I’m often asked about training shoes. For example, is it worth investing in weightlifting shoes with an elevated heel for squats? Should you deadlift in those shoes, or is it better to pull barefoot? What about minimalist, “barefoot-style” shoes? And to be honest, fitness footwear isn’t something I’ve spent a lot of time looking into, so I wanted to invite an expert in the field onto the podcast to discuss the topic. That’s why Jake Boly is joining me for an interview in this episode, to not only explain the differences between fitness shoes, why they matter, and what to look for in a pair gym shoes based on your training, but to also give specific model recommendations.
In case you’re not familiar with Jake, he’s the founder of That Fit Friend, a site dedicated to testing and reviewing the best training shoes and apparel, and creating content to help people make informed buying decisions. A lot of review content out there is nothing more than undercover marketing and paid advertising, but Jake actually runs the gear through the ringer and puts it to the test in real-life both inside and outside the gym, so he can give a genuine, useful review of its performance.
In this interview, Jake and I talk about . . .
- What to look for in a training shoe
- The different types of shoes, including different materials and construction and how they impact performance and durability
- Who should use weightlifting shoes
- What heel drop is, why it matters, and how it affects your squats and deadlifts
- Barefoot training and “barefoot” style shoes
- Specific recommendations of models to check out
- Signs you might not have the right pair of shoes
- And more . . .
So if you want to learn what to look for in a pair of shoes for the gym or other types of training, listen to this interview!
0:00 – Save up to 30% during our Black Friday Sale! https://buylegion.com/
6:54 – What should we be looking for in training shoes?
12:55 – Have you reviewed any shoes that are the best for certain training exercises?
22:41 – Do we need proper weight lifting shoes? Does it really make a difference?
28:46 – Are there any other benefits to wearing weightlifting shoes?
39:36 – What are your thoughts on weightlifting with no shoes?
45:43 – Is there any truth to the marketing of running shoes?
48:03 – What are common signs that your running shoes aren’t right for you?
49:53 – Are shin splints caused by shoe type?
1:02:50 – Is there anything else you would like to add?
1:04:35 – Where can people find you?
1:05:27 – Are there any shoes or companies that are terrible?
1:07:54 – Are there any popular shoes that you don’t recommend?
Mentioned on the Show:
Save up to 30% during our Black Friday Sale! Go to buylegion.com and use coupon code MUSCLE to save even more or get double reward points!
Jake’s website: thatfitfriend.com
Jake’s Youtube channel: https://youtube.com/jakebolytraining/
Jake’s Instagram: https://instagram.com/jake_boly/
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello and welcome to Muscle For Life. I am your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to learn about training shoes. Something I’m asked fairly often about people will ask if they should invest in proper weightlifting shoes. For example, with a, an elevated heel for squats in particular.
Then they’ll ask if they should deadlift in those shoes as well. Or maybe should they have a flat sold pair of shoes without the elevated heel to deadlift in? Or should they get rid of their shoes altogether and pull. Barefoot, what about minimalist kind of barefoot style shoes and so on and so forth.
And I have my personal preferences, but I have not looked into training shoes as much as today’s guest Jake Bowley has. And so I wanted to invite him on the show to geek out on shoes. And so that is what Jake does in today’s interview. He talks about the differences between different types of fitness shoes and why the differences matter and what you should look for in a pair of gym shoes based on how you train and if you should have more than one type of pair for different types of training.
And Jake also gives specific model recommendations based on the hundreds of shoes that he has tested over the years. And if you’re not familiar with Jake, he is the founder of that Fit Friend, which is a site dedicated to testing and reviewing the best. Training shoes and apparel, and one of the things that I like about Jake’s work is he’s not just a paid chill.
A lot of review content out there is just undercover marketing and paid shilling, but Jake actually runs the gear through the ringer and puts it all to the test inside the gym, outside the gym, and gives an honest review regardless of what the companies may think. In fact, Jake mentioned in this interview that he no longer accepts gear from companies just because he doesn’t want to set any expectations about his reviews.
So he decides what he wants to try out, and he buys it and tries it out, and then shares his. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me do more of it, please do check out my sports Nutrition company Legion, because while you don’t need supplements to build muscle, lose fat and get healthy, the right ones can help.
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That is B Y L E G I O n.com. And that means for the next 10 days or so, you can save up to 30% on everything in our store, including our protein powders, our pre-workout, our post-workout, our fat burner, our multivitamin, our joint support supplement, and. And you’ll get a free $20 gift card on all orders over $99, a free $30 gift card on all orders over $149, and a free $40 gift card on all orders over $199.
And so what that means then is you can save up to 50% actually because you’re getting 30% right off the top and then you are getting an additional 20% in the form of a gift card that you can redeem for anything in our store. So skedaddle on over to buy legion.com, that’s py legion.com right now and save big before we run out of stock of at least a thing or two, which happens every year during our Black Friday Cyber Monday sale.
No matter how much forecasting we try to do, no matter how fancy our software is, there are always. A handful of SKUs that just sell two or three times what we expect and run out of stock. So again, head over to buy legion.com, place your order, save up to 50% and have a happy holiday. Hey Jake.
Jake: Hey Mike.
Thanks for having me on.
Mike: Thanks for coming on to do this and I’m glad we got it sorted out. What we’re talking about free listening, I had it in my mind that I was doing a success story interview every month or so. I like to bring somebody on the show just to talk about, maybe they read a book of mine, maybe they did some legion coaching something and let people hear their story of how they transformed their health and fitness in some way.
I thought that’s what this was. And so I was, before we got on, I was running that by Jake and he. I don’t I’m like the training shoe guy. I’m not sure I’ll have a good . That was funny. But good. Now I know why we’re here.
Jake: Everybody listening would’ve been
Mike: Yeah. You could have just, you could have just made
Jake: it all up. know if that’s on brand for me, since I do review content. I don’t know if making things up is necessarily the best. Look. .
Mike: Yep. That’s a good answer. Now, but we’re here to talk about training shoes and I like it. This is a good topic.
That’s why we’re here. Damien had found you and then proposed this and I was like, oh yeah, this is good. Because I get asked about this actually fairly often and people who follow me on social media, they’ll see that I squat in squat shoes. I have some Adi. Squat shoes or weightlifting shoes.
Otherwise I train in the company is zero with an x. I don’t know which type of shoe it is, but it’s just their simple minimalist flat sold training shoe. I like it for dead lifting cuz I, I don’t like the raised heel for the deadlift. And otherwise I don’t, I haven’t put much thought into training shoes.
Jake: so here we are. I’m stoked that you you brought zero shoes cause I’ve reviewed some of their models and also Adidas weight lifting shoes and yeah man, we could dive into the weeds on these and go deep into how shoes can influence training, which shoes to use and which settings and so forth.
And like everybody has their own take on this. So please, as a listener, remember that there is a lot that goes into this conversation and is very multifactorial and at the end of the day too, What you’re gonna wanna wear is gonna be what’s gonna allow you to perform your best and what you feel most comfortable in.
But yeah, I’m super excited to chat on shoes cause it always gets me jazzed up. Yeah, it’s
Mike: great. Let’s just start with then, training shoes. What to look for in a pair of training Shoes. Obviously you can run through some different use cases, depends on what you’re doing, right? Obviously if you’re running that’s a different set of criteria versus squatting.
Jake: just start. Yeah. And so just for a little bit of background too, for everybody, my name is Jake. I run a site and YouTube channel called That Fit Friend. On those verticals, I review cross-training shoes, weightlifting shoes, and barefoot shoes. So basically any type of shoe you’ll want to wear for your training, I try to review because those are the shoes that I wear for my training.
And it depends on obviously what I’m doing for the day, but that’s how I make my shoe selection. And yeah, when it comes to training shoes, I think it would be best to start with what makes a good cross training shoe. So what makes a good shoe that you can wear for like a hit workout, lifting a blend of different verticals.
And now within cross training shoes, you can get more niche within those two. So like you have like shoes that are focused for CrossFit, and you’ll have construction features into those that will vary from something like a Nike free Macon four, which you’d use for like a class or a hit workout. But generally speaking, when it comes to training shoes, like what makes a good shoe, there are three things that I would say are worth considering.
