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barefoot running better than weight lifting? (for the legs)

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  • barefoot running better than weight lifting? (for the legs)

    I just did my very first 5 mile race, Cinco de Miler, completely barefoot! I had only done 3-ish miles barefoot on my treadmill, me and my sis signed up for this 5 mile race a long while ago and i was very determined to do this race full monty. Many people were trying to talk me out of it since i hadn't done much real outdoors barefoot training but, screw um, i did it anyway!

    It was a great experience, and wow, my legs feel amazing!

    Anyway, getting to my point... I had been doing lots of squats, lunges, calf heel raises prior to becoming a barefoot runner, I was not really seeing much growth from the leg workouts. Then me becoming a barefoot runner my leg muscles have exploded! Were my efforts in leg weight lifting for nothing? I did calf heel raises with a 50 lbs weight in each hand and my calfs were still very unprepared from the strain barefoot running would cause. My calfs then grew after just a few weeks running. My legs are now screaming at me again after the 5 mile race.

    I think I'll still do squats, but is it really necessary to do any more than that? Barefoot running seems to build leg muscles better than any other leg workout I've done.

  • #2
    Well done getting into barefoot running but I'm not really sure what you mean by "better". Doing squats will make you better at doing squats and running will make you better at running. If you're talking about building strength then squats, lunges and deadlifts should form a staple of your lower body focused work.

    But, I have never met anyone who could squat any significant amount that didn't also have strong, muscular legs.
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    • #3
      Great job, but I'm with the coach on this one. Plus, why are you discounting the base muscle you developed during your weight training?
      Jim

      Make Guitar Music | Guitar Buying Guide

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      • #4
        First off, congrats on the run!

        I think asking if barefoot running is better than lifting is like asking if spinach is a more primal food than beef. They are both great ways to work your legs and need not be exclusive of one another.

        Having said that, no amount of running will make your legs as strong as doing heavy squats. Maybe your form needs tweaking or you weren't going heavy enough. Btw, good move on ditching the weighted calf raises, they are a useless exercise imo.

        Originally posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
        Doing squats will make you better at doing squats and running will make you better at running.

        I have never met anyone who could squat any significant amount that didn't also have strong, muscular legs.
        I agree on both counts, Coach!
        "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

        "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

        My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

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        • #5
          I don't think running is really comparable to the weight training you're doing... They produce different results. Do you want longer leaner muscle and slow-twitch fiber for being a distance runner, or do you want short thicker muscles that are more pronounced?

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          • #6
            When i switched to running in merrells (only been like 3 weeks), i've noticed my calves getting stronger as well.

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            • #7
              I remember reading an article a long time ago (maybe on t-nation) about how some endurance-type training can increase capillary density in muscles and then help lead to better growth/size of the muscle. Of course this is recommended to go on top of typical heavy weight training.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by arthurb999 View Post
                When i switched to running in merrells (only been like 3 weeks), i've noticed my calves getting stronger as well.
                Yep, when I was training muay thai (constantly on your toes to kick or knee) and running minimalist my calves got HUGE.
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lizzychan5 View Post
                  I just did my very first 5 mile race, Cinco de Miler, completely barefoot! I had only done 3-ish miles barefoot on my treadmill, me and my sis signed up for this 5 mile race a long while ago and i was very determined to do this race full monty. Many people were trying to talk me out of it since i hadn't done much real outdoors barefoot training but, screw um, i did it anyway!

                  It was a great experience, and wow, my legs feel amazing!

                  Anyway, getting to my point... I had been doing lots of squats, lunges, calf heel raises prior to becoming a barefoot runner, I was not really seeing much growth from the leg workouts. Then me becoming a barefoot runner my leg muscles have exploded! Were my efforts in leg weight lifting for nothing? I did calf heel raises with a 50 lbs weight in each hand and my calfs were still very unprepared from the strain barefoot running would cause. My calfs then grew after just a few weeks running. My legs are now screaming at me again after the 5 mile race.

                  I think I'll still do squats, but is it really necessary to do any more than that? Barefoot running seems to build leg muscles better than any other leg workout I've done.
                  This has been my observation too. Barefoot walking & running keeps all those muscles working to stabilize you while with comfy shoes, you can relax those muscles to rely on just the rubber sole.

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                  • #10
                    as an Asian, we go barefoot in the house, and I also do my workout bare feet including doing plyometric. it seems to help develop calf muscle and connectivity tissues in the foot. I would think it would have less influence on upper leg muscles though ..

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                    • #11
                      Try heavy squatting barefoot. It's foot-crampingly good (contradiction?).
                      In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
                        Btw, good move on ditching the weighted calf raises, they are a useless exercise imo.
                        This is what I was really getting at! I've been wondering what else I've been doing that's been useless.

                        I don't quite agree with the whole running just makes you a better runner, being barefoot I have made huge gains in muscle that the other weight lifting workouts weren't really giving me. Barefoot running is seriously not just a cardio workout. Every major muscle in my legs is sore, and it seems like this is what they were really truly made for.

                        I think I've been hitting a wall in my weight leg workouts since I only have hand weights at home, largest ones being 50 lbs, But I've been really getting into the more natural strength workouts. To me barefoot running and training to do a pull-up has taken me so much farther than any dumbbell routines I've tried. I've trained with a personal trainer who was very strict with proper form, so I believe I have the form down, (I know this is no excuse) but because I'm a girl its just been so damn hard to achieve any gain in muscle... till now.
                        Last edited by lizzychan5; 05-13-2011, 08:25 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lizzychan5 View Post
                          This is what I was really getting at! I've been wondering what else I've been doing that's been useless.

                          I don't quite agree with the whole running just makes you a better runner, being barefoot I have made huge gains in muscle that the other weight lifting workouts weren't really giving me. Barefoot running is seriously not just a cardio workout. Every major muscle in my legs is sore, and it seems like this is what they were really truly made for.

                          I think I've been hitting a wall in my weight leg workouts since I only have hand weights at home, largest ones being 50 lbs, But I've been really getting into the more natural strength workouts. To me barefoot running and training to do a pull-up has taken me so much farther than any dumbbell routines I've tried. I've trained with a personal trainer who was very strict with proper form, so I believe I have the form down, (I know this is no excuse) but because I'm a girl its just been so damn hard to achieve any gain in muscle... till now.
                          For sure! I didn't mean to imply that barefoot running couldn't make you stronger - I am a major proponent of running - I just don't think it can replace other forms of lower body strength training altogether.

                          If you don't have access to heavier weights, you can achieve tremendous strength with bodyweight training alone. Bodyweight has been the foundation of my training for several years now and I am pound-for-pound the strongest I've ever been. Check out my tutorials on pistol squats and the shrimp exercise if you are looking for challenging no-equipment leg workouts.
                          "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

                          "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

                          My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
                            Check out my tutorials on pistol squats and the shrimp exercise if you are looking for challenging no-equipment leg workouts.
                            Holy cripes! Those shrimp squats are hard! I could only go down half way, haha. Certainly something I'll need to work on. Thanks for the leg exercises! I really like the body weight only exercises now, they certainly have given me more gains than the dumbbells ever have. I think I'm going to exclusively try to master at lifting just my own body before I try incorporating them back into my workouts.

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                            • #15
                              Glad you've got a new challenge!

                              Originally posted by lizzychan5 View Post
                              I think I'm going to exclusively try to master at lifting just my own body
                              That's pretty much where I've been at the last bunch of years.
                              "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

                              "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

                              My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

                              sigpic

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