The intrinsic muscles of the foot are made up of four layers. Each muscle is responsible for a primary movement and when working together they provide support of the longitudinal arch of the foot. As a unit, they oppose the forces that collapse the arch during activities of daily living.
To improve your risk of injury, it is important to start with a strong base. By increasing your foot intrinsic muscles, you are helping to improve balance and stability. Having a strong base has several benefits which include:
- Increases ankle stability
- Decreases stress on knee, joints and supporting muscles
- Increases hip stability
- Increase balance
Equal Standing Posture
Equal standing posture is the basis for all movement. It should be used while walking, running, or during any other exercise routine.
- Stand feet together with your big toes touching and your heels about one inch apart.
- Spread your toes and try to balance your weight on all four corners of your foot.
- Make sure you have good posture with your core tight and hips facing forward.
Single Leg Squat
- Standing foot should be engaging in the Equal Standing Posture exercise
- Keep your trunk and hips facing forward
- Fire your core muscles
- Knee of forward leg should be in line with laces of shoe, or if barefoot, it should be between the big toe and second toe.
- Hips and Trunk of body should be straight forward
- Trunk should be upright
- Engage core and glute muscles
Up and Over
Note: Model on the right has proper technique and model on the left has improper technique.
- While jumping use the leg on the ground for power to push off.
- Though in different spaces, both feet should hit the ground simultaneously.
- Land with flat feet, not on the balls or heels of the foot.
Yoga with Foot Intrinsics
Yoga is an excellent way to practice engaging the foot intrinsic muscles. With several poses that require both stability and fluidity, the muscles of the foot help keep the body balanced and upright. When we activate the foot intrinsic muscles, we are setting the tone, and actively aligning our bodies so that we are starting off in a neutral position. In order to maintain this position, we must continue to fire the muscles of the foot which will lead to the proper engagement of other body parts like the quads, glutes, core and back.
The Triangle Pose
Note: Model on the right has proper technique and model on the left has improper technique
- Feet should be one leg’s distance apart, and your back foot should be placed at a 75 to 90 degree angle inward to your body.
- Your torso should be parallel to the floor.
- Evenly distribute your weight on each foot pressing onto the mat to stabilize the ankles.
The Fierce Pose
- Feet are together with only big toes touching, while bending your knees.
- Put your feet in an equal standing posture with knees pressed together.
- Flex your hips
- Engage your buttocks so your pelvis tilts in a neutral position.
- Engage your core muscles for a stable base
- Raise your arms over your head
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