And these are like pretty broad for the most, like recreational lifting community out there, population out there. And the first thing you’re gonna wanna look for is the midsole construction and the level of stability and responsiveness that you get from different shoes. For example, if you are lifting fairly heavy in your training shoes, you’re gonna want a midol.
It’s a bit more stable in nature. This is why you’re not gonna wanna squat heavy in running shoes. You’re gonna get a lot of compression. You’re not gonna get as much stability. You’re not gonna be able to root the feet in the ground. So your midsole is gonna be super important based on how you like to train.
If you like to do a lot of class style work, if you like to do a lot of hit workouts, you might want something that’s a little bit more responsive. So something that gives you a bit more bounce in spring with your step if you do want a training shoe for that context. But a midsole is really important because that’s basically going to then factor in to the performance.
You’re gonna get outta the shoe in regard to the stability and responsiveness based on how you like to train. The second feature that I would say look into is the outsole construction. And now this is the bottom of the shoe. So this is like that rubber and tread on the bottom of the shoe. The midsole is that little material that separates the foot from the floor.
So that’s like that layer of foam or whatever it might be in your shoe. So the outsole is important because. Different training means will require different levels of tread. So for example, if you’re training on turf, you’re gonna want a shoe that’s primarily a rubber outsole shoe with some slightly more aggressive tread patterning that’s gonna allow you to not slip.
So if you’re doing heavy sled pushes, if you’re doing any form of lateral explosive work, you’re not gonna be sliding all around. Also, you’d want this for training outdoors because concrete can wreak havoc on shoes that have exposed foam on the outsole. So the outsole is really important based on how you also like to train.
So similar to the meso, if you train, for example, indoors, you can have a wider range of outsoles that will generally work. So if you’re training mostly on like rubber gym floors, Any form of outsole, patterning will generally work based on what you’re doing now, as you get more niche, as you get more explosive with your training, you may wanna look more specifically into outsoles.
That’ll give you more grip, more tread, et cetera. And then if you do train outdoors, if you train on wooden platforms, you’re gonna want something with more tread to really give you a nice bite and grip into the ground. And that way you’re not having slip issues when you’re lifting, when you’re doing any form of cleaning, any form of dynamic work.
The third feature that I would say to look into and explore is the upper construction. So this isn’t essentially like the upper part of the shoe, it’s what helps lock your foot down and give you security. So for cross training shoes, this is super important because. Similar to the Mitchell and Outsole, based on how you train, this is gonna influence your foot security and also the long term durability of the shoe.
This is why, like for example, you don’t wanna use like a hit focus shoe for CrossFit workouts because it will just destroy the upper of that shoe. You’re gonna have to replace that model super quick. So the upper construction is important because if you are training in a means that is gonna be putting a lot of abrasion on the upper of your shoes, so let’s say you’re doing a lot of toe dragging work, so that could be like burpees or that could be like doing prone to sprint work where you’re gonna be dragging that toe.
You’re gonna want an upper that has a slightly more beefier toe guard and synthetic layer or like any form of basically reinforced material around that toe box. And then if you’re doing any form of lateral work, generally you’ll want an upper with support around the upper. Portions of the shoe on the lateral and medial side of that shoe.
So basically around the midfoot, right around the base of the four foot. Because as you’re cutting and as you’re digging in, you’re gonna want something that’s gonna allow your foot to stay in place and not spill over the, so that way you’re not having slip issues. And that way you get a little bit more ground feedback when doing those exercises.
And obviously that will vary a ton. And that’s something too to explore based on how you train. If you’re doing something like in a class setting, you’re gonna want something that’s secure, but also breathable. If you’re doing something for CrossFit, you’ll want something a little bit more reinforced. And then if you’re just doing more general lifting, you can generally get away with a little bit of a wider range of uppers that will work.
But having an upper that’s a bit more secure in nature will usually be best for most folks who are gonna be planning to do like more explosive work, blended with lifting, maybe blended with some short running here and there to tie all of those verticals. To one thing. I know that’s a lot of things, but I tried to keep it just the three features to explore just as like your bare bones foundational stuff to look for.
And then as you get more niche, you’ll want to be a little bit more specific with those features.
Mike: Yeah, no, that’s a great start and a great summary of what to look for in a training shoe. Let’s take those three use case scenarios. We have someone like me, I get in the gym, I lift some weights.
My cardio is back there on a bike, so that doesn’t matter. And then we have maybe somebody who goes and does classes or they do some high intensity type work, not on a bike. And then we have CrossFit, the cross training type of person. Are there specific shoes? Even if it’s just your favorite. One shoe for each of those use case, or there are a couple of shoes that are just the best that you’ve reviewed in your opinion, for those types of modalities, I guess you could say.
Jake: Yeah, and this is where it gets tough too, because everybody will have their own preferences. Like for example, I know you mentioned that you like training in barefoot shoes, so that’s also a very viable and popular option as well. Although I’ll
Mike: say I don’t feel like married to it. I don’t really care, to be totally honest.
So the founder of Zero, he came on my podcast, we talked shoes and stuff. He sent me a pair and I was like, oh, these are cool. And I’ve just used them ever since. Right now I’m wearing, what’s the company? Apl. These are. Probably even like proper training shoes. I think they’re more about the aesthetic and the style.
So I haven’t really thought about this much at all, so I can’t say that, oh, bare barefoot shoe is my thing. Who knows? I might compare to other options. If you were to sit down, if you’re like, all right, we’re gonna go to the store and we’re gonna try some different shoes, I might actually hate Barefoot
I don’t know . Gotcha. Good. Okay. That’s underst Understood. Because yeah, with Barefoot Shoes, I was gonna dive into the fact that I think there’s a little bit of a dogmatism to that style of footwear. It’s a weird thing right now that we’re going through, like where the
Mike: marketing has stretched so far.
I’m like, I’m. I can’t as a consumer, it’s hard. You’re asking people to believe a lot from
Jake: just a shoe. We could save that for later in this podcast because I got some very strong opinions on that. But, okay. So the best shoes for these different verticals. So for like hit style training. So let’s say you like to blend like a lot of athletic style work.
You like to jump a lot, you like to do classes. Couple of models off the top of my head that I’ve really been enjoying is number one, trying to think. Cause I’m always like, I’m looking at like the 80 pairs of shoes right now spread around my room. I’ve really been enjoying the. New balance minimus tr boa.
Now that’s a very controversial pick and a lot of people don’t like that model and for a couple different reasons. So I like this shoe because it’s super lightweight. It has a narrow fit. So if you have a neutral width or wider foot pass on this shoe, don’t even consider it. But I like the boa lacing system because when I’m doing any form of like athletic style work, I have a very specific like level of security I like.
So the BOA does give me that like micro adjustment with it. And so that’s a very interesting pick and I probably wouldn’t pick this maybe tomorrow, but like today I’m looking at it, I’m like, I really like that shoe for jumping and like some explosive work.
Mike: When you say that, it’s funny I go immediately back to, oh, this was probably eight years ago or so, I was training.
In New Balance Minimus. I don’t know if it was boa. I don’t remember that, but I remember training for a couple of years, at least a year in a pair of New Balance Minimus shoes. Probably one of their earlier. I don’t know how long it’s been around, but I liked it. It was a good shoe.
Jake: They’re great shoes.
It’s just it. My issue is New Balance is that they have so much potential, they just don’t sink enough resources into those shoes. So the fact that they’re as narrow as they are, and like I’ve had durability issues with that model when it comes to rope climbing too. Like they have a lot of potential, but I don’t think they have the right team doing the backend work and the testing and like the AB stuff with those models.
But that’s a good model. If you have a narrow foot. Anybody else who has a neutral with or knit wide foot, just pass on that shoe because your feet are gonna be screaming at you. Another great model that I’ve been enjoying is the Innovate F Light 2 35 v3. The reason I like this shoe is because it feels very athletic in nature.
