Lifting Shoes & My February 1st Goal

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Look what arrived on my front porch minutes before Mal and I were about to leave for CrossFit last night! New lifting shoes! Yay!

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Check out these beauties! They’re the New Balance WT20’s, which are part of the Minimus Trail collection. They’re basically a cross between barefoot running shoes and traditional, more cushioned trail running shoes. (FYI: They’re on sale right now at Zappos.com!)

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Naturally, I needed to test them out immediately. Derp.

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So, what’s the deal with my new kicks? Apparently, running sneakers (like I’ve been wearing to CrossFit for the past month) are the wrong type of shoes to wear for lifting weights. Here’s why (from CrossFit 781):

Wrong Shoes: Running Shoes. The air & gel filling is great for reducing impact shock from running (if you were running correctly in the first place you wouldn’t even need that!), but really bad for lifting. Running shoes will limit your strength and prevent good lifting technique.

  • Unstable. Soles are squishy so you can’t predict their behavior on each rep. This makes it harder to control your technique and lift properly.
  • Power Loss. The soles absorb the force generated against the floor instead of directing it towards moving the weight. You lose strength.
  • Dangerous. Higher risk of injury, especially with heavier weights, since the soles make it hard to balance yourself and are less stable.

So, what should you be wearing? CrossFit 781 suggests Chuck Taylors, ballet slippers (for real), and going barefoot. Other options: New Balance Minimus collection, Vibrams, Inov-8 Lites, and Reebok.

Good lifting shoes fit snuggly and have sturdy, hard and slim soles that are not slippery. Basically, you want your feet as close to the floor as possible for optimum control and stability when lifting. Lifting shoes give you better traction and balance than regular sneakers because your heels better sense the pressure of the weight. Additionally, good lifting shoes can even fix technique issues since you’ll better sit (back) into your squats and your heels will remain on the floor. This, of course, reduces the risk of injury. Proper form also gives you more power! ROAR!

Workout

Last night, Mal and I headed to CrossFit a little earlier than usual, so I could work on the goal that I set for myself last month to do two unassisted pull-ups by February 1st. I’m trying to learn how to do kipping pull-ups as a way to make these unassisted pull-ups happen. Kipping gives you some momentum to do a pull-up, so it might seem like cheating, but it’s actually pretty difficult and requires some practice. The movement is taken from gymnastics, and it uses multiple muscle groups from head to toe. Here’s a kipping video if you want to see what it’s all about.

I wasn’t able to do a kipping pull-up last night, but I’ve made some serious progress in the past few week. I couldn’t even hang from the pull-up bar when I first started CrossFit, but now I can kip pretty well””I just need to do that pull-up! Maybe it’ll happen next week?

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WOD:

“Nancy”

5 rounds for time of:

400 meter run

15 Overhead Squats (95, 65)

Another fun WOD! We did 5 rounds of 400m runs followed by 15 Overhead Squats. I used 35 pounds on the Overhead Squats for the first 4 rounds, but when I returned from my final 400m, there were no free 35-pound bars, so I grabbed a 45-pound one instead. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that difficult. I was a little wobbly on my last two reps, but I think I probably could have handled 40 pounds for the entire workout. Next time, Nancy!

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Dinner

I’m out-of-town until Friday, so I made a huge salad for dinner to use up some of the veggies in our refrigerator. I topped my salad with a can of tuna, Avocado Salsa, truffle oil, and balsamic vinegar. It might not look like it, but this salad was really massive. I actually wasn’t sure if I could finish it. But, of course, I did.

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After dinner, I enjoyed a small handful of M & M’s.

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Question of the Day

Do you change up your footwear for different workouts or just stick to the same pair of sneakers?

In the past, I always wore running shoes for my workouts, including Body Pump, Step Aerobics, Spin, etc., but now I’m realizing how important it is to wear the proper footwear.

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109 Comments

  1. I use old running shoes. I run in flat neutral shoes and I go through shoes rather quickly so I put on the oldest ones with nothing left to them but a rubber sole and whatever liner is left. I tried to do a WOD with newer running shoes and kept rolling forward on the squats and thrusters. I tried the oldest nastiest brooks I had and bam…like walking on fuzzy concrete. I hate them for anything but lifting. If we have a heavy run WOD, I’ll wear my running shoes because they have a heel lift and orthotic for one wacked out leg that is 1/8″ shorter than the other leg.

  2. That’s a really interesting point about wearing flat shoes for weightlifting! I usually wear my usual gym shoes – but luckily I also own a ton of Converse All-Stars, so I’ll be wearing those next time!

