It starts with your feet – running, jumping, starting, stopping, and balance. When you think about it, almost all movement begins and involves our feet.
Over the last three weekends I have been busy continuing my education: Two weekends of yoga teacher training & one weekend of the Crossfit Olympic Lifting cert. Both very different and yet they both seem to share the idea that what happens at the ground level, has repercussions throughout your entire body.
Ground level, regardless of if an athlete is performing a yoga pose or a lift, tends to be our feet. They are our base, our foundation, and due to the last three weekends, they are something I have become super aware of.
Unlike the bricks that make up your typical Baltimore city row home, our foundations (our feet) are mobile and move in many directions. In fact they are closer in relationship to the wheels of a car, than the foundation of a home… and yet most of us take better care of, and put more energy into our cars than we do our feet and the movements they accomplish.
We drive cautiously down the side streets of Baltimore, careful to avoid potholes and making a wrong turn down a one way street. But when it comes to our lifts, we don’t always put the same level of consideration into the path we take. There are moments, where we unconsciously create our own bumps in the road, jumping excessively forwards, backwards or out. These bumps often result in the barbell being unstable, or in an athlete failing the lift completely.
– Crossfit Weightlifting Seminar
“90% of failed lifts is often due to an error in footwork.”
When we have a flat tire, we are quick to get it patched or replaced… and yet we aren’t always quick to replace our shoes. Take a look at the soles of your shoes – are they worn down? Is there an excessive wear on one side? The best way to check whether the “tires” of your body are true and balanced is to check the treads. Are you favoring one side of the body? The tread on our shoes can also help to indicate when it’s time to replace them and get new ones, as well as tell us a little bit about some of the muscle imbalances or discrepancies we may have within our body.
It’s also important to note that different conditions may call for different tires. In the winter, some drivers may opt to get snow tires to help them brave the potential weather; while others stick with what they have. The same can be said about crossfit – When athlete’s first join, they might start out using regular running sneakers. That’s fine. However, like some weather conditions… there might be a better alternative to suit the activities you are doing and the sport you are practicing. This is especially true if you are experiencing pain or discomfort during a workout! (Crossfit shoe review coming soon!)
Lastly, we care about the alignment of our car, and make a point to schedule an occasional adjustment for the suspension. Proper alignment ensures that the angles of the tires are just right in order to make contact with the road. If your foot isn’t in alignment during a standing pose in yoga, you may be unable to balance. If your toes aren’t aligned with our knees on squats, it could result in knee problems down the road.
It’s time we start treating our feet more like we do our cars. Schedule yourself a paint job…. I mean pedicure…. and dedicate some time to working on your footwork, placement, and alignment. I promise you it will pay off!