If you like shoes that feel more sock or almost like cleat, like that’s a really good shoe to explore. It also can work for CrossFit, it can work for heavier lifting, but it gives you a lot of articulation with the foot. So if you’re doing sprint work, if you’re doing sled work, this shoe is really great for giving you a nice level of articulation.
Mike: also trained in a pair of innovates for again, at least a year or two, and I liked
Jake: those as well. Innovate are great, man. I think a lot of people sleep on them at times. Granted, like with innovate too, I think they could do a little bit of an update to their sizing scale, but we can dive into that.
Another time. I don’t know how their
Mike: marketing is now, but back when I was training ’em, I remember their marketing. Just wasn’t up to the level of at least some of their bigger money competitors, which works against them for sure.
Jake: Yeah, and I, you know what’s, you know what’s interesting? I was listening to the podcast with their founder on how I built this, and they’ve gone through so many changes, I think on the back end when it comes to ownership over the last, I think decade or so that I’m wondering how much that factors into it.
And I’m wondering as they get more and more like with their current processes and with their current founder, who I believe is actually the original founder before he sold it and then had to get it back and it’s a cool episode if you like, how I built this and like the building of companies. But I’m curious like over the next couple of years if they’ll start sinking hopefully more money into the lifting and CrossFit community because they have so much potential and they have a lot of great models that people I think just overlook.
Because you see the Reebok, you see the Nikes, you see the new. Companies coming up like Tier Rad and some of those shoes. So I’m curious to see how they’re gonna land over the next couple of years. But speaking of CrossFit models, two models that come to mind that I’ve really been enjoying is number one, the RAD one.
So RAD is a new company. They are. Brand new to the market as of this year. Their shoe is really solid. It has a lot of what you want for a really good CrossFit shoe. It’s durable, has a nice level of stability, has a good blend of responsiveness. Honestly, you can use this shoe too for hit workouts and just more general recreational lifting.
You don’t even have to be focused on CrossFit to enjoy that model. So the red one is awesome and they’re a smaller company. I love supporting smaller companies as well, the homegrown companies. And then the other model that I’ve been. Is the Tier CX T one trainer. So Tier is brand new to the CrossFit community.
They have sunk a ton of money into the product development side of their training shoes, and I’ve been enjoying their shoes for one specific reason, outside of like it being a good, stable and also responsive shoe, that feels pretty good for a variety of movements. It has a higher heel to tow drop, and so heel to toe drop, essentially for anybody who may not know is the elevation that your heel is from your four foot in the shoe.
So four CrossFit shoes. Generally you’ll have something around like four millimeters. This is like what the older Reebok nanos have. This is what the Nike Mets have. But in the tier CX T one trainer, you have a drop of nine millimeters. This is pretty high for a CrossFit shoe. However, I’m a lanky dude. I have long femurs and shins.
So similar, like when I squat like you, I like wearing weightlifting shoes because it helps feed better into my mechanics. So for wall balls, for thrusters, for squats, having a higher drop on that shoe, actually, Is a game changer for me because I feel a lot more comfortable. I don’t have to fight as much for depth, and it just feeds into my biomechanics a little bit better when it comes to lower body movements.
Did we have a third, did we have a third category you wanted to cover? Yeah. So we
Mike: had just everyday gym going, and then we had the hit high intensity type jumping around, and then the CrossFit.
Jake: Yeah, so for like just everyday trainers that work pretty well.
Mike: Probably what you already mentioned, if somebody’s already looking online and they’re like, oh, that looks like a good shoe.
We’re just walking around moving from, bench
Jake: to machine. A hundred percent. Yeah. And that’s the thing too, like with like everyday trainers and more recreational lifting, you get away with anything really. And that’s where I would say I would more so look into shoes that have fits that really align well with your foot anatomy and models with price points.
Color ways that also resonate with you because look good, feel good, lift good. But like just for something that’s every day that you can wear out and about. And also maybe like even wear traveling and whatnot, because I constantly run into the conundrum of okay, I need one pair of shoes for travel, and I only have space in my backpack for one pair of shoes.
What can I wear out in my wear out in my feet all day? Going around the Reebok Nano 12 is a pretty good option, and that’s a pretty decent shoe for folks with neutral width, feet to slightly wider feet. They do a pretty good job at being okay for a little bit of everything. Not everybody’s gonna resonate with that model.
Like it’s not your best shoe for CrossFit. It’s not really your best shoe for heavy lifting, but for doing a little bit of everything, it’s an okay shoe. And what
Mike: about going and walking a lot? I run into the same thing. If I’m traveling, I don’t wanna bring, I want a shoe I can wear in the gym.
Ideally, that is something I can also just wear out and about if I’m gonna be walking a lot outside or whatever.
Jake: Totally. Yeah. So one of my favorite models right now is the strike movement Pace trainer. And so that’s a model too, that has like a bias towards CrossFit and heavier lifting. But the reason why I like this model is when I’m walking a lot, I like having a bit more articulation with my shoe.
So I don’t like having a super thick shoe. I like having a shoe that can be a lot more mobile. It’s generally a little bit more comfortable long term. And so that model is fantastic because it one looks pretty casual. Like you can wear that in a slightly more formal setting and get away with it. Nobody’s gonna be like, oh, that’s a Nike training shoe.
Why are you wearing that in this formal setting? Outside of just looking and having a nice clean aesthetic, it just works really well for a lot of different training verticals. So it’s that type of shoe that you can walk longer periods in, but then also go deadlift 500 pounds in and not have to worry about it.
So I really dig that shoe for that, and I just like the clean aesthetic of it. Like I’m a minimalist when it comes to branding, when what I prefer. So if you do like cleaner aesthetics and shoes that you can wear slightly more formally and also feel comfortable in the Hayes Trainer from Strike Movement’s a pretty great option.
Mike: Nice. Let’s talk about weightlifting now. This is something that. This is what I get asked the most about either because people see that, I’ll squat in a weightlifting shoe, or they are just curious, should I buy proper weightlift shoes? Does it really make a
Jake: difference? Yeah.
And so this is a great topic because this one too is very multifactorial. And when it comes to weightlifting shoes, I typically recommend just investing in a, you could even go with a budget friendly pair that’s like a hundred dollars USD in, they’ll last you for years. But when you have an elevated heel from a Weightlift shoe, it’s going to change your lower body mechanic slightly when you’re doing things like squats, when you’re cleaning, when you’re snatching.
And what it’s going to do is, A lot of times we don’t naturally possess the ankle range of motion to sink deep squats while maintaining a good upright torso with back squats. So especially high bar back squats with cleans when we catch our cleans and we’re trying to keep a more upright torso. And so what that elevated heel is going to do is it’s going to basically put our ankles into an environment that allows for more forward knee translation.
So think about if you had like your max range of motion in your ankle, like here, and then you brought it up to here, you’re not increasing the range of motion in your ankle. You’re just creating a slight difference in where your foot is initially. Basically positioned to where your knees can track more forward.
So that knee tracking is going to allow you to sit, quote unquote, on that heel to maintain a more upright torso. So if you often find that you’re falling a little bit forward on your squats, or if it is really tough to hit depth, or if you have to shoot your legs out super wide just to sink a squat, an elevated heel will most likely feel super comfortable for you.
And you don’t have to invest in a pair of wheel lifting shoes right away to see if you would resonate with what they’re gonna do. You can honestly just use a plate, like a 10 pound plate for a couple of lighter sets. I would not suggest using that for your heavier sets.
Mike: That’s the other question. And people are like, can’t I just put plates under my feet?
If you’re warming up. But I wouldn’t do your hard sets with plates under your
Jake: feet a hundred percent. And so like you can use that for some lighter work to see, okay, how does this feel for my squat? Do I feel more comfortable with that? And if you do, then it might be worth investing in a pair of weightlifting shoes.
And the reason you wouldn’t wanna use a plate for heavier work is because when you look at what that plate is gonna do, essentially your arch is floating. You don’t have anything supporting that part of your foot. So as you get heavier and as that weight starts compressing that foot, that can lead to some arch discomfort.
