Fitness and Wellness Class: Talk to the Foot, Powered by Vibram®

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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In this episode learn why it’s important to train your whole body from head to toe by helping your clients reconnect with their feet.
You’ll walk away (no pun intended!) knowing how to customize training programs to improve balance, agility, and functionality.
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Tyler Allan:
Hi, everyone, welcome to talk to the foot seminar about all things barefoot, barefoot lifestyle, barefoot facts and different ways to incorporate barefoot training into your workout. I'd like to thank NSM for hosting. And hopefully if you're watching this, you have a pair of Vibram Five Fingers that we've sent you for reference later on. I'm going to jump right into our introduction of who I am. My name is Tyler Allen. I've been working with Vibram for about nine years since 2011. And all sorts of different roles. My first role was in customer service. So I basically spent the majority of those four years talking to all sorts of different people about the Barefoot lifestyle about transitioning into a minimalist shoe, and all sorts of things along the minimalist movement. Luckily, I was able to work some other positions within the company in sales and marketing. And through that experience, I was able to connect with countless barefoot professionals, barefoot enthusiasts, and attended all sorts of seminars and speeches on what minimalist lifestyle can do for us for our bodies. And for our mind. I've comfortable saying that I fit a little over 1000 people into Vibram, five fingers. So that's really where my expertise comes in talking to people about their foot ailments, and about improving their overall foot health. So appreciate you all for joining. And I just want to say that I'm happy you're here I've been a barefoot minimalist guy for a long time, I've been known as the toe shoe guy for most of my adult life. So I'm hoping to inspire you to either go barefoot or try a minimalist shoe, and also encourage your clients to pursue that as well. So quickly, you can see my feet on this first slide here, this is my way of introducing myself to you. These are my feet. And we're going to familiarize ourselves with our own feet later in the session. So hopefully you learned something about your own feet and how to incorporate barefoot lifestyle into your daily routine. So from here, we'll go to the agenda slide. Okay, so the here's our agenda for the seminar. The first bullet you'll see is a barefoot education. This is going to be some objective facts and about the anatomy of the foot. We're going to talk about foot health, ways to self care and strengthen. That's our second bullet, where we're going to do some self massage, we're going to do some exercises specific to our bare feet and lower legs. And then the third part is going to be about barefoot and minimalist footwear. If you're looking to get into this footwear, what you should be looking for in terms of the aspects and the features of the shoes. So at this time, I'd encourage you to take your shoes off your socks off if you haven't done so already. And we're going to hop into our barefoot education slide. Okay, so this is starting, we starting off here with the undisputable foot. And what we mean by that is these are the undisputable facts about our bare feet. So if you're still on the slide, you'll see an image to the right, that goes over four specific things that we're going to talk about. The first one is number of bones in each foot, a lot of textbooks and bad anatomy that you look out.

Unknown Speaker 4:16
Out in the ether, I would say a lot of them stop at the ankles and they don't really talk too much about the feet. So 26 bones in each foot times two is over 50 bones in our feet. And we have roughly over 200 bones in our body. So a quarter of our bones in the human body are in our feet. And this leads us to our second fact which is about the joints. We have 33 joints in each foot. Hopefully these things seem like really interesting and cool to explore. A lot of us don't really think about how complex our feet are. But when you have 26 bones and 33 joints in each foot. There's a lot to be moved and bent and flex within that. So when we talk about going barefoot giving our feet free range of motion, we're gonna utilize all those things. The third fact here is about the number of ligaments, muscles and tendons, we have over 100 in our feet and lower legs. And just like any other part of the body, these muscles, ligaments and tendons are meant to be worked, they're meant to be utilized and strengthened and stretched out. So we're going to do a little bit, a little bit of that coming up. And the fourth facts that we have here is that we have hundreds of 1000s of sensory receptors on the bottom of our feet. Why is this important? As the name suggests, sensory receptors are providing information from the ground from our feet, up through our chain up to our brain on how to move. So you can think of simple examples like stepping on something that's super hot, maybe you go on to asphalt or some really hot sand, your feet tell you this is really hot, we need to either put something protective on or we need to move as quickly as we can, away from the scenario, you might step on something smooth versus sharp. These are, these are ways for our feet to help communicate to the rest of our body on how to move efficiently. So we're gonna move on to what's in a healthy foot, when we take our shoes off, hopefully already barefoot at this point already. But when you take your shoes off, and you look down at your feet, we're going to talk about some things to think about. So visually, first thing a lot of people see is their skin. Right? So you look down, you might have really pasty feet like me because they don't see the sun too much of usually in five fingers. But is your skin healthy? Is it hydrated? Do you have callous skin and some spots where traditional shoes are rubbing against a part of your foot in a certain way. You're looking at the overall health of your skin, it's kind of the first thing to look at. The second thing that you can look at is the shape of your foot. Most reference the PowerPoint slide, if we can get that back up for a moment, there's another image on the bottom there that shows two sets of feet. You can always revisit this afterwards if you can't see it right now. But basically, the left pair of feet are have been in traditional and close toed shoes their whole life. And you'll notice that this is an extreme version. But these feet have taken on the exact shape of the shoe, which shows that how our feet can change over time. Depending on if we're barefoot are for wearing traditional shoes. The image on the right is someone who's lived pretty much their whole life barefoot, you notice that the toes are more spread out. And if you draw a line from the heel to the big toe, it's a nice straight line. So healthy feet are more of a natural foot shape is what you want. If you feel like your toes are squished together, it's not necessarily the greatest thing in terms of overall foot health.

