Strengthen Your Feet To Improve Your Performance

While our feet are the base of nearly every physical activity we do, they are often overlooked when it comes to exercising. We train our arms, backs, legs, abs…so why not our feet? If our feet are in better shape, we have better balance, we can run faster, we can jump higher and we have better endurance. So what are some ways we can exercise our feet, you may ask? Check out my suggestions below. Always be sure to start small and work your way up to more reps, you don’t want to injure your feet from jumping in too quickly.

  1. Go Barefoot: Removing your shoes and walking barefoot whenever possible is important to allow your feet to move naturally. Some simple toe raises on bare feet can help to improve balance and muscle tone.
  2. Walk On Uneven Surfaces: Walking on smooth rocks or sand barefoot can help your body tune its sense of balance. Learning to adapt to its surroundings is good conditioning for your feet. Plus, activating the nerve endings on the bottom of your feet can help with lower back pain (the nerves are connected).
  3. Foam Roll Your Feet: Using a soft foam roller, roll the medial, transverse and lateral arches of your feet. It’s critical to relax muscle tension in all 3 aspects of the foot to prevent stiff muscles and improve flexibility. Standing with a foam roller, begin by rolling your lateral (outside) arch, then your transverse (center) arch, followed by your medial (inner) arch. Be sure to roll them in this order to avoid injury and optimize results.
  4. Reflexology massage: Reflexology massage is a great way to release unwanted tension in your feet as well as improve your overall health in other areas of your body. Ensuring your feet aren’t harboring any tension is critical for good balance and performance.

Incorporating these simple techniques into your daily regimen will help strengthen your feet, which can in turn improve your athletic performance, including speed, balance and power.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Loosen Tight Hamstrings By Rolling Your Feet

I know, it sounds kind of weird but I promise it works! You can actually loosen your tight hamstrings by rolling your feet on a tennis ball. All of the muscles in our bodies are connected. The tissue in our feet is often very tight from overuse, and that tightness travels upward into our legs. If you commit to doing this exercise daily, you should see a change in your flexibility within a week.

Before you begin rolling, I recommend testing your flexibility with a forward bend. This will give you a good bench mark to measure against to see if the rolling is helping. Come into a standing forward bend with your feet hip distance apart. Press down into your feet, lift your front thighs and straighten your legs. Roll your front upper thighs in, and widen across your hamstrings.
You can use yoga bricks for extra support if your hands aren’t able to reach the floor. Make a note of how much height you need to place your palms flat, then roll up to standing position.

Now, stand close to a wall on a yoga mat or carpet, with one hand against the wall for added balance. Place a tennis ball under one foot and start to roll the sole of your foot over the tennis ball. Play around with the amount of pressure you are using. It should be intense, but pleasant. If it is painful in any way, you are applying too much pressure.

Bend your toes over the tennis ball and massage the backs of your toes. Then work your way down the sole of your foot, all the way back to your heel. Roll along the inner and outer arches. Keep rolling for at least two minutes on each foot. Once you’ve rolled both feet, try doing another forward bend and see if your flexibility has improved at all.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.