Plus, when you think about the variability of the shoes that you’re probably wearing and then putting on that plate, that’s gonna then interact with the floor and your feet a lot differently. So I often just say, hedge your bets and just don’t use a plate for heavier work. Like just. Whatever, a hundred dollars into like a Reebok lifter PR two, or a rogue do and weightlifting shoe, they’re like $9,500 shoes and they’ll last you a while and they’ll be a lot better performance wise versus using a plate, but essentially with a Weightlift shoe.
Not everybody needs to use them, but they’re going to allow you to put your knees into an environment that allows them to translate forward more, so they will generally have a positive effect on your squat patterning. Now, that doesn’t mean just use those every time you squat. I think it could be very important to use like, Barefoot shoes for squats here and there, and cross-training shoes and expose your ankle and feet to different environments and ranges of motion that allow you to basically give yourself different levels of stressors during your squat.
Now, if you do have a preferred means for squatting heavy, and if you’re doing heavy singles, doubles, triples, stay consistent with your footwear. However, I don’t like the idea of oh, you have to use this all the time. I like the idea of okay, let’s create some variability and create some different exposures.
But when it’s go time and when the rubber hits the road, basically you have your set like equipment list that you always go to and use, because that’s gonna create familiarity and that’s gonna create better performance for those more serious sessions.
Mike: Yeah. For me, anything, let’s say fives or heavier, I definitely want to wear my shoes.
And also I like knee sleeves just because they add a little bit of, I feel, Maybe a little bit of joint stability. I’ve covered a little bit of the research. There isn’t much research on knee sleeves, but they might help a little bit as what the research shows. They certainly don’t hurt.
I seem to notice a slight difference in just how my joints feel, and I like that it keeps my knees warm while I’m resting in between sets. So that’s my belt as well for just, bracing. I actually do all of it if I’m doing eights or tens, but to your point, I would be more willing to try other things if I’m doing eights or tens.
But with the really heavy stuff, I’ve tried it different ways and there’s no question I perform best with my belt, my sleeves, and my shoes when the weights
Jake: get heavy. Yeah, and that’s super important for every lifter out there, which is if you’re like in that beginner, intermediate stage, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of equipment to see what works best for you.
And then that way, as you do get more advanced in your lifting career and more intermediate where you are like, Towing that line of getting more advanced or you’re maybe thinking about getting into strength sports, then you’ll have your equipment list or like things that you like to have to allow you to perform your best.
And I love that. And honestly too, on that Nestle point, it’s similar I feel like to shoes in a lot of ways, especially with more niche shoes in the realms of CrossFit and whatnot. There’s not a ton of research that really says definitively oh, you need this style of thing for this. But there’s such a mental component of that I think is so incredibly important that not every piece of research is gonna be able to show.
And so like similar with knee sleeves, like if you mentally feel stronger with them. Cause I’m the same way. I ruptured my quad back in 2017 and I like knee leaves for my heavier squats because the mental component of that injury, like rock ’em, it’s not gonna take away from your performance.
It’s not gonna Decrease your knee tendon health. There are so many other ways to do and focus on that, that are not your heavier squats. So I love that point. I’m really happy you brought that up. Coming back
Mike: to the weightlifting shoes, are there any other benefits? This might just be my perception to your point you just made.
I do feel like I like the wider heel, so I feel like I’m just a little bit stabler in those shoes, especially when the weights are heavy, especially if I’m doing heavy front squats, which can even be a little bit more awkward, especially like you get deep into a set and you’re in the hole and you’re struggling to keep your elbows up.
So I do feel like I’m a little bit stabler in my weightlift shoes versus even a good training shoe. And it might just be mental. And then one other thing I do seem. To feel in my weightlifting shoes is I can screw my feet into the ground a little bit better. And that feels tighter and stabler.
And for people listening literally, like if, as if your feet were screws, turning them clockwise like into the ground helps keep your knees where they need to be, helps engage some of the smaller muscles that can contribute to the squat. What are your thoughts on those?
Jake: Totally. Yeah. And those are some of the other reasons why you would want to invest in Weightlift shoes.
So you’re right on the money with there. So outside of that elevated heel, allowing those knees to translate forward a bit more generally with Weightlift shoes too, to your point, you’re gonna have a nice like beefy heel cup, so you’ll have this nice stable base and like outside of that heel cup locking down that heel, the soul of a weightlifting shoe is nice and flat.
It’s gonna be a little bit wider generally than the cup of the shoe. And so when you’re looking at squat movement patterns, right? Generally once that knee starts passing 90 degrees and you start going deeper than that, you’re always gonna have a little bit of internal rotation. And so what that can do if you’re wearing a pair of like shoes that don’t necessarily have the most stable soul is it can pull you inward a little bit.
Not the biggest deal. But when you are really focusing on getting heavier and really dialing in your mechanics, having something that keeps you a little bit more in place can keep you within that deviation of your form that’s gonna allow you to perform your best without taking you outta that to where you have to like almost save a lift or bail on a lift.
So on the money with that. So the nice flatter heel is usually really great for allowing folks to feel nice and stable and controlled in their movements. Also, you’re gonna have outsoles that are nice and stable and flat as well. So feeding alpha that heel, you’ll have a midfoot and four foot that’ll allow you to really just grip the floor.
So to your point of screwing the feet in the floor. That generally is the outsole helping to really grip on the platform, whether it be like the wooden platforms you’re lifting on or the rubber gym floors. They’re designed to have a nice level of grip and tread. That’s why you’ll never see a weightlifting shoe with any form of exposed foam or texture that doesn’t grip the floor well, except for in the Nordic power lifting Weightlift shoes, wherever the fuck they call, they’re not great.
Don’t buy them, do not get them on Amazon. I haven’t seen these. I’ll make
Mike: a mental note to search
Jake: this. And they’re not good. Okay, so I’m looking
Mike: at these shoes. Yeah. These are very ugly too. Wow.
Jake: Nordic lifting. ugly, but like the outsole on them is like this weird blend of this rubbery slash.
Foamy material. And so the issue with those is like once they get dirty, like you start sliding all around. And so they have a great price point, but they’re just not very good quality.
Mike: Their price point on their website is one 50. I guess it’s marked down to a hundred dollars right now. But I mean it, it could even be fake, but still a hundred dollars.
You have options now. It’s not
Jake: 50 bucks. A hundred percent. And also like on Amazon, I think they’re like marked down from like one 50 to 90 or a hundred consistently. And it’s I think they just probably do that nonstop. Cause I reviewed those shoes like eight months ago. And if they’re still marked down, like there’s no holiday right now, we’re like mid-September.
They actually don’t
Mike: even say on sale. It just has a strike through . It’s maybe it represents what they wish people would. But
Jake: this is what they’ll actually pay. Yeah. Who knows? It’s an odd shoe. But also when it comes to what to look like, why weightlifting shoes for squats and whatnot is generally you’ll have straps too that go across the midfoot.
And so to that point of feeling locked down and stable in the heel, those midfoot straps are going to allow you to basically like just keep a flatter foot position. So it comes more important I think, for snatches and cleaning jerks because that’s where you’re gonna be more dynamic. That’s where you do not want your heel at all coming outta the shoe.
So having any heel slip issues or your foot feeling like it’s pulling outta the shoe. So those midfoot straps can also be really fantastic for just giving you this nice, stable feel. And a lot of that yes. Is proprioception. Feeling like you feel more stable there. But there is I think a niche population out there that has heel slip issues naturally with shoes.
So having those straps really help give you that level of security and extra level of security that you want for that style of training. Makes sense.
Mike: While we’re talking weightlifting shoes, what about deadlift? Deadlifting in a weightlifting
Jake: shoe? I always say, just because you can doesn’t mean you should, because there, this is a two-prong thing, right?
So it’s if you’re a weightlifter and if you’re competing in weightlifting, or if you eventually want to compete in weightlift, there is merit to pulling in your weightlift shoes. So like doing like clean pulls, for example, especially heavier clean pulls, or just getting used to pulling heavier weight with weight lifting shoes, like that’s sport specific.
