Why the Bricks Are Genius

While walking through the streets of Europe last Spring, Adarian Barr wondered why his feet felt so good.  He traced it back to the cobblestones.  The lift, the variability, the multiple points of potential folding.  This was the impetus behind testing bricks in one’s training.

The shape and porous nature of bricks set them apart from different kinds of rocks or stone:


He then added some carbon fiber and specialized rubber to increase the sensory experience:

Note the very purposeful lines. This is set for a left foot placement. Can you see it?


The foot and surface interact:

The sensory brick is used to train specific areas of suspension and compression.  In the following, I am loading one part of my foot and trying to see if I can lift the other.  The only foot shown is the right, because it has a longitudinal arch bias and a weak sense of stability across the transverse arch.  You can see that pressing down on the outer edge (fifth metatarsal) and keeping the inside edge (first metatarsal) up is the most difficult, as well as what changes I make to help the system support it.


Each piece is broken down in the section below:

1. Loading ball of foot (front) and lifting heel.

Note the toes DO NOT clench down onto the brick.


2.  Loading the first and lifting the fifth.

Easy so I can add the top of foot-shin pull.


3.  Loading the fifth and lifting the first.

Struggletown.  Mid-toes drop.


4.  Improving Loading 5th and Lifting the 1st.

I add yaw and enter into the curved Achilles to improve things.

I end up being able to hold AND go over the top.


Once you can sustain the load and lift on all areas, you can start to do cool things like ‘cut off’ the isometric (let the lifted area drop) to help the foot flip in certain directions to improve speed and technique.  I offer up an example below, in which I use the twist technique learned from the bricks and apply it to my right foot in a power exercise:

[Left side is logo side.]


As with all information, knowing things means very little if you cannot apply the information to things that interest you.  Bricks provide access to concepts some might try to sell you with fancy wedges or foot guides.  Lift in one area, push down in another.  What do you notice?

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