While most people don’t think about them in the same way, your feet are just as important to your body as your hands. They are a main contact point with the ground and having strong, healthy feet is important for performance and health.
In this episode of the MTB Strength Coach Podcast I interview Andy Clower, an athletic trainer and strength coach based out of Berkley CA. Andy is a true expert on the mechanics of the foot and made some interesting points in an article he wrote concerning the difference between true barefoot training and minimalist shoe training. After seeing it I knew I had to get him on the podcast to share his insights into what really happens when you restrict natural foot movement.
In this interview we discuss the impact that natural foot movement can have on balance, reaction time and the efficiency of muscular contractions in the legs. These are things most mountain bikers have never thought about but make a huge impact on the trail.
During the discussion he makes a great case for spending some training time off the bike completely barefoot. He shares some ideas on how he integrates barefoot training into new client programs so they don’t get hurt by getting into it too fast.
I think that Barefoot Training and applying its lessons to the bike – something I call Barefoot Pedaling – is an essential element for every rider. The best way to do this is to spend some time on flats. It will help you pedal with more power and endurance while also inflicting less wear and tear on your body. Plus, as you’ll find out in this interview, it can impact a lot of other things you never knew existed as well.
Again, this isn’t me saying this, this is a university trained athletic trainer who doesn’t even ride bikes. He is simply sharing what he knows about the foot, how it functions and what happens when you mess with it too much. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this interview, please post a comment below this blog post if you have any. Until next time…