Unknown Speaker 7:50
The other thing to think about in terms of foot health is Do you have any foot ailments? We'll talk about things like plantar fasciitis later on, do you have numbness in any of your toes? Is your dexterity there are you able to move your toes and wiggle your toes around will do some of those exercises and hopefully some will be a little bit harder than others. But this is a good example of Can I wiggle my toes? Do I have good feeling the shape of the foot and the skin. So those are some things to consider in terms of Do you have healthy feet right now or not. And the third bullet point for this slide is going to be barefoot benefits. So I'm going to break this down into a few different categories starting with cardio and running specifically. Essentially, when you're barefoot, or whether you're wearing shoes or not, there's two ways to strike the ground. There's heel striking, and there's four foot or mid foot striking in terms of minimalism and going barefoot forefoot striking is what we promote. And the reason being is we don't have a lot of shock absorption and cushioning when it comes to our heels. Not really designed to strike with our heels. So similarly, where if you were to do jumping jacks, whether you're doing it in shoes or not, if you were to do it on your heels, you can hear that vibration, there's there's really no shock absorption happening. But what we all do instinctively, regardless of being in shoes are barefoot. So we do it on the balls of our feet. And it's a lot more efficient. You won't hear that vibration and it should feel a lot better on your joints and muscles. So when we run barefoot or in the minimalist shoe like five fingers, heel striking becomes incredibly painful, because you don't have that traditional cushioning and padding there that you would get from other shoes. So your body immediately kind of figures out that heel striking is not great for our for our stride, and we switched over to more of a mid foot strike. So that's a pretty easy thing to talk about with your clients in terms of cardio and running, is when you go to minimal issues. You want to stay away from heel striking I would say just stay away from heel striking regardless of the shoe you wear. As a note.

Unknown Speaker 10:06
The second thing we'll talk about is going to the gym. A lot of you are fitness professionals, you're teaching people how to do lunges and squats and deadlifts, all sorts of things like that. So there's two ways that I want to describe going barefoot or in a minimalist footwear for going to the gym. The first thing has to do with our kinetic chain on how when we wear some type of shoes with arch support, and cushioning and heel lift, it will throw different parts of our kinetic chain off balance. So as an example, if you were to be barefoot or stand barefoot, at a nice neutral position, and you were going to go think of having shoes on, basically, your heels lift off the ground a little bit, that's going to throw your knees forward, and then the rest of your body is going to compensate. So everything starts with the feet. And when you do these exercises such as the squat, you might think back to the famous bodybuilders in the 70s and 80s, who were at Gold's Gym. And they were either barefoot or in us, you know, had socks on. Maybe some type of wrestling shoe at the time was was fairly minimal. But they figured that out that you wanted more connection with the grounds for enhance balance and proprioception. Another way to think about this is if you were to do a push up, a standard push up, most of us if not all of us, when we go down, our fingers are nice and spread out. As we contact the ground. We don't keep our fingers and kind of crammed together like this, like most traditional shoes, we spread them out, for better, better ground field. So the same thing with our feet. If you allow your toes to spread, you allow them to grip. It's a it's a much more natural way of moving rather than having a shoe that kind of throws things out of whack. The third character category I'll talk about is the one that's most obvious. It's low impact fitness, like yoga and Barre classes Pilates. You can even think about surfing, most of these activities are already done barefoot, are taught barefoot and are practice barefoot, for good reason. you're utilizing all those sensory receptors, giving your feet free range of motion really can affect the body greatly in terms of balance. Cranfield, proprioception, how we should be moving, how we should be thinking about balance. So that's kind of the easy one. And then there's two last things I want to talk about in terms of barefoot benefits. One is that we have this fascia that covers our whole body. So I'm sure you know, and the plantar fascia underneath is something that should really be stimulated as much as possible. Think of wearing some arch support, or even a cast on your shoe or on your foot rather, over a long period of time, what tends to happen is those muscles tend to atrophy. They stopped working, that leads to all sorts of different issues. But simply going barefoot walking on different surfaces, especially surfaces that are a little bit irregular. Think of gravel, think of even dirt and grass outside. When you're walking on these materials and surfaces barefoot, you're stimulating all that fascia, you're getting good blood flow in your feet. These things are really nice. It's almost like a self massage. In a way. You'll know a lot of people that have bathmats, and certain things that are made of smooth stones and all sorts of fun little things to feel it's for me, it's just a fun thing to go barefoot and feel different surfaces, but you're also getting that kind of massage aspect, which is really nice. And the last thing I'll talk about, it's certainly personal to me, but I have heard it over the years. going barefoot is a very primal activity. It's a way to connect with nature. So especially if you can get outside of your home, in an environment where you know, you check for glass and you check for different things as you pervade the land. going barefoot is hopefully a way for you to connect with your roots, so to speak. Like I said, For me, it's been very therapeutic process to be able to kick my shoes off in certain scenarios, or even wear five fingers on a light hike or trail. Feeling all the sticks and stones and twigs under your feet is a really rewarding experience. It might take a little bit of transition for you to get there, but I encourage you to do so doesn't need to be a workout activity but feel free to kick your shoes off and walk around barefoot as much as you can. So that about wraps up where we are for barefoot education. And now we're going to move on to the next slide.

