On one of our Sunday training at #PKPHBansay while performing drills over an open grass area, the sprinklers suddenly all popped-up getting most of us around wet. Common reaction would be to run for cover, but the training leads for the session decided to simply continue on encouraging even the newbies to stay put. While most of them were hesitant at first, continuing on getting drenched and rolling over grass probably made everybody's PK experience more memorable. Just like that particular training day, there are only a few things more nostalgic and liberating than taking off your shoes, walking around, and training in barefoot. It simply feels like you've been transported to when you were 5yrs old, running around every ground surface, without care for getting dirty or hurt.
Adding to the great sentimental value, another reason to take off your shoes and do some barefoot training is its benefits in improving your Parkour techniques - specifically in skills that involve balancing and landing on your feet. Here are a few observations we were able to gather after doing some barefoot training:
BALANCING - ESPECIALLY ON RAILS
- The feet are able to be more malleable, able to "wrap" around the curvature of the rails thus improving your ability to balance.
- Unsure if it's about having more or simply having different muscles of the foot in use as the soreness is somewhat different against having shoes on. These differences may stimulate different adaptations to the function and structure of the foot. (Emphasizing the word 'may' as these observations haven't been cross-referenced with scientific studies.)
LANDING ON FOOT
- During sprinting - you tend to land your midfoot rather than on the heels, making running technique seem better by negating overstriding. And in sprinting, overstriding may mean foot or leg injuries.
- During landing form jumps or vaults - because of the added sensation of pain of not having much padding, you tend to absorb the stress of landing with more help from the entire body. This is by having the body collapse more - the knees and hips more flexed - thereby lessening the stress on the feet. Also, you tend to make more effort into landing with the balls of the foot. It's far less painful, quieter, and much more controllable, thus we conclude as a better technique.
So the next time you train, maybe think of taking your shoes off. Of course, be gentle at first try as foot sensation, including pain from impact, are much more evident. So start slow. Also, be much more wary of the surroundings as the urban jungle isn't forgiving. One small rock can end up slicing up your foot. Then again, with proper attention and common sense, we believe the pay-offs are worth it.
PKPH performance team member Jorlan Gallardo barefoot training.
Different Parkour skills done with barefoot.
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