    Thanks for the heads up Tina! This was really good to learn!

  3. hahaaha, that quote of the day board cracked me up!

    the gym i go to isn’t exactly cross-fit, but very similar and a lot of people have started wearing those vibram styled shoes…

  4. I have many multiple pairs of sneakers, its almost scary. And yes, I will pack different pairs for the gym if I know I am going to be doing different things (like running on the treadmill before a Body Pump class). My friends at the gym always thought I was nuts but I don’t care!
    ~Ang

  5. I totally love the NB Minimus WT20s! I have been doing most of my running in them as well as lifting. I highly recommend giving them a go for shorter distance runs. Beware though, your calves will probably get pretty sore after the first few runs!

  6. to be honest, i enjoy reading about your passion for CF lately (i wish i could afford a membership!), and i think for me it’s just become a bit hard to read because i don’t always understand exactly what the exercises are. i love coming to your blog to pickup tips on new strength training moves and it’s a little more difficult because i’m not up to speed with the CF language. i find myself doing a lot of extra googling!

  7. I love that sexy beast quote – hilarious!
    I pretty much use the same shoes for everything. I don’t work out in a gym setting, so when I do something besides treadmill workouts at home, I do them barefoot. Otherwise I generally only run or walk and that is done in the same shoe. I know I should hava different shoe for walking than running because I do them differently, but I really don’t want to spend the money. That’s so sad!

  8. I have always known my running shoes were wrong for lifting and gym aerobics… but never knew what was *right*! Such a helpful post. Will definitely be looking to sort some better shoes for my increasing strength workouts in 2012. Thanks, as always, for the insight!

  9. I am studying in Sweden for the year and I was shocked to see so many people barefoot while lifting weights at the gym. I thought is was a cultural thing but I guess it’s actually the better thing to do.
    I have those same shoes and I love them!

  10. I’ve read through a lot of the comments and it appears as if some people aren’t happy with all the attention crossfit is getting on your blog. I know you obviously can’t please everyone, but I just want to say how much I love reading about your experiences with crossfit! I’ve been a crossfitter for over a year now, and so I love reading about other people’s experiences with it. Its also cool to read about all the extra little tidbits, such as with the shoes & the challenges going on at your box!

  11. I want to start doing more lifting (whether it’s Crossfit or NROLFW) so I definitely need to invest in a good pair of shoes. I’ll have to check out Zappos!

    Good luck on your goal! When I was doing P90X, the pull-ups were the worst!

  12. I had no clue that there are better types of sneakers for different gym workouts! Thanks for sharing… I haven’t tried any of the Vibram style shoes but they look like they’d hurt my knee, although I’ve heard in actuality that they’re supposed to be better for the knee and ankle?!

  13. I wear regular running sneaks for…running. And then I have a pair of lightweight Nike Frees for Zumba and all-purpose gymming/ lifting. Love the idea of wearing chucks to lift, will have to try that sometime. Love the quote too – too cute 🙂

  14. Great post! I recently have been trying to find a shoe to wear for my athletic conditioning type of gym classes – lots of lunges, weight lifting, jumps, lateral movements, etc. Are the weightlifting/NB Minimus shoes good for those type of exercises as well?

  15. I wear different sneakers/shoes depending on the activity. I used to wear running shoes all the time but several years ago my foot started bothering me during kickboxing (I was taking two classes a week at the time) and that’s when i figured out that I should be wearing a more neutral (flat) or cross training shoe for that activity. Later I signed up for personal training and my trainer wouldn’t let me lift in running shoes. 🙂

  16. One reason I love workout DVD’s is because I love to work out barefoot. Makes me feel so much better.

  17. I wear Vibram 5-Fingers for running and weight lifting, and regular running shoes for Zumba (the stickier sole of the vibrams makes pivoting and dancing dangerous for my knees) and TRX (because hanging my heels in the straps in the vibrams is too much pressure on my achilles tendon).

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  19. Tina (or anyone else!) would you also recommend using these for cross training (elliptical, fitness classes, general gym)?

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  21. Very nice read. My Minimus are my go-to shoe right now for crossfit. I used them for everything from heavy olympic lifts to sled-pushes to lawn drills. I only recently started using a different shoe for my runs since I am training for a marathon. The Minimus were good up to about a 10k, after that my joints started to hurt.

    By the way, I created a site called WOD Footware and I’m trying to get real people to rate their shoes on it. Right on the main page is a chart of the best crossfit shoes. If you could, please just find the pair or pairs that you have used and click the star rating. Thanks, and thanks for the good article.

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