Unknown Speaker 14:47
So this is when if you haven't gotten barefoot already, you want to get barefoot for this. We're going to do some self care with our feet. These are going to be some exercises that you can do on a daily basis. I personally like to do it right after I get out of the shower in the morning, I do spend about a minute on each foot. And then once at night, this is really going to help with the recovery process as well. Regardless if you're in minimal issues or barefoot. Just overall, everything is connected. And one of the examples that I'm going to prompt you with right now, before we get started, is I want everyone to do a simple Forward Bend. So we're basically going to look to touch our toes, and whether you can touch your toes, put your hands flat on the floor, or only get to your knees, it doesn't really matter for this, I just want you to make a note of where you can comfortably reach. So if I were to bend down, hopefully my mic stays on. I get to about here comfortably without really trying. And I have about half my knuckles on the ground. And so just make a note of where you are, maybe it's your fingertips, maybe it's your whole palm. And maybe it's a distance away from your toes. But what we're gonna do is we're going to do some self massage with our feet. And then we're going to check again and see that change at all. So I'm going to take a seat here, feel free to join me in this process, we're going to do some self massage, if you can't quite see my feet, the verbal instructions should be enough for you to to follow along. So here we go.

Unknown Speaker 16:26
So the first thing that you're going to do is you're going to take one foot, give it a little wipe if there's any debris on there.

Unknown Speaker 16:35
And the first thing that we're going to do is we're going to stretch our toes. I'm really hoping that for a lot of you, this is the first time that you've done this because it's a nice aha experience, that our toes can be stretched out and that it's going to help pay benefits towards other activities. So what we're going to do is we're going to take our big toe and our second toe, and we're going to splay them like this. So basically grab kind of grabbing all the smaller toes and pulling them down. And I'm pulling my big toe up. So I'm going to refer to this as kind of forward and back motion. Okay, we're just going to work our way down the foot to our last two toes. And feel free to go at your own pace. I'm just going to work on my left foot for this for this seminar, but feel free to switch back and forth between your feet at your own pace at your own comfort level. Hopefully, you can feel a good stretch, maybe pull them just a little bit past not for discomfort, but just to get a good stretch. And just hold each one for a few seconds. Again, this is something that you can do pretty easily every day, it doesn't need to take too long. But after we finish these, we're gonna do another Forward Bend. And hopefully you'll notice that just by stretching your feet and your toes out, it actually works its way up the body.

Unknown Speaker 18:17
Okay, so we've done the forward and back with our toes, the next thing we're going to do is we're going to stretch them almost by pulling them apart sideways. So if you can see, not sure if you can, but my big toe and my second till I'm basically pulling them to the side. It's a little bit different of a stretch than the back and forth. You can kind of mix in some back and forth if you'd like while you have that nice splay. And once again, we're just going to move down the foot. And like I said, the timing of all these massages and exercises. This is just to show you some different things but you can create your own regimen on how long you do it and the pressure you apply.