So that’s you getting used to that feeling for a heavier cleaning jerk of pulling heavier weight with that elevated heel, because that will change your mechanic slightly in your deadlift. That’s gonna bring your knees more forward. This is why generally with weight lifting, you will see more quad involvement off the floor when it comes to that first pull.
Now for the recreational lifter, I often say don’t, because number one, you’re gonna be adding range of motion to your pull. So basically as you lift that weight, why would you wanna add another. Three quarters of an inch to your deadlift. The idea is to cut down a range of motion and move the most weight possible.
It’s not gonna take away from your gains because I’ve had, I actually have a video of this on my YouTube channel. I had somebody like isn’t more range of motion better? It’s not all range of motion is like equivocable when it comes to the benefit, it’s gonna carry over. It’s just because it’s more doesn’t mean it’s necessarily more, and that’s a whole nother conversation,
Mike: basically is there a place for a deficit deadlift?
Yeah, sure. Would you always do a deficit deadlift?
Jake: No, exactly. And like to that point as well, like even a deficit in an elevated heel, it’s gonna change your foot mechanics and that’s gonna change your knee mechanics and that’s gonna change your pulling mechanics. So outside of adding range of motion, like when you have the elevated heel, you’re gonna be putting those knees naturally more forward.
Not necessarily a bad thing, because I’m a huge proponent of using more quad in your pull, but it will change your hit mechanics a little bit. And so when it comes to consistency with deadlifting, I often say go with a flatter foot position. It’s generally going to be better. It’s going to feel more comfortable.
For most folks, especially like taller individuals, I think it can be really uncomfortable pulling with elevated heels. I don’t
Mike: like it for that reason. I already, I wouldn’t say at this point I don’t struggle with it. I’ve had to train myself to get my shins a little bit more upright because I, like you, I don’t know how tall you are, but I have, I’m six two, I have long femurs, so if I.
Don’t pay attention, although maybe I’ve done enough reps now where I’ve reprogrammed it, but previously if I didn’t pay attention, I’m getting down into the bottom to pull my knees would tend to be more forward than back. And to your point, okay, that is one way to do it. But it is more stressful on the back and it takes, the hamstrings out of it a little bit.
And so once I started to play with that and get into get my knees a little bit back and I can’t get to perfectly perpendicular shins to the ground, like some people say, you need always, period. I know that’s not for me. That’s not my, how my body’s made, but getting somewhere a little bit.
Behind where I was previously, I did have to drop the weight a little bit. However, I feel more comfortable now pulling in that position. I’ve had to get used to also just flattening my back out correctly. Once I got everything the way it needed to be, that’s now my preferred way to pull, so the elevated heel, sorry, my point of saying that it’s elevated heel would just make it harder. Now, if I were to go to an elevated heel, I would be like, I’d have to almost relearn again. All right, I need to get further back now.
Jake: A hundred percent. And so for the recreational lifter, to that point, I would just say, do not pull on weight lifting shoes.
It’s gonna change your mechanics. It’s going to put your knees more forward than you probably need in your pull. And if you’re not sport specific for weight lifting, you don’t probably want to do that. And also when we think too about the carryover from like a deadlift to an RDL and like the hit mechanics we want and the shin angle we want.
If you’re pulling, let’s say in weightlifting shoes, you’re not gonna probably use those for rls. So great. Now you’re gonna make it harder for yourself to figure out your hip positioning and like the eccentric loading patterning there it’s a whole lot of headache that I don’t think people need.
And also it makes you less efficient in many ways for a lot of lifters. And like why be less efficient with your lifts? Especially with a concentric focused lift, like a deadlift where the goal is moving weight. Why do that in the first place? So yeah, just because you can doesn’t mean you should, if you’re not sports specific, I would recommend not doing it.
Mike: Agreed. I’ve found and this is the case really for anybody who has gotten at least moderately strong on, on a lift like the deadlift, that as the weights get heavy, little things start to matter more. And for me, for example, if I don’t pack my kind of shoulders and get my lats engaged properly, that rep doesn’t feel right.
It just doesn’t. And the point where my knees are, if I don’t get that exactly right, it doesn’t feel right. These little things, they don’t matter so much. If you’re just starting
Jake: out 100%, it’s a game of inches. As you get like more to that one RM territory, and especially as you start to pass that three times body weight threshold, like little tiny things can make the difference.
Like even like just. Feet a little bit off. Even having just a little bit of a hip displacement when you’re starting to pull that it just, it can sink your sink, your pulls. So yeah you’re on the money there. It’s a game of inches as, especially as you get more into your lifting career and as you start like having that weight really go up.
Mike: there, if you are hearing this, you are still listening, which is awesome. Thank you. And if you are enjoying this podcast, or if you just like my podcast in general and you are getting at least something out of it, would you mind sharing it with a friend or a loved one or a not so loved one even who might want to learn something new?
Word of mouth helps really bigly in growing the show. So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do tell them. Let’s let’s shift to no shoes which is also, I usually get asked in the context of dev. I think that sometimes squatting as well. What do you think about just doing it?
I guess most people, they do it in their socks or, I don’t know, maybe some people even take their socks off on it. Yeah,
Jake: so I, I’m a big fan of lifting barefoot, especially when it comes to like deadlifts. When it comes to rls. But I think there’s a bigger topic to be discussed here where it’s like, cool, we have weight lifting shoes, we have training shoes, we have barefoot shoes.
I think it’s really important for lifters and athletes, especially if you wanna build just well rounded like foot strength, different abilities to access different ranges of motion with the ankles and whatnot, to expose your feet to different footwear styles. Now again, this circles back to our first point.
Would I do a one M with a barefoot? No, because that’s not gonna feed well into my mechanics. But like I could do walking lunges barefoot. I could do split squats. I could do different variations to where I can do those barefoot, feel comfortable and still perform my best, but then also get that nice benefit of exposing my foot to this different environment, building up some of my art strength, or even just building up some of the foot musculature, so the intrinsic foot muscles that might not necessarily be getting the same exposure and stressors as wearing a weightlifting shoe or as wearing a training shoe.
So I think the big thing with training barefoot is that it can be super beneficial. Now, is it gonna be the best for every context for everybody? No. And I don’t like the idea of forcing yourself or somebody to train barefoot because of some arbitrary benefit that some barefoot shoe’s trying to sell you.
But I do see merit in using barefoot training in barefoot shoe styles, like minimal shoes here and there for context where you are trying to just expose the feet and ankles to different environments that can build a more well-rounded, basically athletic base for yourself. Squatting barefoot is not gonna be for everybody, especially when it comes to one rms, especially when it comes to different squat styles, but implementing some barefoot training here and there for variations.
It doesn’t even have to be squats that feed well into your mechanics in your body and just how you’re anatomically built can be super important. And that’s I think the bigger piece of the puzzle that doesn’t get talked about, especially with a lot of the marketing campaigns from Barefoot Shoes of great, I’m not gonna give my mom barefoot training protocol because like she’s very beginner, like she has no foot strengths.
She doesn’t even have good mechanics when it comes to lunges and squats like, I dunno. I think there’s a lot that gets overlooked with that topic, but I’m big on barefoot training. I just think that there needs to be strategy there, and especially when it comes to, if you’ve only worn shoes your whole life, like you need to gradually expose yourself to the stress that barefoot style training is going to have on you.
Like especially barefoot running,
Mike: right? 100%. If you are doing none of that and then you try to jump into a high volume barefoot running program, get ready for pain,
Jake: it’s just so silly because the research is still not conclusive on one style of footwear for running. And I think. That when we consider like the difference in anatomies and the difference in like tissue’s abilities, like to basically manage all this stress, it’s so variable.
And that’s one thing too that I think is really important is that if you do want to implement more barefoot training into your program, be gradual with it. Don’t go straight up doing trics barefoot if you’ve never done them. Start with like beginner plyometrics. Start with like things that are not going to completely tank your overall soreness like for the next week, because that will then wreck your training longer term because you’re gonna be like so I can’t even do anything I wanna do.
