Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Risto! No, it's not What You Say when Doing Magic Tricks.

Regular readers of our blog know that I've been doing CrossFit for about 2.5 years now. I like that it incorporates multiple exercise modalities and tries to provide general, functional fitness. Not surprisingly, CrossFit includes a bit of Olympic weightlifting,* which is great for developing explosive power and good for developing balance and flexibility. The Olympic lifts are also a lot of fun, at least in my opinion. The skill element is so great that I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I execute a lift properly.

One problem with these lifts, though, is that it's difficult to do them correctly with the typical cushioned athletic footwear. Shoes that are great for jumping, running, and other activities will leave you without enough stability when you are accelerating more than your bodyweight off the floor, or, especially, when you are at the bottom of the overhead squat phase of the snatch. Thus, I recently ordered a pair of Risto weightlifting shoes from Gwen Sisto and Ivan Rojas.** Gwen spent a lot of time helping me with the sizing. Determing the correct shoe size over the internet is always a challenge for me, in part because I'm so picky about it, and in part because my feet are unusually small. Sadly, the first pair were too big---I like my shoes to fit snugly---but Gwen sent out the next smaller size. The new shoes arrived today, and they fit quite well. So, after doing yesterday's workout of the day---I'm a day behind---in the new shoes, I practiced my overhead squat, clean and jerk, and snatch. Everything felt much better. I still have a lot of work to do in order to perfect my technique, but the shoes are already helping.

The Risto shoes, by the way, are hand-made in Columbia with local-to-there materials. The price is very competitive with other weightlifting shoes, and I must say that the service I received was very good. So, if you do any Olympic lifts, I recommend tyring dedicated weightlifting shoes, and, if you do, I further recommend that you give Gwen and Ivan your business.

* That's the snatch and the clean and jerk, and variations thereupon. Don't confuse weightlifting with powerlifting or weight training.

** Wife and husband, respectively. You can see guess where the brand name came from.

1 comment:

  1. I've been doing my Oly lifts barefoot- yay for having your toes free when it comes to balance. (Something I need. Oly lifts work almost everything that's a weak area for me, especially balance and total body coordination.)

    How do they compare on that score? Or does your gym just plain not allow that?