Unknown Speaker 19:16
Okay. So we're just about there. Feel free to revisit any that felt a little bit tighter than others. One thing that's almost for certain is that your pinky toe is not as flexible as everything else. And you'll notice that if you've ever tried five fingers on for the first time, the pinky toe is the one that has a little bit of separation anxiety, something we've said over the years, just the way to kind of convey that your pinkie might not be super flexible, and it doesn't want to separate into its own toe pocket. So if people are having trouble fitting into their five fingers, with that Pinky, I recommend them using their hands and stretching the toes out, it's really going to help. Okay. So the next thing that we're gonna do, we're just calling fascia stimulation. So once again, this is our, our area for plantar fascia. And what we're going to do is we're going to just make a little bit of a fist, and we're going to use our knuckles, kind of, you can do circular motions, and all sorts of different patterns. But we're going to rub all the different parts of our bottom of our foot. So we're going to, you know, get into the toes. If you find a spot that's calloused, that might feel nice to give yourself a little massage. This one might feel a little bit ticklish at first, especially in the arch of the foot. Something that you kind of get over the more that you do it. But feel free to go at your own pace and your own pressure. Just a nice light maneuver on your foot is going to feel pretty nice. I was referencing how you when you shampoo, a lot of people don't think about this, but you're actually giving your scalp a nice little massage in a way when you're shampooing your hair. So the same thing with our feet, it's really nice to stimulate this fascia, it's going to help strengthen it, and you're going to get some increased blood flow, things like that. So you're doing everything from the heel. So the arch of the foot, then what I call the landing pad in here between the ball, the foot and the bottom of the pinky, and then to your toes.

Unknown Speaker 21:54

Unknown Speaker 21:58
so that's nice and stimulating. So the next thing we're going to do is we're just calling it an arch release. So we're going to focus a little bit more, get a little bit more pressure on there by using our elbow. And you can continue to use your knuckles if you like, I like to use my elbow because I feel like it get a little bit more leverage when I want to apply some pressure. So we're going to keep that foot right where it is, we're going to use our opposing elbow. And we're going to start by making some circular motions in the arch of the foot.

Unknown Speaker 22:33
Again, this one is at your own pressure at your own pace. As you start to move your elbow up out of the arch into the landing pad where the ball the foot is, you're probably feel your elbow kind of go in between some joints, and things like that, you might hear some cracks, some fluid moving, that's okay.

Unknown Speaker 23:01
If you have never done this, hopefully this feels somewhat positive, hopefully feels like a nice little massage. And what's great about this is it's free, you can do it as much as you want. And like I said, it really does help with recovery if you're transitioning into a more of a minimalist footwear lifestyle. Okay, so again, at your own pace, feel free to switch, switch everything. The next thing I'd like to do, I'm not sure if you can pause this while you're watching it. But if you don't have a ball in front of you, if you can go grab a golf ball or lacrosse ball, you can also use a water bottle or anything that's going to kind of roll around a bit but you want it to be firmer rather than softer. So you can do you can do this sitting or standing. I'll just continue to sit because the last one we're going to do is sitting as well. But basically what you want to do is you're just going to gently roll your foot on that ball, or the water model or whenever you have to make these nice, small circular motions

Unknown Speaker 24:15
on the heel,

Unknown Speaker 24:20
the arch of the foot and you'll see your toes doing different things as you as you roll your foot forward and back. Which means everything's connected is really cool. And then feel free to do it in your toes where you're kind of stretching your toes around them around the ball rather.

Unknown Speaker 24:54
All right.

Unknown Speaker 24:55
We'll do this for a few more seconds. Feel free to switch feet if you'd like. Like I said, I'm only doing mainly one side, one foot, but obviously, any of these exercises should be done to keep balanced to do it in both feet.

All right.

And we're gonna move on to the last thing for our little footcare session. So this one you can sit back down for if you're not sitting already. And what we're gonna do here wearing pants, feel free to roll your pant leg up, we're gonna focus a bit on the Achilles Achilles heel. So what I want you to do is take both your hands like this, your thumbs are at the bottom, I want you to put your hands on your leg like this. And what we're going to do is we're going to gently squeeze our thumbs. And we're going to move our hands up and down the leg. So we're going to start with the thumbs down near the top of the heel. And we're just going to gently squeeze, and move our hands up, eventually work into some of the calf muscles, which is nice. And one thing that I point out to people, which is kind of cool, is that towards the bottom, if you squeeze your Achilles heel, you'll notice some of your toes bend forward. And just another another example of how everything's connected. All right. So hopefully, you get a chance to do that on both legs. And now what we're going to do is we're going to check that Forward Bend again. So remember where where you were able to bend to last time. And without trying too hard, I want you to do the same thing I keep in mind, we haven't stretched our hamstrings, we haven't stretched our back, we haven't stretch our arms to be able to reach further our shoulders. So go ahead and take that forward bed. Now without much trying, I can actually get to my next set of knuckles. Whereas before I could only get to this set. Now I have kind of my fists on the ground. So hopefully you're able to go a little bit further than you were before. And that's just by stretching and stimulating our feet and a little bit of the Achilles and calf. So keep in mind, our feet are connected to everything else. And some, some light massage, especially for recovery can be a really nice, really nice thing to add into your routine. So from here, we're going to go into some foot strengthening exercises or foot training. Okay, so for this continue to be barefoot is best. And what we're going to do is some dexterity exercises. So you can stand with about both shoulder width apart in terms of your feet. And the first thing we're going to do is called toe taps. So what we're going to do is we're going to pick all of our toes up our heel and our balls of our feet are going to stay on the ground, but the toes are going to rise up off the ground. So we're basically going to lift all of our toes up, hold for a few seconds, put all of our toes down all of our toes up all of our toes down. This isn't something that you would typically do just their normal occurrence. So might feel a little bit weird.

