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Increase Hockey Performance, Train Barefoot!

Hockey stride performance

Train Barefoot, Increase Hockey Performance

Train barefoot?! But won’t you hurt yourself? Not have enough support or stability? Actually it’s the exact opposite! Training barefoot can actually help reduce injury risk by increasing foot strength, stability and balance. It can also provide a host of other benefits too that we’ll break down in today’s article.

Hockey performance barefoot

Why Train Barefoot

You can go totally barefoot or use socks or a barefoot style shoe but the idea is to be in contact with the ground to increase awareness and feel with the ground. Heavily padded shoes actually reduce your feel or sensation with the ground reducing your ability to interpret when your about to hit the ground. This will increase the stress and wear and tear on your joints when jumping, running or even walking. The ability to be able to absorb force is essential as an athlete to help reduce injury but also become faster and more powerful.

How Shoes Affect Your Posture and Mechanics

Posture 

Posture can be greatly affected from highly padded shoes

  • High heel lift elevates feet forward reducing ankle mobility
  • Pelvis/hips compensate by tilting upwards (Anterior pelvic tilt) increasing lower back strain
  • Upper Back can round forward and neck kinks back increasing tightness in these areas as well as a very un-athletic posture

All of these compensations can lead to overuse injuries as well as highly decrease your athletic potential.

Body Mechanics

Poor posture leads to reduced speed and power output because the body can’t maximize joint movements leading to a lack of muscle activation. This translates into poor body mechanics.

  • Reduced hip extension leading to reduced stride power and speed
  • Lack of ankle mobility, can’t get as low as you need to in your stride
  • Excessive hip tilt and back arch leading to excessive strain on your hip flexors and low back

These all will lead to overuse injuries keeping. you off the ice and reducing your athletic performance.

Single leg barefoot training

Hockey Performance Increases

The increases are plentiful for hockey players or any athlete looking to add more barefoot training to their program .

  • Increased foot Strength
  • Better Single leg stability and Balance
  • Improved weight transfer and Movement Fluidity
  • Reduced Injury Risk

How to Train Barefoot Safely

Training barefoot takes time…and proper progressions! You can’t just jump into running ten miles barefoot, you’ll most likely hurt yourself. Just like any type of training, the proper progressions are essential to transitioning to barefoot training.

Start Simple Then Transition

  • Start with simple barefoot walking and stationary exercises like squats, deadlifts, pulls and presses
  • Then Transition to light jumps and jogging
  • You can eventually progress to more intense plyo training and sprints on grass
  • ***Don’t run or sprint on concrete, that’s just silly and unnecessary, that’s where a good barefoot shoe option would be a good choice

Training barefoot takes time and shouldn’t be rushed! Take the progressions at your own pace and be patient. Once you feel the difference and start to see the progress you’ll never want to go back to big bulky padded shoes! Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out, we’re always here to help!  

#unleashthepotential

 

Written by:

Rob Jost – ACE-CPT, NSCA-CPT

 

 

Suggested Article: Have Your Best Off-Season Yet  

 

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