Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Workin’ Out Barefoot!-

The whiteboard is in effect!

The whiteboard is in effect!

Just a short post today, because i’m about to get to work on setting up a second blog that will be devoted to my triathlon training.  Yes, i’ll be linking it to my main blog, so no worries for those of you who are interested in what my own training is like in preparation for The Austin Triathlon!

LOTS going on…more this week regarding upcoming guest blog posts, magazine interview, etc!

As many of you know, I am a BIG fan of working out barefooted.  I do my total-body workouts at home, and most of the time, i’m barefoot.  I have wanted to get a pair of Vibram Five Fingers for months now, but still haven’t gotten ’em.  Why?  I don’t do any total-body workouts outdoors at the moment b/c the heat is unbearable.  Yes, i’m doing tri training outside when I can, but i’ve also got indoor accomodations for swimming, biking, and running if need be.  Gotta be smart!  Anyhow, I typically run in my Nike Free 5.0’s and love ’em!

Why am I bringing up barefoot training today, you ask?  Well, my 7:30am client, Kay, worked out barefoot for the first time this morning.  I’m excited about this because she already knows my “slant” on barefoot training and already noticed a difference as she exercised.  For those of you who may not know a lot about training barefoot, in a nutshell, shoes interfere with our bodies’ natural proproceptive abilities.  Shoes cause the body to compensate, which of course isn’t a good thing.  Training barefoot rocks because you can “feel” the floor.  This always brings me back to my gymnastics days.  You see, in gymnastics, the ability to “feel” the floor and especially the balance beam is very important.  Watch any gymnast perform the simplest of tricks on the beam, and you’ll see a ton of foot action.  Gymnasts develop extremely strong feet and toes from gripping the beam, as well as constantly pointing the toes.  Mark my words – I feel gymnasts have some of the best physiques in the sporting world.  Why?  The emphasis on bodyweight training, body control, and balance.  No one muscle group is overutilized.  A lack of mobility is obviously not an issue.

Wow…boy, did I go off on another road in talking about gymnastics…and my main point was to discuss barefoot training!

Okay, back to Kay’s workout this morning.  What she noticed was that she felt more in control of her body.  Go figure, right? 🙂  What I noticed was this, especially on tri-planar lunges, but also that pesky little right foot/ankle issue she has seemed to be less of a problem.  You see, her right foot wants to externally rotate & pronate, and yes, I realize all the possible reasons as well as corrective strategies for this.  We have really been working to iron-out this issue, and it’s gotten a lot better.  Without shoes, though, the issue seemed less obvious.  From now on, i’m thinking Kay’s new nickname will be “Barefoot Boxing Babe,” as she got to hrow a bunch of combos at the focus mitts this morning as well! 😀  Pretty soon, Laila Ali will be getting a run for her money!

So…stay tuned for more regarding Kay’s adventures in training barefoot, as well as upcoming info regarding my next “outdoor fitness experience” here in Baton Rouge!


16 responses

  1. Nancy Lockwood

    I totally agree, I only workout barefoot. Now if I’m walking at lunch at work i will wear my fitted tennis shoes. If I had a choice I would never wear shoes!!

    June 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    • Uncle Nancy is the BOMB!
      Yay for free feet!!! 😀

      PS you are going to be an upcoming success story!

      June 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

  2. I totally agree with you! I’ve been working out barefoot for about 8 month’s now. No more twisting my ankles, sore knees, whatever. I can jump and bounce around all day without any problem compared to when I wore my sneaks. Good stuff!

    June 30, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    • Thanks, Josie!
      And that’s awesome! Shoes suck! You’re probably much more agile than your friends, too! 🙂
      Yours in Health,

      June 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

  3. I definitely agree with barefoot training. I tend to slip around a little on the carpet, but you’re right about how shoes compensate and take away from the exercise. Great post by the way. Straight from the SUPER FITPRO mind….


    June 30, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    • You rock, Shawn!
      Superheroes unite!!! 🙂
      I’m not gonna lie…I love barefoot training but from time to time when i’m doing lunges, the lean bottoms of my feet kinda get cranky…but all is good! I LOVE single-leg barefoot work! Kettlebells barefoot is the way to go! Barefoot rocks!
      Yours in Health,

      June 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

  4. DDRdiva

    I do kettlebells and weight lifting barefoot whenever I’m at home, and DDR in socks, except on a machine–I have a pair of old blown out Nike casual shoes for that. I see kids barefoot on the machines all the time, though! I wish the gym would let us go barefoot but I suppose hygiene is an issue. I was at the gym today doing MTM in my old Nikes and I had a terrible time balancing on the rotation lunges–I just wasn’t used to wearing shoes.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    • Shoes are the devil! 🙂
      How in the heck does the gym allow kiddos on the machines without shoes? Gyms crack me up! One time, I saw this chick with a “free pass” trying out the machines…wandering aimlessly through the weight room…she had on open-toe shoes that had a slight heel…I just had to shake my head in amazement. I can see the need for Vibram Five Fingers if you’re going to the gym & wanna train barefoot! Yep, barefoot is where it’s at…brings back memories of my gymnastics days…I was immune to it, but my dad always said it smelled like feet when you walked into the gym! 😀

      July 1, 2009 at 6:48 am

  5. Julie

    I’ve only just discovered the wonderful world of barefoot training. I did just buy a pair of Chucks to use in the gym if I need to. Barefoot training rocks!

    July 1, 2009 at 6:18 am

    • Woohoo!
      Go Julie!
      Good stuff in store for you! 😀

      July 1, 2009 at 6:48 am

  6. dj

    I actually red a great article in outdoor magazine about the benefits of working out barefoot. Check it out –

    July 1, 2009 at 8:54 am

    • Great article, DJ! Thanks for sharing!
      I especially like this:
      “It dawned on me that while I’ve long heaped attention on my core, arms, legs, and shoulders, I’d neglected the foundation of the entire system. Strong feet provide essential balance, power, and speed for a variety of sports, not just running. ”
      yay for barefootedness!

      July 1, 2009 at 11:50 am

  7. I’ve been working out barefoot since late last year except for putting on a pair of extremely flat soled shoes when I need some traction for an exercise.

    I’ve suffered from mild pain in the sole of one foot since pregnancy (almost three years now) and going barefoot for working out has not exacerbated it at all.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    • Go, T, go! 🙂

      Cushy running shoes may LOOK cool, but our feet (and the rest of our bodies) don’t think they’re cool at all! 🙂

      July 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

  8. Zog

    I do most of my workout outdoors, but I’ve got a couple pairs of FiveFingers. It seems to me they would retain most of they benefits of being barefoot as far as strength, balance, perception, etc, but they are super grippy, so if trying to do anything where you slide your feet, I’d skip them, and if you want grippy, then they would be a huge improvement over barefoot. I put up my impressions of the Vibrams here.

    July 2, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    • Hey Zog!
      Thank you! Great advice about the FiveFingers! Your blog post is awesome and full of info & I appreciate your perspective on ’em! I really dig the fact that you’ve run in ’em in sand. What a great combo!
      Have a great weekend!

      July 4, 2009 at 9:15 am

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