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

  1. #1
    lizzychan5's Avatar
    lizzychan5 is offline Senior Member
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    barefoot running better than weight lifting? (for the legs)

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    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. #2
    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
    Coach Palfrey is offline Senior Member
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    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.

  3. #3
    jimdunk's Avatar
    jimdunk is offline Junior Member
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    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?

  4. #4
    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
    Al_Kavadlo is offline Senior Member
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    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.

    Quote 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


  5. #5
    secretlobster's Avatar
    secretlobster is offline Senior Member
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    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?

  6. #6
    arthurb999's Avatar
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    When i switched to running in merrells (only been like 3 weeks), i've noticed my calves getting stronger as well.

  7. #7
    yodiewan's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
    iniQuity's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  9. #9
    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  10. #10
    primalfamily's Avatar
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    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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