ALOT lately working on flow and soft feet (being as quiet as possible) it helps me so much!
Justin Oakes - PKFR - 3Flow Freerunning