Okay, the next thing we're going to do within toe taps is we're going to lift all of our toes up, and then we're going to try and just tap our big toes on the ground. So if you can see my feet, I'm going to be at a nice neutral position. I'm going to lift all my toes up and then I'm just going to push my big toes down. We'll hold it for about two, three seconds. And then I'm going to lift up again.

Hopefully, you can do this one. They're going to get a little bit more challenging as we go along. But the big toe is a nice one to start with that we're going to incorporate the pinky toe. So what we're going to do is we're going to do all toes up, and then we're just going to try and tap just our pinky toes. Now, what's most likely to happen if you've never done this before, is your second and third toe coming from your pinkie in probably going to want to follow that pinky and touch the ground. All you're trying to do is isolate the pinkies. So all toes up pinkies down toes up, pinkies down, whenever you need to come to arrest, with nice even weight distribution on your feet. The next toe tapping exercise we're gonna do is we're gonna alternate between the big foot, the big toe, and the pinky toe. So let's start all those up, big toe down, big toe up, Pinky, pinky toe, down, pinky toe up. So big toe up pinky toe.

Eventually, you would get to the point where you try and do the other individual toes, it's really hard, I can tell you from trying, but these two are attainable, especially after a few short sessions, you're able to kind of control your pinky and your big toe a little bit easier. Okay, and I want to do one last toe tapping exercise, this is going to be holding our big toe and our pinky down while the other three toes are up. So if we lift all of our toes up, we're going to try and put our big toe down, and our pinky toe down at hold that, that's going to be hopefully you'll fear, feel it in the arch of your feet. And then release. On do that about two more times, just so get the feeling of it. So big toe down, pinky toe down, the rest of them are up off the ground, hold for a few seconds, and then release this one to stop. If you can't do it, that's totally fine. But like I said, the pinky toe and the big toes are usually the ones that kind of become accustomed with after a few sessions.

All right.

So that's starting to wake up our individual toes with some dexterity, the next thing we're going to move towards is just calling it forward lean. So if you have your feet, same shoulder width apart roughly. And I want you to think about having nice, even balanced throughout your feet. A lot of us do this without realizing it, especially if we stand all day in certain in certain professions, like medical doctors, or nurses or hairdressers. And people that stand all day, a lot of them will stand a little bit out of sync, they'll have a lot of weight on their heels, and have a lot of weight towards the front of their foot what you want. And a nice neutral position is to have everything even within your feet. So all of your toes are touching, all landing pad and your heel are all touching the ground, what you're going to do is you're just going to slightly lean forward. And as the more that you lean forward, the more your toes are going to start to grab. If you're on a nice surface pad like I have right here, you should be able to see and feel your toes dig into that. If you're on something that's harder, like hard word or cement or something like that, you'll feel your toes kind of grip, but you won't feel them pressing as much. So just keep in mind, whatever you're standing on might have some effect. But what we want is as we lean forward, we want all of our toes to engage.

Still barefoot and you look down, you should see your toes go from kind of flat to a little bit curled. That's I'm trying to grab the ground. So along the lines of leaning, we're going to do some outside inside leaning as well. So if you have that nice neutral position, what I want you to do is lean to the outside of your feet to where you're just on the outside of the foot or pinky toes are touching. Once you to hold that for a few seconds. And then you're going to do the reverse, you're going to switch to the inside of your foot, where you're just kind of resting on the ball of your foot, the ball, your feet and the big toes and your heels on the ground for both. So what you can do at your own pace is you're going to just switch back and forth from outside to inside and hold these positions.

You'll probably notice that one is easier to hold than the other and that probably has to do with inside of your outs inside or outside of your legs and feet. lower legs is stronger than the other so one of them's probably easier to hold the other one might be a little bit more difficult. By doing these exercises, you can help fix that from balance.