So being very gradual with that exposure can be super important. And like, when you think about barefoot training, like the more serious and more dynamic it is, that’s gonna take a little bit longer to gradually get used to. So go slow with it, ease into it. And honestly, if you even just want like the baseline benefits of any form of barefoot work, like just walking barefoot can be super important and super beneficial for building up that intrinsic musculature of the feet without even having to really put yourself into a point where you’re gonna be super sore or take away from your other trainings or other whatever you’re doing in your daily life.
Mike: we talk running shoes, that was the last category of shoe I wanted to get your thoughts on. Can you share a couple of your favorite
Jake: weightlifting shoes? For sure. Yeah, so right now a couple of my favorite are the Reebok Legacy Lifter too. I like that shoe because it’s a little bit heavier in nature and now that can be a big turnoff for some folks.
So for a lot of weightlifters, if you want a lighter weight shoe, that’s probably not gonna be your model. But for me, like I compete in power lifting once or twice a year, I primarily use them for squats. I also like that they have a 0.86 inch heel that’s a little bit higher than the norm of 0.75 inches.
I know it’s not that big of a difference, but once again, if you’re competing and if you are really niche with your training, it’s a game of inches. So those little things can matter. And when it comes to heel heights that work for you, experiment with different things, that’s the best way to approach that.
So the Reebok Legacy Lifter two is awesome. I’m actually starting to test the Tier L one Lifter that is a lifting shoe with a purposely made wide toebox from I think that was done with the collaboration from the guy from Squat U Aaron, I think his name is. Yeah. So he helped build that shoe out. Now I’m not a huge fan of the marketing and language behind that model, but I do like that there’s a wider four foot option on the market right now.
And then also another model that I’ve been enjoying is the Rogue Do and weightlifting shoe. $95 on Sale from Rogue. And it’s it’s a good intro weightlifting shoe I feel like. So if you don’t wanna drop a ton of money on Weightlift shoes and you want something that. Is around a hundred dollars. That will last you a while.
That model is really great. Also, the Reebok Lifter PR two also at a hundred bucks, and that model is super solid as well. So there’s a couple budget friendly options in there. There’s a wider option and there’s also like an option for a little bit of everybody. Great. Great.
Mike: So let’s talk running shoes.
We could probably start with some of the marketing, right? There’s a lot of marketing puffy in the running space, and a question that, I’ve gotten over the years is any of that true? Does any of this really matter? Do you just buy a shoe that seems to feel good enough and
Jake: that’s it?
Yeah. And that’s running shoes are not necessarily like my, like niche expertise, but there is a lot of variation of language and info out there. And honestly, even as somebody who has like a master’s in sports science and does this for a living when it comes to shoe reviews, like it can be confusing for me.
And so I always think A beginner probably what do I need? What do I wear? What do I, and so with running shoes specifically, like my biggest piece of advice, and this is something that I do too, is go your local running store, work with one of the guys there, or gals there who is an expert within their field.
Have them size, you have them look at your gate and just at least have an idea of what style of shoe might be best for you. And then that gives you at least a baseline to start experimenting with. Generally you’ll want like a neutral shoe that will often work for the vast majority of folks, unless you have a very specific need with your running style and whatnot.
A neutral shoe is often best. And then obviously there’s gonna be levels of thickness with the midsole that will vary with what we prefer. So for example, like I’m a lanky dude. I always heel strike. Is heel strike bad? Is it good? You could go look at 10 different sources. They’ll probably tell you a little bit of everything.
And so for me personally, if I’m doing longer runs, I like a shoe with a bit more cushion. So like I’ve been rocking the Pegasus 39 and I’ve been enjoying them. They’ve been a pretty good option and they’re like decently budget friendly. So I’ve been rocking those and they’ve been feeding pretty well into my running style.
And so with running shoes specifically, it’s tough because there are so many talking heads of what you need, what’s best. You have also the barefoot crew who say your feet are dying if you’re running in running shoes, which is like absolutely ludicrous. Going to your local running store and just having somebody’s size and work with you is probably your best bet versus trying to gather what you should do based on 10 different personalities online.
Because then it’s once you start experimenting with shoes, great, now you can start like getting a little bit more into the weeds of what’s really going to work with you.
Mike: Any common signs that maybe the running shoes you have are not right for you. And I, I, these are questions I don’t even, I do not know the answer to because I’ve never liked running.
And so I’ve always played sports and I prefer the bike, but running’s never been my thing.
Jake: Yeah. So I think there are two things that I think everybody can relate to. And number one is like the fit of the shoe. So if you feel like you’re sliding around in your shoe, or if you have to like, tighten it so much that you’re, like your archer, like the upper portion of your midfoot is screaming, that’s a good sign that shoe is probably not right for you.
Whether it be like, it has too much volume in the upper, basically to where you don’t get that level of security that you want, or if you’re just like hitting any part of the shoe and it just feels super uncom. Based on like your foot anatomy, that would be an indication of this is probably not the best shoe for you.
And then also I think there’s a level of responsiveness in the midsole that will resonate differently with everybody. So based on your stride frequency and how long you’re running and whatnot, if you’re getting done with runs and you feel absolutely beat up, and this is not like your normal oh, I’m tired, I’m a little bit sore, like I pushed it on that one, but you feel like just noticeably uncomfortable.
Your feet are sore for days, your ankles are sore. That could be a sign that you might want to go look into a different model. Based on how much comfort it’s given you, how much responsiveness with the MI and whatnot. You might need something thicker, you might need something less thick. You might want something with more ground feedback.
That’s a good indication that like the shoe probably not working well for me. And that would be like you get done with the run. And once again it’s not just oh, I pushed it hard. It’s like I am noticeably uncomfortable, like my feet are screaming at me. And that’s if you’ve been running and like you’ve now built up a little bit of tolerance and that’s still happening, that’s gonna be an indication to go look for different models and shin
Is that generally has nothing to do with the shoe, has to do with running volume or running gate or does the shoe sometimes
Jake: play a role there? Shoe can play a role there. There’s a lot of other areas that you should explore too. Like basically your tissue health intolerance, your strength of the muscles around the ankle, the foot muscles and whatnot, that’s Bigger topic that I think folks like to focus on.
Just like one thing. So like the shoe, but it’s okay, let’s look at every other area of your life. Let’s look at how you’re moving. Let’s look at your overall gait patterning. So shoes can definitely play a role there, but I don’t think they’re the only culprit leading to somebody who has shin splints per se.
Mike: Yeah, I’ve always been prone to and that was even back when I was younger playing, I played a lot of ice hockey, so I had strong ankles oh,
Jake: I played ice hockey growing up. Oh, nice.
Mike: A fun sport. A part of me would like to play again. I actually started skating again in my late twenties and it was fun.
It was surprising how much more difficult though it was. Cause I stopped playing when I was like 15, 16. So at that time I probably weighed like 150 pounds, 140 pounds, something like that. So then to skate. In my late twenties at 1 95, 200, but doing cardio, like I don’t have bad cardio, but I was exhausted.
Whereas as a kid, I don’t remember ever being exhausted. I can’t remember ever a time where I was like, my lungs are on fire as an adult. Holy shit, that was hard. But regardless, so played hockey, had strong ankles, but I still was just prone to shins. That’s one of the reasons why I never enjoyed running, because I couldn’t go for more than like 15 minutes, and I would get some weird pain.
Up in my neck, clavicle area, random, and then I would get, start to get shin splints. I’m like, all right, I’m just, I’m done
Jake: with this. Yeah, that’s a good one too. Cause like back in high school, like I played basically hockey through my freshman year of college, and then I ran track too.
So I did the mile and like thinking back on. Then I usually get, I used to get shin splints a little bit then, and I think about the running shoes I was wearing, which weren’t really running shoes. They were like this Puma shoes that everybody else wore just on a daily wear basis. And I wore them because I thought they looked cool at the time, and obviously being a kid, but, Truthfully think that those shoes probably did play a hand in the volume of running I was doing and just how they were built because they were super, like stable.
The heel was not at all beveled or like easy to transition with. So having longer legs and a big heel strike, I’m sure that contributed to that to some degree. Now, how much, who knows? It’s all speculation. But yeah it’s so multifactorial, man. And like shoes can play a role and that’s also something that I think the running store folks could help you with and they would help you like head your bets there.
