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Thread: Another body part thread! page

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    Iron Will's Avatar
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    Another body part thread!

    So let's talk about feet and ankles. What do you do to strengthen them up?

    In my experience assessing movement patterns for a living I have noticed a considerable percentage of the population has very weak ankles and feet. This especially matters when one is squatting. One of the main reasons I see an individual's knees cave in is because the individual doesn't shift the ankle over the center of the foot which causes inefficient power transfer though the rest of the chain.

    Thoughts?

    Comments?

    Corrective exercises?

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    I think I would need a much larger head or much smaller butt to keep my knees that far back. It's a struggle enough to keep them over the toes instead of lunging out into space!


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    Gorbag's Avatar
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    Try weighted one legged stretching on a leg press machine or standing calf raises with dumbbell or machine with progressive stretching of the Achilles tendon and the ankle joint. Also running barefoot on the beach or in snow, up and down stairs - weighted or un-weighted ankle rotations using hands for stability…

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Will View Post
    So let's talk about feet and ankles. What do you do to strengthen them up?

    In my experience assessing movement patterns for a living I have noticed a considerable percentage of the population has very weak ankles and feet. This especially matters when one is squatting. One of the main reasons I see an individual's knees cave in is because the individual doesn't shift the ankle over the center of the foot which causes inefficient power transfer though the rest of the chain.

    Thoughts?

    Comments?

    Corrective exercises?
    I like the idea of barefoot work, especially on uneven terrain/sand, but I'm not sure I understand how you concluded that these people have weak feet/ankles as opposed to poor proprioceptive abilities in the region of the hip and/or weak abductors and related musculature. Are you sure it's not an issue higher up in the kinetic chain?
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    Iron Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMahogany View Post
    I like the idea of barefoot work, especially on uneven terrain/sand, but I'm not sure I understand how you concluded that these people have weak feet/ankles as opposed to poor proprioceptive abilities in the region of the hip and/or weak abductors and related musculature. Are you sure it's not an issue higher up in the kinetic chain?
    First off to answer your question about issues further up the kinetic chain. Oh absolutely there are issues further up the chain! Most people can't hip hinge properly because they're quad dominant and unable to activate the glutes, periformis, and other muscles that adduct the femor plus weak abs and tight lumbar spine (lower cross syndrome) so yes absolutely there are issues further up the chain.

    I guess what I'm thinking about is that most people, (this site may not be the best cross section to look at) don't use minimalist shoes or work out barefoot. Most people wear soft soled running shoes or high heels or dress shoes that do nothing for your feet. High heels may strengthen your ankles but they shorten the calves which cause different issues again. These types of shoes are just like putting your foot in a brace 8 or more hours a day which weaken the foot, and I'm going to hypothesize, the ankle because it doesn't have the opportunity to stabilize like it would when one is barefoot.

    This could also be part of the reason for issues up the kinetic chain because if your weak in one spot something else has to compensate for the weakness. Knee pain? Tight TFL? Sartorius pulling on the knee displacing the tibia?

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    Iron Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbag View Post
    Try weighted one legged stretching on a leg press machine or standing calf raises with dumbbell or machine with progressive stretching of the Achilles tendon and the ankle joint. Also running barefoot on the beach or in snow, up and down stairs - weighted or un-weighted ankle rotations using hands for stability…
    Running barefoot in the snow? Damn you are a bad ass!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Will View Post
    Running barefoot in the snow? Damn you are a bad ass!
    No problems, I did it every winter when I stayed in northern europe, here at the pasific coast of South America I must now stick to running barefoot at the beach instead!

    You can make intervalls from a warm Sauna and do "sets" as long as you can take it in the snow and then go in for re-heating yourself. Even better is running around in (flaming) shorts only and without a shirt and do some rolling around or wrestling in the snow with training partners etc...

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    Walking around in minimalist shoes. I started with Five Fingers, but recently started wearing vivibareboot shoes to work and pretty much everywhere. They have even less of a padded heal than the Five Fingers and really force you to walk differently -- using the calf muscles more and stretching my Achilles tendon a bit to make running easier after all these years of wearing bad shoes.

    What about jump roping?

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    If you want strong feet and ankles you must exercise them. Get your feet out of their foot coffins. Walk around on uneven surfaces with your freed-up feet. And forget about those "non activating glutes". I don't think that's even possible. If most people aren't going barefoot or minimal and most people have weak feet and ankles, it's not because the largest muscle in their body forgot how to activate. It's because they're wearing too much shoe all the time.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    If you want strong feet and ankles you must exercise them. Get your feet out of their foot coffins. Walk around on uneven surfaces with your freed-up feet. And forget about those "non activating glutes". I don't think that's even possible. If most people aren't going barefoot or minimal and most people have weak feet and ankles, it's not because the largest muscle in their body forgot how to activate. It's because they're wearing too much shoe all the time.
    Are you suggesting LAS (Limp Ass Syndrome) is not a real condition? Tell that to all the globo-gym personal trainers.

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