Vionic Presents

4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Feet

By: Vionic Shoes

Juliet Kaska is one of the country's leading fitness experts, celebrity trainers and fitness entrepreneurs. Here, she shares why it's so important to strengthen your feet and ankles, along with four easy exercises to get you started.



As a fitness trainer, I see a common misconception among clients that foot exercises are only necessary for those recovering from foot injuries or chronic pain. However, that is hardly the case! Serving as the foundation of your body, your feet provide support and are the reason you can walk, run and achieve motion in general. We tend to focus our workouts on strengthening our muscles, and the muscles in your feet and toes should not be excluded. Great for everyone and any fitness level, here are a few of my exercise recommendations to help maintain healthy, happy feet.

Ankle Circles
If you are looking to increase flexibility and mobility, ankle circles are a great exercise to practice. I prefer to do mine lying down so I have a better view of my ankles' range of motion, and I can better stabilize my lower leg while making the circles.

  1. Lie down on your back with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the floor. (Place a pillow under your head if needed.)
  2. Hold your left leg with both of your hands, as close to your ankle as possible.
  3. Holding the left leg steady, begin to make big, slow circles at the ankle joint. Imagine drawing the biggest circle you can with your big toe.
  4. Repeat 4-8 times in each direction on each side.

Trainer's Tip: After you do the first ankle, get up and walk around for a few seconds. Take notice of how the feet feel different.

Wave
The wave technique gives the muscles of the foot a nice, long stretch.

  1. Sit up with your legs out in front of you.
  2. You can do both feet at the same time or one at a time.
  3. Hold each of the following four positions for 2-5 seconds each:
    Position 1: Point your foot (like a ballet dancer).
    Position 2: Flex your toes and keep your foot pointed.
    Position 3: Flex your foot.
    Position 4: Point your foot and keep your toes flexed.
  4. Return to Position 1.
  5. Repeat 3-5 times per foot.

Trainer's Tip: If you have tight hamstrings and cannot straighten your legs, or you have an achy lower back, prop yourself up on a block, bolster or short stool.

Toe Taps
The toe tap technique focuses on—you guessed it—your toes. This technique strengthens your toes and can prevent potential injury. You can do this exercise either seated or standing.

  1. One at a time, lift each toe and then tap it down.
  2. Start with the big toe and work your way over to the little toe.
  3. Repeat with each toe 1-4 times per foot.

Toes Up
To achieve greater flexibility in your toes, the toes up technique is essential. You can do this exercise either seated or standing, and do either both feet at the same time or one foot at a time to isolate the movement.

  1. Keep your heel and ball of your foot down as you lift all the toes up as high as you can and hold for 30 seconds.
  2. Don't supinate (roll out) or pronate (roll in) the foot; keep an even balance across the heel and ball of the foot.
  3. Repeat 3-5 times holding for 30 seconds each time.

Trainer's Tip: Make sure to focus on the little toe as intently as the big toe.



Now that you're well on your way to strengthening your feet, try my ZenFitness30 Method—a 30-minute workout with active stretches designed to lengthen you like a dancer, develop your core like a Pilates Pro, get your heart pumping like an athlete and calm you like a Yogi. Get your free download with video instruction.



Vionic

About Vionic Shoes Feet were designed to walk on soft, natural elements like soil and sand, not the hard, flat man-made surfaces that make up so much of our modern world. Vionic shoes hug your arches like a natural footprint, giving you all-day support and promoting a more active lifestyle. Many Vionic shoes, sandals and orthotic shoe inserts have earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which certifies they are beneficial in promoting foot health. For additional information about Vionic, please visit VionicShoes.com.

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