But also too with that, like there’s a huge thing that comes along with volume and getting used to how much you plan to run and doing that slowly and not just going straight out. And I’m the kind of guy that like will not run for a while and then I’m like, I’m gonna go run and then I’ll do 10 miles and I’m like, I hurt.
So like I, I get it. But if I ease into that, like I probably wouldn’t have that same issue. That’s
Mike: one of the key factors that you have to pay attention to for anybody listening. If you wanna get into running, in particular, growing different because you don’t have the amount of impact, the amount of stress on tissues, biking very different, swimming very different.
But particularly with running, you can have actually great. Cardiovascular capacity, but you have to train your body to adapt to that kind of stress. You could be super fit and maybe have the cardio to go run 10 miles, but if you don’t run it all right now, yeah, you’re gonna, you’re gonna mess
Jake: yourself up.
That durability component is huge to consider and that’s like kind of the name of the game. And I feel like if you ask like any long distance runner, that’s always like their biggest thing is like building up your durability, which is basically like how much stress and impact your body can handle over longer periods of time.
And yeah, it’s like with anything, it’s if you weren’t working out or squatting and then you did a 10 by 10 day where you were going super heavy, like it’s going to bury you. You just don’t have that tolerance. You
Mike: might end up in the hospital , that might be RDO territory
Jake: there. Yeah, 100%. But then it’s like with running, it’s like you have that extra layer of that impact from the ground through the body and that’s like everything up the chain is gonna take a little bit of that.
So there’s a huge durability component there for sure.
Mike: Yeah. Important point in weightlifting too. I see. A lot of people get very aggressive with increasing volume, whereas probably a good rule of thumb is if we’re looking at volume in terms of number of hard sets, let’s say increasing. Your weekly volume by 10% every four weeks.
So like a 10% jump and then you maintain that for four weeks and then if you’re gonna go up again, 10% that’s my general recommendation. And many people hear that and they’re like, really? So you’re saying if I’m doing 10 hard sets per major malls group per week, you want me to do 11 max 12? I would not recommend any more than that.
Whereas they were thinking, I’m gonna go from 10 to 15. Why not?
Jake: Even then, like you gotta think too, like to that point, like with the amount of weight you’re moving, that adds up so quickly. And so even if it’s only a couple pound jump and you expand that over the volume of that whole week, like that’s a lot more than I think we think of we like to think that everything as like this black and white equation, but man, , I think that’s a huge topic.
Needs so much more reiteration in this day and age of fitness because everybody wants the now. Everybody wants the flash, but it’s to do it right. It’s just very monotonous. It’s very slow. It’s very gradual. If you wanna be in it for the long term, that’s similar with running and everything else.
It’s gotta be slow in a gradual exposure. Because there’s, yeah, there’s the muscle component, there’s the performance component, but there’s also like the tendons, the ligaments, all of these things need to catch up to the stresses you’re placing on them. And systemic stress. Yeah, a hundred percent. Just
Mike: the systemic fatigue that builds up, especially when you’re doing heavy squats and deadlifts and overhead presses and stuff like that every week.
It goes the other direction as well. Reducing your volume by, let’s say, and again, you can count volume in different ways, but in this context, I think number of hard sets. That’s what I’m thinking with when I say this, reducing by just 10 to 20% can make a market difference in how. More recovered you can feel from your training?
I’m experiencing that myself or for a couple of years now. I was pushing it going, I was lifting five days a week. I was doing four sets of heavy deadlifts per week. Those were hard sets. Like maybe you. Two to three reps, shy of failure something like that. Like maybe that fourth set is a one or two, but that adds up stress.
Four sets of some sort of squat plus other lower body stuff, and a total of probably 15 to 16 hard sets per major muscle group per week. And what I found is that amount of training required me to be in a consistent calorie surplus to feel like I was recovered. And more than just feel like, for example, if I tried to cut and I tried it several times without touching my training at all, within a couple of weeks, my sleep was bad.
I could feel my body not being able to relax, like I was just stressed, physically stressed more than usual all of the time. And so now for the last four weeks or so, I’ve cut that back, I reduced my volume by 25%. So basically all I did is instead of doing four sets per exercise, Three sets per exercise.
And I’m a little bit surprised cause I’ve been pushing it hard for so long at how quickly I’m like, oh this is what it feels like to really recover from your training to consistently sleep better. And I’m in a calorie deficit just cause I wanted to see also how that feels compared to the other approach.
So for whatever it’s worth for people listening, if you have experienced any of what I just described, relatively small reductions in your training volume and I still lift heavy weights. I’ve made no other changes in how I train. It’s just a little bit less volume can make what feels like a disproportionate improvement.
Jake: recovery in this case. That’s funny cuz I feel like every lifter and athlete kind of goes down that road and we like realize and we dial it back. I was stubborn. I just didn’t want to,
Mike: I, if anything
Jake: I wanted to go in the other direction I’m with you. And that’s that’s I think the hardest thing.
But to add to that, it’s I think people neglect too, how little we actually need to maintain like good baseline strength levels and also like body comp. Because at the end of the day, like that extra. Is not gonna necessarily make the biggest difference for body comp, for folks who are much more general with their training, who don’t necessarily want to compete in body building or have super specific body fat goals per se.
And then also there’s the whole factor of what does your lifestyle look like outside of the gym? I think that’s often so overlooked where it’s yeah, it would be great to keep our foot on the gas at all times, but like you run a business, I run a business. If you have a family, if you have kids, like there are so many other stressors.
Mike: two kids and they’re young, ,
Jake: oh my gosh, there’s so many other stressors that can influence then your recovery. And it’s yeah, if you keep scaling volume and then burning the candle at both ends, like you’re gonna come to a point where. You’re just gonna hit that burnout and I’ve hit it. A lot of people have hit it, and it’s a good lesson to have because it teaches you, I think, cool.
Like where does that threshold really exist? But that’s also another big thing to consider where it’s yeah, it would be great if we could just keep linearly increasing, but like outside of the gym, there are 23 hours of the day that can drastically influence our performance and our neural health and our recovery and everything.
Mike: And vice versa. To, to your point, like if you’re training very intensely, okay you’re putting a lot of stress on your body. That’s a lot of physical stress, primarily. But then, okay, outside of the gym how much, let’s just say even psychological stress are you dealing with, and that’s gonna reduce your capacity to be able to deal with that effectively as well.
So it is a good point. You have to look at your lifestyle on the whole and to your point, yeah, maybe I could go back to the previous higher volume, it’s a fairly high frequency approach and maintain a relatively lean body comp, which really what that means for anybody who has done it, it means that you’re more consistently undereating than overeating.
Out of every month, let’s say 30 days at least 15 of those days are a slight calorie deficit, if not 20 to. 25 of those days. Cause if you want to stay very lean, or let’s just say somewhere between eight and 10% body fat, you don’t have much wiggle room, like all calories count, unfortunately.
And so you’re gonna err on the side of eating a little bit less food rather than more food. And then you’re just gonna make it up, you know now, and then you’ll eat a bit more on a weekend or whatever. But that semi consistent calorie deficit, lower levels of body fat, it adds a little bit of stress to the equation.
And then I think it probably magnifies a bit of the stress caused by the training, right? Because recovery is now. Impaired. So all of those things need to be taken into account and yeah, if all we did was lift weights and sleep and have sex, yeah, maybe we could maybe we could do our ideal six days a week and we’re in there for two hours a day and we continue to, we feel invincible, but not many of us can live like that.
Jake: Yeah. It’s like the classic, like shadowing or trying to do exactly like what CrossFit athletes do or professional athletes, and it’s like these people are literally getting paid to recover and train like you are a nine to five. Like we can’t do these two a days and expect to feel great for a long period of time.
So I think rotating in those blocks of higher volume and then keeping it a little bit lower can be super useful as well. Just creating strategic meso cycles based on lifestyle is so overlooked.
Mike: Totally agree. It sounds like we could probably go off on all kinds of training tangents, but but to come back to shoes, I think we’ve done a pretty good job covering at least everything that I wanted to touch on.
