Whether you are a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply someone who goes to the gym a few days each week, there is no doubt in my mind that you want to get the most out of your body.
For the time we all put in trying to mold and shape our bodies, for all the sweat, for the sore muscles, we want to get the most bang for our buck. Personally, I want to make sure that my body is operating as close to 100% as possible. Whether I'm at the gym with my buddies or playing baseball with my boys, I want to ensure that I'm pain free, that I don't have any physical limitations, and that I am moving as efficiently as possible. I'm sure the same can be said for you.
And, if you and I can agree that we want our bodies moving as functionally as possible, wouldn't we assume that that would be the case for a someone attempting to perfecting their craft at the highest level of sports? Wouldn't it makes sense that a professional athlete would ensure that they have zero limitations in their body?
In my opinion, an athlete wanting to be as functional as possible is a no-brainer. However, true, proper function is far from a common site in professional sports. Just this last week, the NFL held its annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. For those of you unfamiliar with the Combine, it's an opportunity for representatives from every NFL team to see draft-eligible college football players as they perform various events that showcase their speed, power, and skill sets. Players will run the 40-yard dash, perform a standing broad-jump, vertical jump, they'll bench-press 225 pounds as many times as they can, etc. Essentially, it's one big NFL meat market. Prospects can improve their draft status or hurt their draft status, depending on how they perform.
The most "important" of all the drills is the 40-yard dash. I say "important," because the 40-yard dash is the event that gets the lion's share of the attention. Scouts will drool over a guy who runs faster than anticipated, and they'll shy away from a guy who runs slower than anticipated. In fact, one of the biggest stories coming out of this year's Combine was that a new 40-yard dash record was established.
Former University of Washington wide-receiver, John Ross, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds, breaking the previous record of 4.24 seconds. Let me tell you, friends, that is moving! Anything in the 4.2-range is flat-out flying.
Check out his form during his run:
Notice anything that looks "off" in this picture? Check out the directional angle of his knee and foot! This athlete is attempting to run straight ahead (in a north-south direction), yet his foot and knee are pointed out at 45 degrees (in an east-west direction). THIS is the guy who ran a 4.22 40-yard dash. Yet he's quite literally running against himself. His form (and remember, form follows function) is doing him NO favors. In fact, he's costing himself time, energy, and, I believe, money. Typically, the faster these athletes run in the 40-yard dash, the higher they get drafted, and the more they get paid.
Even though this athlete has run the fastest 40 in the history of the NFL Combine, I believe he can be even faster. Isn't THAT a scary thought?
Can you imagine if this player would have run a 4.00 40-yard dash?
Or...what if...WHAT IF...this player ran a sub-4-second 40-yard dash?
I believe that if that happened, he would be a sure-lock for being drafted #1 overall in the upcoming NFL Draft.
And he'd also break the internet.
Folks from all over the world of sports would be losing their collective minds. They wouldn't know what to do with a sub-4-second 40. It would be the modern-day equivalent of Jim Ryun, who, in 1964, became the first high-school runner to break the 4-minute mark in the mile. For as much hoopla that Ryun received back in the day, the attention directed toward Ross would have been exponential.
But, sadly, we'll never know. Ross didn't break 4-seconds in the 40. He "only" ran a 4.22. Yet from my perspective, what is even sadder is the fact that, physically and functionally, I believe he left a lot on the table. What's also true, is that Ross is the perfect candidate for an injury. He might just be one of the guys we hear about suffering a "non-contact ACL injury" during training camp one year. His body is in no shape to plant is foot and change directions while traveling at a high speed. In fact, when he crossed the 40-yard-dash finish line, he pulled up limping. The reason? Calf cramps. Stay tuned, folks. My guess is those cramps are the first signal that his body is trying to warn him to the fact that he's out of balance. Unfortunately, it could be all downhill from here.
Honestly, when it comes to our bodies, the rest of us are no different than this high-level athlete. While we might not have the athletic ability to run 40 yards in 10 seconds, we still want to get the most out of our workouts or favorite sport. We want to get in shape, stay active, play for as long as we'd like, and decrease our susceptibility to injury. Those things can only happen on a functional frame.
The key to attaining a functional frame is the Egoscue Method. Egoscue is absolutely what will help you achieve, and maintain, a peak state of performance. If you're looking to unlock your TRUE potential, contact us today. We have clinics all over the world, and we are ready to unlock your inner-athlete!
QUESTION: What do you believe is holding you back from achieving peak performance?
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"It's gotta be the shoes!" -- Mars Blackmon
Does anyone remember the old Nike commercial where Mars Blackmon (a.k.a. Spike Lee) was asking basketball legend Michael Jordon about how and why he is so good? Blackmon was asking Jordon about everything--from his dunks to his haircut to his long shorts--before finally being convinced that it was his shoes that made all the difference.
