Orthotics, Symmetry, And Tim Ferris Has Done It Again!

Hi! Folks,

Recently, my friend and biking partner Rory Conolly sent me the following link concerning the question, “are shoe orthotics a good idea?” It is well worth a read! I have often wondered about this issue, especially since reading ‘Born to Run.‘ I was wearing ‘spring-loaded’ shoe-insert orthotics at the time, which I believe were prescribed with all good intentions, but I suspect that the strong arch support that they provided contributed to some weakness in my arches, and eventually to a nagging injury (nearly fixed!). A few days later, my eldest son Nick, another Tim Ferris admirer like myself, mentioned Tim’s new book, ‘The Four Hour Body (4HB).’

I was pleased to see, whilst perusing this exciting, somewhat bizarre (on the surface) and amusing book that one of the first things mentioned by Tim was the importance of developing body balance (left-to-right symmetry). I recently wrote a post on symmetry, using thoughts that were brought to my attention by my studies of Feldenkrais. I was sad to see that Feldenkrais was not mentioned in the 4HB. Tim advocates an interesting approach to the development of body symmetry, to be applied in the gym with weights using a set of exercises that sound very reasonable, unless you have an AAA-stent, especially when it comes to deep squats. As mentioned before in this blog, if you have an AAA-stent or an abdominal aortic aneurysm without a stent, the creation of marked lower abdominal pressure, as might be induced by vigorous rowing (see: AAA Stent migration and Vigorous Rowing) or deep squats, is probably ill-advised. So be careful when using this book (but Tim says that anyway!), or shoe insert orthotics for that matter! It is your body, and only you will really ever understand it well. It is, therefore, clearly your responsibility to do what is best for your body, and that can only come from a well developed state of self-awareness.

I strongly recommend the 4HB. Tim Ferris is as entertaining, informative, and encouraging as ever.


Kevin (from Torrevieja, Spain)


  1. Pauline Watson says

    I’ve been perusing your various blogs on training with your stent. Weight training limitations are worth investigating – do you think stent displacement is the only concern or could heavy enough weights cause an unsafe increase in blood pressure for those with stents or AAAs? I do weights but stick to low weigh/high reps and am somewhat cautious about sit-ups and crunches (with an AAA).

  2. Matthew Morgan says

    Hey Kevin,

    A lot of runners in my Sydney training group are keen on barefoot running (we’re lucky enough to do most of our training on grass). They seem to disapprove of orthotics altogether, on the grounds that they increase muscle weakness, etc, etc, etc.

    I have been trying to join in with the barefoot running bit at a time – but my motivation is purely a desire to toughen up the soles of my feet so I dont get so many blisters in the future! Australian grass is surprisingly tough stuff though – not as comfortable to run on as back home…it’s a whole lot cleaner though!


    • Kevin Morgan says

      Hi! Matt,

      As barefoot running is a subject that is ‘close to my heart,’ complex and important, I will answer your question as a post as this permits me to insert some links that might be of interest!

      Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope you are having a blast in Australia. I’m waiting in CDG airport, being marooned in Paris for a night as my flight to Chicago from Madrid was canceled yesterday morning. A night in Paris is not so bad!





Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.