Okay, so moving on, we're going to go to a solo leg stance. And I know that seems really kind of trivial or kind of simple, but I want to make a few points about it. So go ahead and pick a foot nice flat on the ground and keep the other one off the ground. If you want to go into tree pose, if you want to go into any kind of yoga pose, feel free to do that you can turn this into a stretch one way or the other. But just focus on holding one leg stand for at least 60 seconds.

If it's a little deceive little too easy for you in terms of the balance aspect, go ahead and close your eyes might be waver a little bit.

And it's even still, if that's too easy, you can go ahead and add an extra layer where you get up onto your toes, and you try and pull that it's kind of like the landing pad of your foot and toes with your heel off the ground, it should make it a little more difficult for you.

And especially if you do Close your eyes, you should be able to feel as you make these little micro adjustments to keep your balance, you should feel your foot moving a little bit, utilizing different muscles and tendons in your foot and lower legs to in lower light to keep you balanced.

Again, if it's too easy, close your eyes. If that's too easy, go ahead and stand up upon all of your foot. All right, so can have a chance to do that with both legs. But the next thing that we're going to do is an object pickup. So this is going to be instead of being flat footed and raising our toes, we're going to work on the toes moving forward and kind of gripping down. So this can be done with all sorts of different things, I'll do two examples. One is going to be this shoe. And the other one's going to be this T shirt, you can pick up all sorts of stuff. If you're if you're brand new to this and you want to make sure you're able to pick something up, I suggest using a tissue, maybe a paper towel or something really light, you're still going to get the effect of grabbing with your toes, it's not gonna be as hard to pick up. The other thing is that if you have an object where you're able to really without grabbing it, you can kind of slide your chosen, it helps. But what we really want is for all your toes to grip down. So for this example, I'm just going to pick up the shoe. And I have it in between my big toe my second toe, which is helpful. But as you move towards other things, it's it's nice to try and use all of your toes to grab the objects. So you can just grab it, hold it in the air for a bit. Again, we're now you utilizing that solo leg stand. So if you're using your one particular foot for that, feel free to switch over. And then you can drop it. Then if you have something else like a shirt or towel, that's can't really zoom in on my foot here. But you can see all my toes are gripping down onto the T shirt in this case. So feel free to pull this as long as you can. I've never done this, but maybe you tried jumping and catching it with the other foot. That would be pretty cool.

Then when you're ready, go ahead and drop. And you can try that with both feet. So yeah, like I said, object pickups can be really simple things like tissues or something really small. But if you want to train yourself a little more, a little bit more, just try picking up any objects that are around your house. The heavier it is, obviously the harder it is, but you want to engage all of your toes, that's pretty important. Okay, so the last thing that we're going to do is a calf raise, which I know all of you have heard of. But I want to point a few things out. So a lot of the times when I see people doing calf raises, they're using their momentum. They're almost halfway to jump rope and tap one. So what we want to do for this exercise is each one shoulder width apart. Nice even weight distribution. And when we go up, we're going to try and do this exercise as slowly as we can think Have you ever had someone tell you to do a push up as slow as you can rather than doing, you know, 15 really fast and momentous momentum driven push ups, you try to do one or two as slowly as you can. So that's kind of what we're going to do here for the Cafritz. So as we go up, at the top of our cafes, we're going to hold for a few seconds. And instead of dropping down at the top, we're going to as slowly as we can take as much time as we can to get our heel back on the ground. So we're gonna do that a few times.

So at the top, you should really feel all of your toes really engaging. And on your way down, it's going to be a lot of calf stimulation, where you're using your calf muscles, as well as your feet. So let yourself down as well. Again, if this is too easy for you, feel free to close your eyes, as a visual that will throw off your balance a little bit, make your body work a little bit more. And if you're even further advanced, trying to do this on one foot, which can be really difficult.

