CrossFit and Barefoot running done right can give you the right results


There’s one universal fitness advice we’ve been ignoring all along. Without proper form, knowledge and guidance, we are more injury-prone than ever before! This stands true for the popular high intensity training workout called CrossFit and Barefoot running as well. Although fitness experts have debated endlessly on the pros and cons of both, suffice to say that if there’s any criticism constantly aimed at CrossFit and Barefoot running, it’s the overarching view that they’re probably not for the average Joe. At least not until the person has received proper conditioning required to perform that sport.   Celebrity fitness trainer Praveen Tokas, who has a trained actors such as Emraan Hashmi, Rannvijay and Imran Khan, agrees that while people do get injured doing CrossFit, ‘just as in any other sport, moving at high intensity without proper biomechanics can set you up for injuries’.

Here he talks about two of the most popular fitness trends and what to consider before taking the plunge:


Barefoot running and its pitfalls

– The strain of eccentric load on the Achilles tendon and calf muscles systems is just enormous, which leads to injuries over a period.

-If you are striking your heel first in barefoot running, then the impact loading rate is 7 times more than shoe running.

-Hasty transition to barefoot running increases the chances of planter fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain. This condition causes intense pain with your very first steps in the morning.

-Research shows that barefoot running produces a 60 per cent deformation of the heel pad compared to a 30 per cent reduction when running with cushioned shoes.


Do it right

-If you struggle with chronic injury problems, then you can try barefoot running as a drill. It is helpful if you have knee problems, or any anterior injuries (anterior shin pain, for example), because going barefoot will switch the load. If you have poor forefoot stability, over pronate, or supinate, you need proper footwear to set you footwear to avoid barefoot injuries.

-For learning how to land on mid-foot, try to listen to the sound of your foot strike on treadmill .To run quietly your posture will straighten up(ribcage soft and head still) ,feet landing under your hips and shorter stride length. This will help you to land mid-foot.

-If you are a marathon runner, then think carefully about barefoot running and changing your technique to land on the forefoot. Avoid overdoing it and treat barefoot running into the program as a training aid, because it will help your feet, calves and ankles.

Most importantly, try to introduce barefoot running gradually.

Barefoot running periodisation exercise

Before introducing barefoot try vibram or minimalistic footwear approach for a few weeks.

-Lower extremities exercises like crunching towel with your feet 10 times for 3 sets and all balancing poses in yoga will help to improve foot stability.

-Work on your ankle mobility to avoid knee injuries.

Week 1-2

Walk 30 min barefoot indoors. 4 times a week.

Week 3-4

Walk barefoot outside 30 mins 3 time per week.

Week 5

Run 1 k barefoot indoors on hard surface. 4 times per week

Week 6-8

Run barefoot on outdoor soft surface like grass. 3 times per week

Week 9

Run half km 4 times per week on hard surface outside.




Potential injuries

– Higher risk of rhabdo (breakdown of muscle fibres which can cause kidney damage) due to high intensity and volume of training.

-Exercise like kipping pull up is bad for your shoulders.

-Research shows that maxing out in Olympic lifts like clean and snatch etc. are dangerous because your exercise form degrades when performed without adequate rest and in a fatigued state.
-Competitive nature of CrossFit leads to poor form because the participants are mostly doing timed Workout of the day (WOD). Crossfitters often push their limits and compromise their tempo and form to do more sets and reps.

-40-plus CrossFitters should pay more attention to recovery and avoid high impact and speed movements.


Do it right

-Try to include periodisation in your training program. Recovery techniques like massage, hydro therapy and restorative yoga should be incorporated to avoid overtraining.

-Instead of kipping pull ups, can do strict pull ups.

-Always form first and never max out on Olympic lifts like clean and snatch because of the high speed nature of the movement. Use periodisation to learn proper technique of all Olympic lifts because they are often a complex one to perform. Try performing technical training with dowels.

-Respect your physical limits to avoid overtraining and injuries

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