The Foot, we walk on them, jump with them, put them in fashionable shoes, kick things with them (ouch), pound on them (running), soak them, paint them but how do we make them stronger. I’ve put a lot of thought into how they work and how to make the foot stronger. I believe the feet are the base of our posture. So if you don’t have strong feet or have bunions, hammer toes, or wear shoes that make your feet unhappy, what happens?
We stopped wearing weight belts (or should have with few exceptions) because they made the muscles in the core weak but we have progressively added more and more support to our feet. No wonder we have foot problems. I have noticed that wearing what most would call a “good” athletic shoe the feet become weaker. Orthodics are similar and can cause problems and make the feet weaker as well.
When I see people that wear a shoe all the time I wonder if it’s really that good for the feet or if it’s doing more harm? When things like this are in question I like to go back to basics.
Back To Basics
We aren’t born with shoes and there are several places in the world where people don’t wear shoes at all. There is even an entire barefoot movement, with people connecting from around the world spreading the health benefits of going barefoot. So if this is the case wouldn’t it be the most natural way to go?
When my clients train with me in their home or in my studio, they never wear shoes. I like the body to function as naturally as possible and I spend as much time as I can getting the feet as strong as possible.
Balance pieces like the bosus ball, wobble boards, balance discs or even just standing on one foot makes the foot work and it becomes stronger in doing so. As well, doing most of your exercises standing because we spend most of our time upright during our day. If you want to make to the body strong you must always keep in mind gravity, the feet, hips and thoracic spine.
Basic movements based on walking are always very important.
Standing On One Foot
One of the most basic things you can do is to stand on one foot, then you can progress to balancing on one foot on a bosu balance trainer, then perform your exercises on it.
It’s a progression from easy through progressively more difficult stances using the bosu balance trainer.
Beginner Bosu Ball Foot Strengthening Program
Here is a good way to begin to strengthen the foot that can be done at the end of your normal exercise routine. It’s a simple way to begin strengthening your foot each day that you train and prepare you for more advance Bosu Ball programs
Begin with one foot in the center of the Bosu and hold your free leg off to the side for a count of 10 to 30 seconds. Keep your entire core section contracted which will help with your balance. When your core is contracted, you should find it easier to balance yourself.
Next, step off the Bosu and switch feet. Your second foot should now be in the middle. Hold your free leg and foot off to the opposite side for a count of 10 to 30 seconds again, contracting your entire core section – that is, your abdominals, oblique’s and lower back.
You may notice that one foot is stronger than the other. This is natural and over time, by training to strengthen your foot in this manor, they should both balance in strength.
If you move through this exercise quickly and want to take your training to the next level by introducing core strengthening exercises into all your workouts, try standing on the Bosu with one or both feet to do things like shoulder press, bicep curls, side raises, etc.
If you’re training at home and don’t have access to a Bosu Trainer, you can easily challenge both your feet and your balance by standing on one foot with your eyes closed.
Try to hold it for 10 seconds.
I understand that if your are doing your exercise outside or in a gym that going with sock feet or bare feet may not be and option. I would suggest getting a very inexpensive shoe with little or no support. Nike has a shoe that resembles a slipper and may do the trick for you.
In my next article, I will show you the next stage of training in this manor to strengthen your foot while also building a stronger core. It was one of the first exercises I gave Rob to practice each day after his training. Stay tuned