Alright, so that brings us about to the end of our strength and conditioning for the feet. There's all sorts of other exercises that are out there, of course, whether it's the massage part or the strengthening, but these are some things that hopefully, you can experiment with and find your own way. So we're gonna move on now to the last segment of the session, which is going to be about barefoot and minimalist footwear. So the first thing we're going to start with are the features and benefits of a membership. So I have here, you know, Vibram, five fingers. But this is going to be testament to some of the things we talked about. So the first thing you want out of a minimalist shoe, is you want a thin soul, you want to thin and flexible soul. So if you're holding minimalist shoe, you should be able to twist and bend the soul. as such. Obviously, there's tons of companies out there that make minimalist footwear. And there's bigger, even bigger footwear companies that not all of their shoes are minimalist, but they do have some that are classified as such. And if you're interested in getting one of these and you hold it in your hand, you should be able to bend and flex the soul. That's really important because our feet are designed to bend and flex. And you want a soul that's going to mimic that. A nice added benefit for Vibram fivefingers is that Vibram has over 80 years experience creating really awesome soles for grip and traction and durability. So we incorporate those into the five fingers, which is a nice added benefit. The second thing in terms of flexibility, if you're just looking at the upper, most suckers are going to be upper material, it's going to be synthetic. There are some leather styles out there from different companies offer more casual look. But if you're looking for something that's more for workout or cardio, you want something to be nice and breathable and flexible. So that kind of covers the sole and the upper. And then the next big aspect of a minimalist shoe is what we call zero drop. So from the heel to the toes, is supposed to be flat. In other words, the drop is from your heel to your toes. So if this heel was cushion cushion cushion even higher up, you would say that's two millimeter drop four millimeter drop, six millimeter drop, but what you want is for it to be flat. So zero drop is one aspect of it. But you also have the fact that it's a thin sole. There are zero drop shoes out there that have tons of cushioning underneath them. If you measure the height from the heel to the toes, it's flat, but there's a lot of cushion underneath. So what you want is a zero drop shoe but also for it to have very minimal cushioning, and virtually no arch support. Another thing about minimalist shoes is they're typically designed with a wider toe box. The exact opposite of traditional footwear, where shoes will kind of crunch your toes and together minimalist shoes create a wider toolbox that your toe is able to splay out. And that can help a lot with something like five fingers. The articulated toe pockets kind of do that for you. So in theory, you could have some toes that are really scrunched together and go into a big wide toe box shoe but your toes are still going to be kind of squished together in there. So that's another added benefit for five fingers is that the shoe kind of does that for you in that natural split. So that kind of covers minimalist footwear. In terms of the feature benefits, you have the thin, flexible sole and upper, you have a wider toolbox, and you have a zero drop in terms of the height from heel to toe. Now we're gonna move on to fit sizing and care. And this can be specific to five fingers. So obviously, five fingers is a unique product with the individual toes. And this is designed to fit more like a glove, rather than having standard wiggle room at the end of your feet. So when you if you have your pair with you, and you're trying them on for the first time, here's what you want to do, you want to push the heel down, like so not sure how well you can see this. But every model has some type of heel. And if you push it down, you're creating some space for your foot to go into the shoe. And you're also allowing it to back out if any of your toes go to the ball. I recommend trying to start with the big toe, and then using your fingers and helping the other toes a lot. As I mentioned before, the pinky toe is the most stubborn. So if it's your first time, feel free to go back to that self massage stretch with your second to last toe and your pinkie and hopefully that will get you to a point where you have an easier time getting your toes in terms of five fingers.
A lot of people consider this a barefoot shoe, something that they would wear barefoot, now you can wear them barefoot, and you can also wear them with toe socks. And the benefit of wearing toe socks, like any other shoe you would wear is it's going to help prevent issues from smelling. So if you wear toe socks, you're going to trap a lot of the sweat and dead skin that would otherwise get into the footbed and cause some stitch. So that's one preventative way to deal with the smell. But the shoes are machine washable themselves. You can use cooler cold water and let them air dry. You want to avoid direct sunlight and high heat. So don't leave them in the trunk of your car on 130 degree day and try not to leave them on the porch in direct sunlight for too long. But letting them air dry is really important. So that's a how to fit in size and care for your five fingers. Like I said preventative wise toe socks in terms of you know reducing friction and blisters reducing smell and odor is a really nice added benefit. But otherwise, if you do want to get the bare True, true barefoot experience within five fingers, you want to go in and out of the water, especially things like that, feel free to wear them barefoot and just know that you can wash them afterwards. Okay, so now we're going to talk really quickly about transitioning to barefoot or transitioning into a minimalist shoe. So with regards to working out in fitness, especially the yoga and the Pilates and Barre classes, things of that nature, the transition is pretty easy. I would say for the most part, if you can already do those activities with shoes on, then doing them with doing them barefoot or doing them in a shoe like five fingers will change things a bit. But it's not going to be too drastic of a transition in terms of getting up to the point where you are in normal shoes. The big transition is really in cardio and running. A lot of people that I've met over the years, they have incredible world class stamina, world class, endurance, they can run these really long races, but they are not necessarily utilizing the muscles and ligaments and tendons that they would in a barefoot shoe or truly barefoot. So we recommend about 10% of your run, or your cardio workout while you're transitioning to start taking days off in between these first couple of runs listening to your body is a really important aspect. And I can't stress enough the self massage and stretching of the toes and manipulation of the arch and things like that can really go a long way as your feet are getting acclimated to working out more. So the transition really, if you're if you're talking with clients, or running cardio part is definitely something you want to pay more attention to and listening to your feet and your body. But the workout side in terms of more gym oriented fitness and classes and things like that should be a fairly smooth transition.

