Want to Train Without Pain? 3 Critical Feet Exercises Most People Don’t Know About
Have you ever trained your feet? I know what you're thinking, training your feet seems ridiculous but here’s why it’s critical...
“It’s the foundation of your stability and all lower body movement patterns”
If your feet and ankles are weak and you spend the majority of your time in heels or wearing supportive shoes, you’re not allowing your feet to engage in their proper function. This can lead to misalignments in your ankles, knees and hips which will likely contribute to aches and pains that you experience in your bigger movement patterns like bending and squatting or even just walking and running.
Think of it this way, you cannot perform a squat effectively if your feet and ankles aren’t conditioned to give you the range of motion, stability and alignment. What will happen instead is that you will take the load of movements like squats, running and jumping through the wrong part of your joints and then the wrong muscles begin to overcompensate and become imbalanced. This then causes a whole domino effect of injury, pain and overuse imbalances throughout your body.
This is also why so many women get injured in gym classes. Repetition of incorrect form might be something you get away with for a couple of weeks but overtime, it can cause a lot of damage. If you focus on building your movement foundations and learning the mechanics of your body first, you can avoid injury, ongoing issues in your joints and save yourself a tonne on physio, surgeries and medical bills!
So let’s come back to these feet exercises I am going to show you in a minute…
Sometimes particular exercises and movement patterns I share with you are going to take you a little bit outside your comfort zone because they’re new! I'm going to assume that at some point in your life, you have experienced an injury, niggles or pain in your knees, ankles or hips and you've probably dismissed it thinking that if you rest or take time off, it will go away. To resolve these issues just takes a bit of applied knowledge that I am going to give you now. The results are mind blowing and it’s ridiculously simple!
"These exercises are not hard yet they can have the biggest
impact on the quality of your training and your quality of life."
When you start to move your exercise and training focus towards longevity and moving better, you start to create more intentionality behind it and see better results. The goal becomes less focused on 'how you look' or 'ticking exercise off your to-do list' and more about what else is available to you when you start to train more effectively. This is what becomes available to you:
• Feeling more empowered and capable in your own body
• Building strength, stability and flexibility
• Better blood flow and circulation
• Alleviating niggles, aches and pains
• Developing the ability to do amazing things regardless of your age or past history with exercise
• Believing in yourself and building trust with your body again to breakthrough the limitations you have set on yourself and your training
"These 3 simple exercises I’m about to show you will produce tangible and completely life-changing results for your body but are missed or
overlooked by most 'strength and fitness' coaches in the gym."
If you do these consistently, you'll notice the changes within a couple of weeks and see the positive impact these exercises have on your posture and how you walk, run or even just stand.I don't want to give all the benefits away because I want you to experience it first-hand for yourself and discover what's possible in your own body...
LET’S GO! Here’s what to do first:
Step 1: Go for a 30 minute walk and make some notes… Do you have any pain in the joints while walking up stairs or hills? How does your body feel afterwards? What do you notice about the way you walk and how your feet feel while you walk?
Step 2: Start doing the 3 exercises below 4 times a week for the next 4 weeks
Step 3: Record a video of yourself each time
Step 4: At the end of the 4 weeks, watch the first video you took and then watch the last video you took.
Step 5: Take note of what changes you notice. How has this impacted your walking? What you might notice are changes to the placement and grip of your feet as you walk which will also improve your ankle and knee alignment and prevent your joints from niggling at you while you walk or aching after a long walk.
Without further ado, here’s the guide to these 3 feet exercises that are going to help you develop stability and strength foundations that I am confident will change the way you perform lower body movements forever. There’s also a video at the bottom of the page that you can follow along with to help you get started.
Step 1: Stand with your feet hip width apart and toes parallel, pointing forward like train tracks. Take a slight bend in the knees to take the pressure off your knee joints.
Step 2: Press (don’t scrunch) your little toes into the floor whilst lifting your big toes in the air. Hold for a couple of seconds and then reverse. Press the big toes down and lift your 4 little toes in the air. Pay attention to your ankles. Are they moving inwards and outwards to compensate? If so, try to keep the ankles still.
Step 3: If you can’t do this right away, bend your knees and reach down with your hands so you can use your hands to push your toes down and give yourself some tactile re-enforcement to start developing the muscles. This will improve with consistency, stick with it 4 times a week for 4 weeks.
Sets: 3 rounds
Repetitions: 10 of each variation
Standing on One Leg Eyes Closed (SOOLEC)
Step 1: This exercise is exactly as it sounds. Stand on one leg really straight and tall, lengthening from the hips and keeping your spine straight and eye-line forward. The leg that is lifted off the ground doesn’t need to be lifted high. Simply extend the leg slightly to the front with your leg straight and toes point upwards towards your face to hold some tension in the quad. Use your supporting leg to stabilise by connecting your feet muscles and focusing on pressing your toes into the floor (without scrunching).
Step 2: When you have gained your balance, close your eyes. It’s normal to fall off balance. If you start to come off balance, keep your eyes closed and just tap the other foot back down and repeat. Get your balance again, close your eyes again and try to hold for 60s each side.
Step 3: If you’re really struggling with your eyes closed, begin doing this exercise with eyes open for a full, continuous 60 seconds on each side. 4 times a week for 4 weeks.
Sets: 3 rounds
Repetitions: 1 rep each side holding for 60 seconds
Big Toe Raises
Step 1: Bring your feet together with your ankles touching and toes pointing forward.
Step 2: Without bending your knees, lift your heels off the ground and press into your big toes keeping the ankles close together. Imagine you have a 20c coin under each of your big toes that you’re trying to press down on.
Step 3: Hold your balance at the top for 5 seconds lifting the heels as high as you can without bending your knees or losing balance.
Step 4: Again, it is normal to find this difficult at the start. Do your best and repeat 4 times a week for 4 weeks.
Sets: 3 rounds
Repetitions: 5 reps with a 5 second hold at the top of each rep
Drop me a line once you’ve given these a crack and let me know how you went! Let me know if you have any questions (happy to help) and scroll down to subscribe to the mailing list to receive regular content like this to help you with your training and improve the way your body moves.
Move well legend,