What is the science behind the naboso training mat and how will it help my running?
Great question. First, some basic guidance … the Naboso mat is fantastic but not essential. It is most important is to perform workouts like this barefoot on a firm surface such as hardwood. You can check out our article on Footwear to learn a little more about surfaces and their impact on running.
Doing stabilization workouts barefoot allows us to “rewire” the nerves on the bottom of our feet to the core and stabilizing muscles up and down the kinetic chain. This is what runners need to control and utilize the force they produce while running. All the strength training in the world does no good if you can’t apply it to the ground while you run. The neuromuscular system is essential for applying force effectively, and barefoot stimulation during exercises allows you to improve and accelerate the development of this neuromuscular control. The fact that most of us wear running shoes with thick and stiff running soles makes it even more critical that we stimulate the nerves on the bottom of our feet frequently.
The Naboso mat takes this further by providing an optimal surface for developing neuromuscular control and nervous system stimulation. It attempts to optimize three surface components for performing athletic movements:
Having used it for the last 9 months, I like it because it provides just enough cushion to be comfortable while being firm enough to perform difficult balance and control movements. The texture feels good. I’m sure I could achieve nearly the same results using a hardwood floor, but I don’t always have a hard floor available.
As far as science, I believe Naboso was developed based on studies done with gymnasts, rehabilitation patients, and other athletes. Here are some studies I see referenced:
Hatton, A. Standing on Textured Surfaces: Effect on Standing Balance in Healthy Older Adults (2011). Age Ageing 43: 363 – 368.
Marinsek, Miha. Basic Landing Characteristics and their Applications in Artistic Gymnastics. 2(2): 59-67.
Robbins, S. The Effect of Footwear Midsole Hardness and Thickness on Proprioception and Stability in Older Men (1997). J Testing Evaluation 25(1): 143 – 148
There is much more on this at http://www.ebfaglobal.com and http://nabosotechnology.com/whybarefootscience/
Adding this from Dr. Arianne …
The Naboso technology activates small nerve mechanoreceptors in the bottom of your feet. The receptors, called Merke, detect texture and deep static touch features, such as shapes and edges. They are constantly reading the environment. So when you are activating them, they are providing constant feedback for faster reflexive stabilization for improved movement efficiency.
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