So now we're gonna move on to the fourth bullet point of the slide here, which is about fair foot barriers. And what we mean by that is these are things that you might hear, you might even be thinking to yourself about why you might be hesitant or your clients might be hesitant to try incorporating their foot into their workouts into their lifestyle or anything in general. So one of the first things, or one of the most popular things that we hear here in fiber is about arch support. So a lot of people, there are certain circumstances where you totally need arch support for certain activities. For especially if you're recovering from some type of surgery, or ailment with your feet, you might need the support. However, the school of thought on strengthening our feet basically has to do with free range of motion. So if you were to take the strongest structure, architecturally and an arc, and you were to support that arc from underneath, you actually weaken the ark in terms of how much weight can hold. So our feet are very similar. If you are to hold your feet up with arch support, all those muscles that are designed in your foot are going to begin to atrophy over time are going to stop working. So when someone asks us, do your shoes have our support? It's more of a conversation that we need to have about, do you really need art support? Or is this something that might have been a little bit of a misconception. So art support in all minimalist shoes, basically out the door, some of them have a little bit of minimal cushioning, but you don't have to worry too much about the art support in a lot of circumstances, so something to something to consider. The second thing that we hear a lot about is plantar fasciitis. So plantar fasciitis, just a really quick recap, is when your fascia underneath your foot becomes super weak by wearing things like arch support over time. And so there's one school of thought, which is to totally encase your foot and put it in this perfect position with support cushioning. But then there's a second school of thought, which is to give free range of motion and to stimulate that. So a lot of people that have plantar fasciitis, whether you get into five fingers or minimal shoe or not, we encourage you to go barefoot as much as you can to roll the ball into your foot. And to stimulate that fashion. Because over time, hopefully that makes it a little bit stronger. The third thing that we hear, especially with five fingers, is I don't want stuff in between my toes. And it's totally understandable. But I can tell you from experience and my own personal preference, I don't like that either. I don't necessarily like the traditional kind of falling sandal, where you have a piece of material in between your big toe and your second toe. For me, it kind of rubs that webbing raw, it's not very comfortable. And after a few hours of wearing a sandal like that my feet feel kind of fatigued. So with five fingers, I can tell you that for the most part, when people tell me that and we end up getting them into a pair, it's more of a pleasant experience than not, the material doesn't quite make it to your webbing of your toes. So it's not really going to rub that raw. And also the material is a lot softer and forgiving, versus a lot of those materials and a fog sandal. And the last thing I'll just throw this out, because we hear it anecdotally is I don't want to I'm nervous to drop weight on my feet. And this guy really hurt. We agree, we think it's definitely going to hurt. Almost regardless of the type of shoe you're wearing. If you have some cushion underneath. Our basic philosophy here is don't drop weights on your foot. Please don't do it, it's going to be bad news, regardless. So those are some of the things you might hear. And a lot of them will lead to bigger conversations. But, you know, feel free to engage with your clients or contact us directly for more info.

And finally, here we are at testimonials. So just want to run through a couple of things that we hear and have heard from people over the years. Hopefully, there's some encouraging things that you'll hear as you introduce this idea to some of your clients. So one of the things that people always talk about is that it's a very freeing feeling. When you put five fingers on, like being barefoot, they'll say, I feel like a ninja. I feel like I want to climb something I feel like I'm a kid again. These are some things that we hear all the time. And it's certainly an aha moment. For a lot of people. The look is certainly a deterrent. For some it's they're very fashion oriented. But I can tell you that out of all the people that I fit, it's overwhelmingly positive on terms of people who didn't think they would like them to put them on and they say to themselves, it's actually not so bad, but a smile on their face. So I hope this has been helpful. We're wrapping up the seminar here, just kidding, we're getting close to an hour and just want to leave you with one simple message, which is on the next slide here. And that's going to be listen to your feet. So this hits on multiple levels, listen to your feet in terms of let the sensory receptors do their thing. Allow your feet to connect with them. grounds. Try walking on different surfaces. If your feet are sore if you have some type of ailment, don't ignore it. Ignoring pain issues over time can lead to some really gnarly stuff. And so if you're feeling anything particularly negative about your feet, definitely, you should address it and do some research, talk to some people about ways to help strengthen and fix those issues. Once again, want to thank ASM for hosting we really appreciate it. And on the next slide, you're going to see my email address is my personal email. Feel free to reach out with any questions that you have or comments for that matter. Tyler dot Allen at Vibram COMM The Allen is a l l a n if you're just listening to this verbally, and our website is us.bagong.com where you can find all sorts of info about not only our shoes, but about some transitioning tips for barefoot lifestyle. Once again, feel free to reach out to me we'd love to hear your comments, thoughts, questions, and other than that hope you enjoyed the session learn something about your feet and have a great night. So take care.


The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.


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