Is there anything that is still in the back of your mind that, you wanted to say that you haven’t been able to say yet?
Jake: No, I’m sure I’ll listen back on this episode and be like, dang, I wish I made different picks on like my best models for the moment, because now that I’m thinking about it, like I would probably swap out that new balance model for something else.
But no, man. I think we covered a lot of great topics.
Mike: Now you gotta say, then what would you swap it out for?
Jake: I’m looking at the shoes again. That was like a hit slash explosive focus shoe. Honestly, I would probably rock one of the shoes that I’ve already mentioned. Actually, you know what I just reviewed, or I’m reviewing the Puma Fuse 2.0.
Puma Fu is the original model. Wasn’t that great. Had some durability issues. Puma fixed a lot of those issues with this latest model. Is it gonna be like indestructible? No, I don’t think so. But it has this really nice athletic fit. And so for like my explosive sessions, like I’ve really been enjoying that model.
Did a nice plyo session the other day and then I also did a nice pap session the day or two days before that. And that model’s been crushing. So if you do want a budget friendly shoe for some lifting explosive work and maybe some casual CrossFit spliced in the Puma fuse 2.0 is showing some good promise.
And it’s cool seeing a company take feedback based on their prior model and improve it. Like I will always rock with a company that does that versus a Nike where it. Hey your shoes sucked this iteration, but no, let’s go ahead and not change it and listen to anything that anybody said. We’ll keep it exactly don’t even get me started.
Mike: Yeah We’re Nike. Fuck you. That’s the, yeah.
Jake: Yeah. Don’t even get me started with them. So that’s probably it. But for the most part, I think we touched on most of what I wanted to talk on shoes. And honestly, if you have any other questions, anybody listening, like always feel free to reach out.
I respond to everybody who dms or comments on videos. Yeah. Where can people find you? If you wanna learn more about shoes or just look at some of my reviews, that fit friend.com is a good place to start. And then if you wanna check out the YouTube channel, search Jake that Fit Friend, if you search most cross-training shoe reviews, I’ll generally pop up in the top few.
So you can reach out there, drop a comment, I reply to literally every comment on the channel. Unless it’s a super mean comment, then I’ll either just hard it just to dig at them or, give you some sarcastic response because it’s not that serious. Or you can reach out on Instagram. So that’s at Jake, b o l y.
I’ll probably hit you back with a video response cuz it’s a lot easier than typing, especially cuz I’m typing all day. So if you wanna see my dumb face talking about shoes or whatever the question you might have hit me there. So yeah, if you have any other additional questions on shoes, like I’m always jazz and excited to talk on ’em and.
Gladly respond to whatever you have.
Mike: Awesome. And last question for you. So you clearly are not happy with Nike or not happy with Nordic lifting are there just a handful of shoes or companies you’re like, these were the worst, terrible.
Jake: Yes and no. So it’s not that I’m not happy with Nike, I just think that a company that has that many resources and that much like bandwidth when it comes to their teams, I think they could do better.
And it’s like cool to see some of these smaller companies come up and really build solid products that kind of beat their shoes when it comes to straight up performance.
Mike: It’s easier just to, to pour more money into the marketing end machine, though.
Jake: Exactly. Cause a lot, not enough people wanna do the research to figure out like what will really work?
Because I have so many people who are like, oh, I was wearing Nikes forever, but based on your suggestion, like this works so much better. And it’s yeah. For how long have you just been oh, I’m a Nike person so I’m just gonna go with Nike, even though that shoe might not align with your foot anatomy.
So as like a reviewer, I try to stay as objective as I can. Like I don’t really have any company I truly despise unless you are clearly just scamming people or like pushing out stuff and Promising, all these like huge benefits and really not delivering. So no, I don’t really have a company that I really despise.
Honestly. I try to go into every shoe, every single review with an open slate going into it like, okay, how do I need to language this for somebody who. Is really advanced. How do I need to language this shoe for a beginner? And walking that line between being honest with its perks and then being honest with its drawbacks.
And that’s also like why I don’t really accept shoes anymore from companies. I buy every shoe I review now, like I don’t think. Having a company send shoes is always the best thing because I think it’s hard for people not to blur that bias where the relationship of the PR person and whatnot, like companies will still send models here and there, but like for the most part, like I would say 95% of the shoes I review now I buy.
And even the companies that send stuff like Reebok will send models here and there. I’m like, look, if it sucks, I’m going to say it and like it is what it is. But they’re generally pretty cool with receiving feedback on that front. If a company isn’t cool, then it’s okay, I’ll buy this shoe and review it anyways because I think that adds a level of objectivity that.
Is desperately needed in the reviews game because there is a lot of review content out there that I would say is glorified marketing pieces and that’s my gripe with that industry. So yeah, no, I don’t really have any company that I truly despise unless you’re truly ripping people off.
Mike: Any currently popular models that you would not recommend for any of the use cases?
I’m just curious if there’s some trendy shoes right now. You mentioned the barefoot stuff, so we covered that. Is there anything else that is that if people are out there looking for shoes, they’re probably gonna come across this, but yeah.
Jake: I’ll just, I’ll go with the two big dogs right off the top of my head because I constantly have grabs of them.
So the Reebok Nano 12 mention that as being a good general shoe, but if you look around on different review sites, people have that as the best CrossFit shoe. It is not a great CrossFit shoe. The nano 11 and 12. So the past two iterations have not been super great for CrossFit. They break when you rope climb.
They’re 140 bucks. To have a shoe break within a month on a rope climb is ridiculous. And so as a general trainer, it’s good. But the idea that it’s a good CrossFit shoe, no Nike Met Con eight decent shoe for lifting, decent shoe for CrossFit and cross training. However, I think a lot of times too, like it’s marketed as like this like great shoe for everything.
It’s sucks for running. It’s not a great shoe for walking the HyperLift insert in the heel. So that plastic TPU layer and the heel of the might, Nike m kinda eight, makes it wicked uncomfortable for those contacts. If you come across marketing that says oh, this shoe can do like everything, and it’s so great.
Know that it has its limitations and that a lot of that is fluff and you won’t know until you wear it and you’re like, oh shit, this is super uncomfortable, and then you get pissed off. But I deal with people like that all the time in the comments as well. But those are two models that receive a ton of marketing that fall short in certain niches that I would say are not necessarily discussed in the marketing as not being great for those niche.
Mike: That’s great. That’s very helpful. I’m sure at least a few people who are still listening, at least they might be saved some money and frustration hopefully. Yeah. But otherwise, this was a great interview. I really appreciate you taking the time. You mentioned where people can find you.
Is there anything else you want to tell them about before we wrap up?
Jake: If you ever have questions, reach out, but I’m not gonna beg and ask you to follow and subscribe to my stuff or watch every video if you like some of the videos. Sick.
Mike: What about give, what about money? Do they get money if they, I don’t know if that’s still a thing.
I remember seeing like a year or two ago on Instagram, so many of these, it was more like business guru guys. Would you do these straight cash giveaways for oh yeah, follow me tag, blah, blah, blah. ,
Jake: man I’m not rolling like that. I’m a content producer, but I do shoe giveaways here and there for reviews.
Mike: So I’m here and there for like big models and I mean that, that could actually be, if you like a shoe and you reach out to a company and you’re like, Hey, give me some of these. I did a review, I paid for it. I like what you’re doing. I’ll give ’em away to my people.
Jake: Yeah. And that I’ll typically actually use my own money to send them out.
Which like everyone’s always kinda sketched out. They’re like what do you want in return? And I’m like, literally nothing. I just appreciate you rocking with the brand. There are so many different content producers. The fact that you spend even an ounce of your day interacting with my content, like that means the world.
So I do some shoe giveaways here and there. Those are often outta pocket on my own dime. But yeah, it’s not super, super often because again, content producer, not necessarily rolling in the dough here, but I do try to give back to the community as much as I can. That’s great.
Mike: And thanks again for taking the time to do.
Jake: Thank you, Mike. It has been a pleasure.
Mike: I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful. And if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com, and let me know what I could do better or just what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.