Walk into CrossFit Koa and you will notice a lot of things. Great people eager to make your acquaintance, clean and tidy equipment (or Josh will make us do burpees), bad ass graffiti on both gym walls, gnarly looking ropes hanging from the ceiling reminding you this isn’t an ordinary gym, and of course weightlifting shoes.
Lots and lots of weightlifting shoes.
I have never addressed this issue but I think it is time. As your head coach, I would like to assist all of you in every way I possibly can when it comes to your health and fitness. These shoes can cost anywhere from $90 to $220 dollars, which in my book means it’s a substantial enough investment to really think, “Do I need these things?”
Here is my take and my advice to you on whether purchasing a pair of weightlifting shoes is appropriate for you:
- Weightlifting shoes are NOT a crutch to solve your mobility, stability and strength issues. This is clearly the number one issue I have with many people who buy these shoes. You cannot overhead squat a piece of PVC in regular shoes but you can in your Romaleos so VOILA… problem solved. WRONG!! You need to be able to move well and develop a baseline of strength without the shoes first.
- Identify your goals. Are you someone who primarily wants to focus on improving your snatch and clean and jerk? Have you been working at these movements for months and seem to have hit a plateau? Have you dedicated ample time to learning the intricacies of the movements in AND out of the gym? If so, then perhaps it’s time to shop around for shoes. If not, you have a lot of work to do BEFORE you should even consider the idea.
- Weightlifters ALWAYS wear weightlifting shoes. Because they are WEIGHTLIFTERS. They also cannot run 800m without becoming winded. Endurance is not their goal. Lifting a heavy object and establishing it over their head is their SOLE mission. Therefore shoes are necessary. Can you say the same? We are CrossFitters who are concerned with general physical preparedness and a broad based approach to fitness. We want to run fast and run far, pull ourselves up on a bar or rope, AND lift some weights. Our goals are quite varied. How integral are a pair of specialized shoes to helping you reach these broad and varied goals?
- When and if you buy shoes, it also imperative that you do not become dependent on them. Josh and I always joked with each other once we purchased weightlifting shoes that every WOD that came up the first question we asked ourselves was “Can I wear the shoes??” Who wouldn’t love the extra stability at the bottom of an overhead squat or clean during a WOD? But what if that workout requires me to also run 400m? Then what? (Cue Coach Glassman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is04CcxYBGs)
Weightlifting shoes are a great tool and are beneficial for most, but not all people. Instead of using shoes as shortcut, spend an extra 20 minutes each day at home to work on mobility. Instead of wearing weightlifting shoes, perhaps take some weight off the bar and work on doing the movements correctly in regular, flat shoes. Maybe take your eyes off the clock and stop worrying about how fast you move and take your time to perform the movements accurately and safely without your shoes. Work on just YOU before you work on you with your shoes.
*** NEW SEGMENT IN MY BLOGS***
A few members gave me the great idea to do a “Tip of the Week”! Most of the time it will pertain to movement and improving your health… sometimes it will pertain to miscellaneous stuff. Today I will give you an example of both:
TIP OF THE WEEK:
- Are you taking fish oil right now? YOU NEED TO BE. Read this.
- Just because you aren’t the last class of the day doesn’t mean you can leave equipment, cups, chalked up bars and whatever else you want lying around so that I can run around and clean it all up when we close late at night. As much as I love staying in the gym till 10:00pm, I would rather get home to eat dinner and watch the last few minutes of either the Knicks or Rangers breaking my heart with yet another loss. Thank you!