All the other kids with the pumped up kicks

I love my kicks

Change the pace a bit I wanted to go over one of the most over looked, and to some degree, under looked pieces of equipment that we use in the gym.

Our kicks (“shoes” for those that aren’t caught up with kids new lingo).

I’ve have seen all kinds of shoes used in day to day gym work, ranging from flip-flops to steal toed construction boots… heck I’ve even seen some EXTREME high-heals (my clients called these hooker heals lol) used for workouts in the gym.

People eventually do come around to asking me what kind of shoes they should get, well the most common shoe that I personally recommend is the New Balance Minimus.

Why?

Let me give you a bit of cool anatomy lesson here people and I think you’ll be surprised.

Now everything in the human body works synergistically. Meaning that everything affects everything and that in a number of cases the aches and pains that you are experiencing is typically caused by something else.

Let me give you an example:

Lets say that you have knee pain, now any structural abnormalities or damage aside, after an assessment the most common place that I’m going to start looking to see what is causing the knee pains isn’t the knee, but what’s attached to the knee and what’s attached to that and so on.

The first place I almost always look is the feet and ankles.  Everything starts form the ground up.

Think about it, if there is something out of alignment in your feet where to you think its going to start affecting? The knees, hips, back and so on.

Further proof?

Let’s say that you have tight calves, we will pick on both in this case the gastro (Gastrocnemius) and the Soleus. If these muscles are “tight” then they are going to pull on their attachment points, respectfully the heal of your foot and the back of the leg (right above your knee). Then what’s the kicker is that if your beginning to feel tight in the back of your knee the body senses that its beginning to go out of alignment and the other muscles come into play to attempt to bring the knee back in alignment.

THEN those muscles attachment points begin to become stressed, and they start pulling at one another… this is a chain reaction that can extend all the way to the top of the head.

Before I get ahead of myself and get too detailed and lose you here just understand that one muscle can affect others.

Back to the shoes

Kind of piggy backing off the tight calf comment most calf muscles are tight due to the shoes that we wear. If you look most shoes have elevated heels, not just women’s shoes men take a look at yours. I can assure you that if you notice even the most basic of tennis shoes at least a half an inch of heel elevation.

Now from commonly wearing shoes that have heel elevation what does this to the body, most noticeably the calf muscles is that it puts them in a shortened state. If you like most working class Americans then you’re wearing those shoes 10+ hours a day. Over the course of time your body senses that this new pattern is what perceives its suppose to do and the calf’s begin to shorten.

It’s the concept of if you don’t use it you lose it.

Now when the calves begin to shorten this causes a plethora of problems, I can save that for another blog, but what this

Ouch!!!

most commonly does is throw your body out of an effect structural alignment (which that is going to be in another blog as well… damn I have a lot of writing to do lol)

Now imagine trying to lift, squat or forcefully move when you body is not in alignment. Can we say ouch.

In the gym world I want all of my Fitness Revolution clients in as optimal of an alignment as possible because then the body moves the way it was intended to move, instead of having to alter its movement pattern to compensate for a structural inefficiently (did I lose you there?)

Example: Do a squat with your heel flat on the ground (preferably barefoot) then do a squat when your heels elevated on a block or 2×4. Notice a difference in movements and where you feel the stress? Bet you do. Or even better yet do a dead lift with athletic shoes then a dead lift barefoot, I can promise that there will be a noticeable performance increase with being bare foot.

These elevated heels can lead in inhibited performance and in some cases injury in the gym.

But why do shoe companies continue to produce tennis shoes with elevated heels? Well in a typical walking pattern the heel is the first thing to strike the ground thus we want as much patting as possible for comfort reasons.

Also whether you realize it or not it’s also a selling tactic. When you put on a new pair of shoes you feel taller and perceive things differently, this feeling of a slight vertical enhancement gives the wearer a feeling of increased confidence and not only visual but physiological outlook. You may think I’m over analyzing but go try on a pair of typical Nike’s and you’ll notice it.

Again let me get back to topic here.

Rocking the ol' school Chucks

What I like about the New Balance Minimus (my preferred shoe for Rowlett Fitness Revolution clients) is that it is very much the equivalent of walking barefoot, which is a natural and more neutral of an alignment compared to most of your other popular gym shoes. In most gyms you can’t work out barefoot for liability and insurance reasons, but I’ve been known to make a number of my clients go shoeless in some of their exercises.

Other common shoes that you’ll see with minimal to no heel elevation are the good ol’ school Chuck Taylors or the ever noticeable Vibram Five Finger shoes.

 

 

 

Honestly I like both of those! BUT… I do admit it pretty difficult to rock any clothing, other than jeans, with the Chuck Taylors and the Five Finger shoes do get a lot of “What the hell is he wearing stares”. Which honestly I don’t mind lol

I find that the New Balance Minimus is the perfect in-between for all of those, the ones that I personally use have the

Vibrams Five Finger Shoes

Vibram concept and technology in them. Pretty cool 🙂

This is not an affiliate link so I don’t get paid for any of this, wish I had and affiliate with New Balance but I’m not THAT cool… yet 😉

  1. New Balance Minimus
  2. Chuck Taylors
  3. Vibram Five Fingers

 

I hope that wasn’t too much of an overload on this topic because honestly I feel that this blog only scratches the surface of the depthness of this topic.

If you have questions please reach out to me!

 

 

 

In Health and Fitness,

 

 

 

Travis Merritt, BS, CPT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

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