While Jordon denied that any of those things actually made a difference, there was no changing Blackmon's mind, and Nike's next great marketing slogan was born. For me personally, Nike (and more specifically, Jordan) created a desire within me to get a pair of Jordan shoes for basketball season. And, guess what? I GOT THEM!
Well...let me rephrase that.
I guess I should say that I had them.
I had a pair of Air Jordan high-tops...until my three older sisters found out. They threw such a fit that their little brother got a pair of $125 shoes just for the basketball season that my parents returned them to the store! If I'm being honest, I believe their frustration stemmed from the fact that I was the only one in the family to get a Big Wheel (a Dukes of Hazzard one, at that) despite their incessant requests for one, so there was no way that I was getting Air Jordan sneakers as well. Truth be told, they are actually still angry (seriously...STILL angry) about that Big Wheel...but I digress...
Yes, at the eleventh hour, my Air Jordans where snatched from my hands. So close...yet so far!
That brings me to today's post about shoes. While I obviously don't believe that Michael Jordan's shoes made him the player that he was, I do believe that shoes make a huge difference in our overall function and ability to move.
When it comes to what you put on your feet, the Egoscue philosophy is simple: less is best. Ideally, we want you (and your foot) to be able to move as functionally as possible, as much as possible. Obviously, we recommend taking movement breaks throughout your day as much as you can. In addition, we are huge fans of getting your body functional before you go and do your regular workouts. But we also want you to stay as functional as possible throughout your workouts (and as you go throughout your day).
How can we accomplish that? There are different ways to do it, including doing your Egoscue menu, but one simple change you can make is to start wearing a shoe that allows as much functional movement as possible at the feet--the functional base of support for the rest of your body.
Your foot is designed to move, and shoes should allow that movement to happen. Shoes that take away from that ability aren't doing you or your body any favors. Sure, there may be a time and a place to wear shoes that don't allow a lot of movement (yes, it's ok to wear high-heels from time to time, ladies), but generally speaking, the less shoe, the better.
As your foot is allowed to move as it's designed, you are creating a functional "domino-effect" of improved and increased movement up the rest of the bodily chain. Basically, if your foot is moving better, so will your ankle, knee, hip, spine, etc. The improved function and mobility doesn't simply stop at the foot. It continues the path up the body, impacting you from toe to head.
"Barefoot shoes"--a term given to shoes that allow for the foot to move as designed--have been around for years now. Dating back to the early 2000s, we have had a plethora of minimalist shoes from which to choose. Nike, New Balance, Fila, Adidas, Merrell, the list goes on an on, have all had minimalist options. There are so many choices now, that the job of finding the "right" one for you can feel like a daunting task.
That's exactly why I wanted to weigh in on this issue. I actually talked about minimalist shoes on a Facebook Live broadcast, and the response was great. Clearly, several of you who tuned in to that video were in the market for minimalist shoes! The feedback and responses I have received from that talk has been incredible. I'm glad I covered this topic!
1. VivoBarefoot -- Choose any style they offer. You can't go wrong with the VivoBarefoot shoes.
3. New Balance Minimus -- These are my favorite running/race shoes. Some of the newer versions are a bit stiffer than the originals, but they are still great shoes.
4. Nike Free -- This is a good introductory shoe for those who are trying to transition to barefoot shoes. I have a pair that I wear currently.
5. Merrell Trail Glove -- Personally, this is my least favorite of the minimalist shoes I have used but some folks rave about them.
QUESTION: What is YOUR favorite pair of barefoot shoes?
As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!
Community: All of us want it. Some of us actually achieve it.
Whether it's through your neighborhood, work, church, or adult kickball team, we're all seeking to tap in, get to know each other better, and dig deeper. But more than that, we're all wanting to build a group of friends who we can laugh with, play with, cry with, and from time-to-time, commiserate with. We want to know that we have folks in our inner-circle who are like-minded, and we strive to surround ourselves with those who have similar interests, dreams, and desires.
One industry that has perfectly mastered building a "community" is CrossFit. Whether you love it, hate it, do it daily, or have never stepped foot in a CrossFit gym in your life, there's no arguing that those folks have done a remarkable job of creating an atmosphere where everyone is cheering everyone else on. Inside a CrossFit gym, you're expected to do your best...whatever that may be.
Another place where you can find community is at Egoscue. Whether it's dropping by your local clinic to do your menu or getting a group of friends together and doing a Patch Fitness workout, we want you to feel as though you're welcome anytime. We want you to have friends there who you look forward to seeing and working out with. Friends who are like-minded and have the same interests, dreams, and desires.
For those of you in the golf community, you might have heard the name Jason Glass. Jason is the founder of the Jason Glass Performance Lab, speaks all over the world with Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), and works one-on-one with some of the top golfers on the PGA Tour. He recently sat down with one of Egoscue's Vice Presidents, Brian Bradley, to talk about The Egoscue Method, The Patch, living pain free, and building community on the Jason Glass Podcast. The interview is excellent and certainly one you don't want to miss!
Click on the picture to listen to the podcast!
QUESTION: How do you build community?
As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.