When it comes to kettlebell training, barefoot or minimalist footwear in what I recommend. We want to get the most out of our
kettlebell training. At NTC we focus on the “little things” that boost our results without much initial effort or even thought. As we progress in our kettlebell practice we are not only striving to build a stronger, more athletic body; We want to become and remain healthy. In order to make that a reality we need to address certain issues right from the onset of our training. Footwear is certainly a great place to start.
The analogy that I use for our minimalist runner clientele goes as follows.
Imagine a sleek sports car of your choice. It has been built up to excel in performance. It has an awesome engine, all the latest technology and a sleek candy-red paint job. Just by looking at this car you realize that it exudes Performance!
It is now time to give our sports car some “footwear” so that we can begin our initial test drive.
At this point we have 2 choices for the purpose of this example. We can put tires on with very little tread that will hug and feel the road. Our second choice would be hefty snow tires. With our minimalist tires we tend to feel the road. We notice every pebble, rock and pot hole; you are in the now! With all of that “sensitivity” feedback, we can more easily adapt to the road condition which will get the most out of your car’s performance.
If you were to put the thick heavy snow tires on, how would the car handle? More than likely, you wouldn’t have enough feedback to truly answer that question. This option provides you with very little feedback on the road conditions. Hence, you will not notice the smaller obstacles that when ran over multiple times can wreak havoc on not only the car’s performance but on the car itself. We also tend to blast the music and let our minds wander leaving much of the crucial gains on the street rather than adding information to your attributes as a driver.
So now ask yourself, “when I train with kettlebells, would I prefer maximizing the amount of information that is fed to my Nervous System?”
There is also the mechanics that get hindered when wearing conventional running shoes (snow tires) during kettlebell practice. It is more difficult for our body to perform with proper structure when we are not allowing the body to be mobile. Dorsiflexion is a great example when judging ankle mobility during a kettlebell squat. When working on squatting movements with our kettlebells we need to figure out what the culprit is if we cannot get a good squat. Is it our hips, calves or the mobility in our ankles that is inhibiting us? When we wear footwear with support, it becomes more difficult to pinpoint issues. You will also keep repeating the same mechanics and this will stop you from progressing and will most likely end up in you get injured over time.
I prefer training barefoot but there are many choices out there if barefoot is not your thing. There are toe shoes such as the Vibram Five Fingers. You can use inexpensive wresting shoes with no support, chuck Taylor’s (converse all-stars), mat shoes or basically any footwear that you feel comfortable in and has minimal support. The less support (ankle, sole, lift) the more effective that your training will be.
I put together a video a while back explaining various choices for minimalist footwear that are inexpensive. If you would like to get more detail on the choices, here is the video:
Inexpensive Minimalist Footwear Choices (VIDEO)
I hope that you found this helpful.