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Feet: Ball or heel?

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  • Feet: Ball or heel?

    It's been ingrained into my subconscious to keep my weight in my heels for any type of strength training: Deadlift, squats, over-head presses, etc.
    I've been having a great deal of difficulty with lateral (side to side) jumps and shuffles, and one of the women I work out with who attended a baseball camp told me it's because I need to push off with the balls of my feet, not my heels. I tried it; it's harder because I'm not used to it, but I think once I get the new technique down it will be for the best.
    So let me see if I've got this straight: It seems like any time you're staying in one spot and doing strength training, the weight should be in the heels, but if you're trying to propel yourself in any direction; up, forward, sideways, even a backwards run, then the weight should be in the balls of your feet. Is that the gist of it?

  • #2
    You aren't squatting or bending over for jumps and shuffles.
    In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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    • #3
      static training = weight over arches, balanced between heels and balls

      dynamic training (power/speed/agility) will put you on the balls of your feet more often than not
      I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

      Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

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      • #4
        A trainer at my chiropractor's office told me to remain evenly on my feet, and try to squeeze the floor with my toes while doing squats. It's very difficult...
        Primal since March 5, 2012
        SW: 221 | CW: 204 | LPW: 166 | UGW: 140 (80 lbs loss)



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        • #5
          Originally posted by jenn26point2 View Post
          A trainer at my chiropractor's office told me to remain evenly on my feet, and try to squeeze the floor with my toes while doing squats. It's very difficult...
          I do the exact opposite. I actually lift my toes off the ground to keep me from balancing between ball and toes rather than ball and heel.
          The Champagne of Beards

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
            I do the exact opposite. I actually lift my toes off the ground to keep me from balancing between ball and toes rather than ball and heel.
            both lifting and squeezing are bad practice. weight should be distributed evenly on your feet. then you should concentrate on driving through your heels. your toes may feel "light" but don't try to actually lift them off the ground.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by not on the rug View Post
              both lifting and squeezing are bad practice. weight should be distributed evenly on your feet. then you should concentrate on driving through your heels. your toes may feel "light" but don't try to actually lift them off the ground.
              Good to know. I think I was compensating for a propensity to leaning forward, caused by insufficient hip mobility. I'll try with the toes "neutral" tomorrow morning.

              FWIW: This post over at Robb Wolf's website resulted in a few form epiphanies for me with the breathing/anterior pelvic tilt issue (despite the fact that I don't wear a belt when I lift): Improving Squats with Diaphragmatic Breathing and Voodoo - Jim Laird
              The Champagne of Beards

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                Good to know. I think I was compensating for a propensity to leaning forward, caused by insufficient hip mobility. I'll try with the toes "neutral" tomorrow morning.

                FWIW: This post over at Robb Wolf's website resulted in a few form epiphanies for me with the breathing/anterior pelvic tilt issue (despite the fact that I don't wear a belt when I lift): Improving Squats with Diaphragmatic Breathing and Voodoo - Jim Laird
                hip mobility and achilles/calf mobility are huge. once you get those situations straightened out, your form can/will improve dramatically.

                i never wear a belt either.

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                • #9
                  Yes, weight lifting over the heels and movement from the balls. (I'm not going to laugh at that no matter what)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dragonmamma View Post
                    It's been ingrained into my subconscious to keep my weight in my heels for any type of strength training: Deadlift, squats, over-head presses, etc.
                    I've been having a great deal of difficulty with lateral (side to side) jumps and shuffles, and one of the women I work out with who attended a baseball camp told me it's because I need to push off with the balls of my feet, not my heels. I tried it; it's harder because I'm not used to it, but I think once I get the new technique down it will be for the best.
                    So let me see if I've got this straight: It seems like any time you're staying in one spot and doing strength training, the weight should be in the heels, but if you're trying to propel yourself in any direction; up, forward, sideways, even a backwards run, then the weight should be in the balls of your feet. Is that the gist of it?
                    For things like jumping, your foot acts sort of like a spring, so the final drive is going to come from the forefoot. Trying to jump only from the heel doesn't allow you to recruit all the muscles in the foot that are meant for that purpose--you're only using the leg muscles that way (sort of like the difference between running in stabilizing shoes as compared to running in barefoot shoes). Also, you will land lighter as well if you are not coming down directly on the heel.
                    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                    Owly's Journal

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