Mastering Tripod Foot

One of the hottest topics in the training world today is barefoot training.

Is barefoot training magical, like a Pegasus or Unicorn?

Can you really just kick your shoes off and your lower extremity injuries heal themselves?

Like everything else in training, there’s a right and wrong way to train barefoot. This video will show you how mastering the “tripod foot” can improve your lower body stability and performance.

Next time you train barefoot – whether that’s warm-ups, squatting, deadlifting, or even single-leg work – try and master tripod foot.

I think you’ll be shocked at how powerful this simple technique really is.

Stay strong



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  1. Awesome stuff, Mike. Now, if may ask another question – are the Vibram FiveFingers really as good as they are made out to be? Or can we just wear Nike frees to run?

  2. You know what? I like both. I lifted in the Vibrams for a while but don’t use them as much now because the pair I have look so damn goofy.

    Regardless, if you are stable and strong enough to run barefoot, that’s fine. Most are not, however, and end up worse off than they were before. I would suggest you “taper” down to barefoot running – and definitely start on the low-side with regards to mileage.

    Typically, I like Vibrams for lifting and Free’s for running. Hope that helps!


  3. Mike, thanks for a great video. I have figured this out on my own, and I’ve been struggling to convey it to my clients in a way that they can use.

    My own issue in my left foot pronation was an old injury–actually Lee Burton pegged it at an FMS seminar–and it took more than just thinking about tripod foot, I actually had to rebuild my arch through various feet exercises that I cobbled together.

    After seeing the video, I wonder if that mental conception of Tripod Foot could have gotten me fixed up faster? Have you had issues with clients who had ankle flexibility problems similar to mine, and was “Tripod Foot” enough to get them on track?

    Seems like P.E. should include instruction on how to stand properly!

    • Seems like P.E. should include instruction on how to stand properly!

      that’s why stance work is the beginning and end of martial arts training! 😉
      in the martial art I study(I Liq Chuan), we have quite a few drills just aimed at getting in touch with the bottom of the feet and how to stand properly.

      re:barefoot shoes

      another option that some folks might want to check out are Zems. They’re not a five finger shoe, but they’re basically a pair of neoprene socks, with an extremely minimal sole. They give a very, very close barefoot feel, plus they’re half the price of Vibrams.

  4. Thank you, Mike! I’ve been doing some barefoot training to strengthen all the muscles around my right ankle after a high ankle sprain. I didn’t understand it that well until I did some kettlebell training with an RKC II instructor… and now that’s just made it easier again! The improvements already have been great so this will be fantastic to work on.

  5. Thanks for the feedback everyone! I may do a follow-up post where we talk about how to include this in your training to get better results.

  6. What are everyone’s thoughts on being able to maintain / use the tripod foot during “dragon door” style wall squats (i.e. facing the wall, with toes touching, or as close to the baseboard as possible)?

    I was practicing some of these this morning and the thought occurred to me because I can manage some decent reps, but my weight is very much in my heels.

    Discipline, Concentration & Wisdom

  7. MR,

    Do you teach this with every lift? For example, I believe in adopting such posture of deadlift, squat, ant etc.But are you cueing clients to not go into eversion of the sub talor joint and preventing the “chain reaction” as Gary Gray would say?

    Scott Gray

    • For lifting, yes. A neutral/tripod foot is ideal when lifting.

      Sporting movements and performance is different. And I really hope Gary Gray isn’t teaching people to drive a “chain reaction” when lifting….


  8. Actually it’s the opposite. Pronation removes the natural curvature of the foot and gradually forces the impact on the heel and onto the lateral portion of the foot.

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