It is important to have good strength and mobility of your intrinsic foot muscles. These small muscles support your arch and distribute forces evenly through your foot as you move around. It is also important to have strong and mobile calves because they also help with force absorption as you take a step and with power production as you push-off
These are 3 exercises for improving strength and mobility through your foot and calf:
Single Leg Calf Raise
It’s good to wear your shoes for this exercise as it can make it more comfortable for your foot. Start by standing on the ball of your foot at the edge of a step, holding on for balance and stand on one foot. Rise up on your tiptoes, then slowly lower your heel down so it drops below the level of the step and repeat. When you rise up, keep your weight over your big toes to make sure you are not rolling onto the outer edge of your foot. Doing calf raises off a step allows a bigger stretch of the calves and a larger range of motion. This exercise is challenging so feel free to do it with two feet together until you feel more comfortable. Repeat 5-10 reps x 3 sets.
Start sitting on a chair, lift your big toe up independently of your other four toes. Then swap by pressing your big toe down while lifting your other toes. This is challenging to coordinate so take your time to practice. Try doing this standing for a challenge. This exercise is great for addressing flat feet!
Calf foam rolling
Grab your foam roller and work through those calves. Before you roll, push yourself up through your arms so your bottom is off the floor. This will feel quite tender so start with both calves on the roller. If you want to make it more intense, cross one leg on top of the other and foam roll just the bottom calf. This is perfect to incorporate into your mobility routine, warm-up, cool-down or just any time of the day. Make foam rolling part of your routine and your body will thank you for it
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