The feet and why aligning them is key to the whole body!

My story that led to learning about the truth of training the feet, legs and whole body! In 1994 i tore my left knee up, thinking it was just a fluke accident when playing basketball. It was to worsen drastically over the next 3 years to the point i could not stand in one place for more than a minute or two, or run and jump much at all...even sitting brought me serious pain...then the back pain began and got worse than the knee. Since no one in LA could help me much i just thought it was my lot  in life to have a bad back. Until i met Roger Eischens in the summer of 1997, immediately i realized this man knew more about the body than anyone i had ever met and that the depth of his knowledge was vast. After intense knee and back pain for 3 years with no relief, Roger said he could fix it pretty easy, despite my skepticism i met with him and within 2 minutes i knew he was right, relief of the pain. With this new knowledge i jumped in 110% and learned from this great man as much as i could, annoying him with question after question:) One of the biggest lessons Roger taught me was about the feet, to let them spread, to do what they do...naturally. He said to immediately get rid of my tight expensive shoes and replace them with looser and 1.5-2 sizes too big of shoes that had no arch at all....i did and noticed immediately that my feet began to wake up, to spread, to work! I felt all the muscles in my feet i had never noticed before begin to work, my arches of the foot and toes especially. This is in 1997 now, in todays world everyone and their sister has a pair of vibrams but Roger was actually trying to get NIKE to have a similar shoe about 30 years ago....better late than never i guess, but now they have the nike frees:)

But Roger explained that the foot will naturally find it's way, and when it does the rest of the legs and therefore the body will be in a better position for all other acitivities. Now this transition takes time, but the sooner one gets on this path the better. There is much more to it though than just going barefoot, the combination of going barefoot and Rogers Eischens Yoga really activated my feet to another level fast...barefoot will wake them up, Eischens Yoga will get them to reach towards their proper position/alignment. That is the key for injury prevention and high level performance. Get the feet to wake up and spread and then to get them to reach/extend to their best natural position.
So how does one do this?
  1. Get rid of your tight high arched shoes TODAY
  2. Walk barefoot around the house STARTING TODAY
  3. Do the Eischens Yoga beginner sequence (for 30 days straight) BAREFOOT:)
  4. Get some low or no arch shoes 1.5 to 2 sizes too big for you...yes that is true:) ASAP
  5. Begin to use these shoes for all daily activities and non dynamic workouts. Very important here that you let your feet adapt to going barefoot and NOT overstress them too quickly...so 1 month min. of basic workouts with big shoes and wear your old shoes for sprints, plyos or bball games, etc. 30 TO 60 DAYS HERE...YOU SHOULD NOTICE FEET SPREADING  to bigger sizes of shoe as well over time! I went from 12s to 14s in a year and a half!! Trust me on this one, i went and played bball on cement and dunking in sandals and my arches were killing me:) hahaha Lesson learned the hard way:)....again:) haha
  6. Add to your daily EY work by adding the Eischens Yoga Warrior sequence now 1 time a week, 1 x thru (24 minutes!)
  7. Begin to jog slowly and doing light speed or plyo work in loose shoes/vibrams! BIG NOTE that alot of people mistakenly do, is when they begin running barefoot or in vibrams is that they run on their toes...this WILL make your calves hurt alot and you may strain them or tear your achilles....RUN on the front half of your foot with heel almost or slightly touching the ground on each foot strike....still running on the front of foot here...just let the heel almost touch. DAYS 60 TO 90....or come to our intensive course and learn it from me:)
  8. After 90 days of working your feet and waking them up you can now begin to run and even jump with pretty good confidence with your VFF's or loose shoes or barefoot. Your feet will tell you if they are not ready as they will hurt a bit in the arch or calves, so be smart and listen to them and take more time with the previous steps...walk first, jog second, sprint third, plyos fourth.
  9. Begin adding Eischens Yoga Warrior sequence 1 x week but 2 times thru now (48 minutes!!!)
  10. The final step is to train and live with as little arch support as possible so barefoot, VFF's, Sanuks or chuck taylors (loose). All are great shoes that let your feet work, once you go barefoot you have a hard time going back too...you'll start to hate wearing any shoes as you then begin to see how they confine your feet and thus hurt the rest of your body too. So letting the feet open up and then working them towards better alignment with Eischens Yoga will make your entire body healthier than you can imagine, the key is letting the feet do what they do:) 
by following this simple sequence you will adapt your feet to the rigors of our barefoot MBG training, sprinting, plyos and more all barefoot. Your feet will be much much stronger and thus much less likely to become injured and they'll also make other pains in the body lesson over time too.
Understand this though, it might have taken 20 years to get your feet where they are today, be patient following the above steps to adapt your feet to going barefoot, it's gonna take some time to get them healthier again:)
If you all like this please tell your friends too, i'm doing my best to help the fitness world move towards a more natural way of training and this is the first (barefoot:) step!!:)
appreciate it my friends,
jon

Comments

  1. Posted on behalf of Kit (who can't post for some reason..):

    Hello Jon,

    Great article, and you have found very similar things as we have over here in the Monkey Gym in Australia. May I add just one tip to your excellent article: learn to run gently, and *quietly*. If you can do this, all the other biomechanics fall out naturally.

    I have been wearing FFs exclusively since 2004; and have noticed similar amazing changes in the body; in alignment; and in movement elegance. Most of my students use FFs, too, these days.

    You may care to check out an article I wrote years ago on this:

    http://www.pandf.com.au/comments.php?id=45_0_16_0_C

    and here:

    http://www.pandf.com.au/comments.php?id=41_0_16_0_C

    I have found that it is essential to walk and eventually run on undulating and rough terrain for maximum effects. For example, if you have pronating ankles and only walk on flat surfaces, whether bare-footed on in the FFs, in some people, not much changes. But if you walk on gravel, or pebbles on a hard base, the foot absolutely has to wake up, and a decent arch will start to form.

    cheers and thanks, and I hope we can meet one day

    Kit

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  2. Awesome article!

    I've noticed this using Nike Free's and doing the majority of my lifting (I still enjoy heavy deads and squats) barefoot or in Chucks. Actually all of my duty boots (Law Enforcement) now HURT and I recently told my wife I think my feet grew...terribly pinched by the end of a shift. This was fortuitous timing as I'm searching for new duty boots as I can't get away with VFF"s when executing a search warrant ;)

    Have you guys had any experience with boots made on the Munson Last? Corcoran jump boots and LL Bean engineer boots are the only ones still made that I can find but the last used is supposed to allow the toes to spread naturally. Might be worth checking out for those in my situation.

    Thanks again,

    EM

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