Weekend Challenge – A Solid Foundation

At the very foundation of our bodies are these beautiful appendages called feet.  OK, maybe not everyone’s feet are “beautiful “– but the function of the foot is extraordinary.  Unfortunately, due to many factors, our feet are not always in the best shape.  What’s worse, being the foundation of our bodies, problems and issues with the feet have a way of creating upstream problems elsewhere in the body.  Take care of your feet, and you’re setting yourself on a stable, high-performing foundation.  Abuse your feet, and well, good luck reaching your potential in deadlifts, squats, jumps, running, etc.

This week’s mobility challenge is all about the feet.  What is good foot position?  Why do we care?  How do we practice this good position so that it becomes second nature by the time the next back squat 1RM day comes around?  As always, one of the best places to look to find proper positioning and movement mechanics is “the doctor” – Kelly Starrett.

Watch Kelly’s video [HERE] from 2012, where he discusses with Brian MacKenzie the mechanics of the feet, good position vs bad position, and ways to practice better position.  Then, try it out for yourself!

Our prescription for you is this (must be completed barefoot or sock-footed):  Next time you’re standing for an extended period of time, point your feet straight forward.  Create torque by locking down your core and glutes, creating external rotation through the hip. Screw your feet into the ground, like you’re a monkey standing on a branch.  Tighten up like you’re about to go for that PR – all the way, baby!  Once you have it, take down the torque (Kelly suggests ~20% for just standing), trying to keep your feet in that nice, forward, arched position.  See how long you can stand there, and how it feels.  Then take a walk around your house and/or complete a few sets of 10 air squats, keeping that solid foot position.  In the video, Brian suggests walking around the block barefoot – but we’re not in California, and this is not the summer – so around your house is just fine!

For those of you with flat feet, this may feel weird or even cause cramping of those muscles that are under-utilized.  Take note of it, and keep coming back to work on strengthening through good position.

As always, let us know how it goes!  Or just blow us away with your stellar performance increases

Karen Southwick