6 Exercises to Celebrate your feet
By Amanda Barton
“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm” Abraham Lincoln
It’s a common assumption that asymmetry in a rider’s pelvis lies at the root of many riding problems. While this is certainly true for a lot of people, there are plenty of times were you can spend all the time you like working on your pelvis but not fix the underlying problem. Of course that makes complete sense if the problem lies elsewhere in the body.
So don’t ignore your feet! Have a go at these really simple exercises, you might be really surprised by how much it helps to improve your riding.
Exercise 1: The KISS exercise (Keep it Simple Stupid). Just relax your foot!!! We don’t think much about our feet and hold a lot of tension in the toes, sole of the foot and ankle. Just bringing awareness to this as you stand and walk and remembering to soften the foot as you ride will allow the arching and flattening to take place. This will allow the foot to work correctly and to keep the body in alignment. Simple as that!
Exercise 2: Sit down, take your shoes off and twist your foot, as if you were wringing out wet towel. You may feel that one foot moves more easily than the other and that it may twist more easily in one direction than the other. These differences are significant to your movement so pay attention to them.
Exercise 3: Practice arching and flattening your foot. Make sure that when you make an arch you are not screwing up your toes, you want to keep them really soft rather than making a claw. To arch your foot try bringing the ball of your foot towards your heel and then try bringing the heel towards the toes. Practice both until you can do it softly and only move as much as you can without the toes tightening.
The results that we would expect are that as you arch the foot the leg rotates outwards, the pelvis rotate backwards (as if you were sitting on your jeans pockets) and your hips joints extend (open). The opposite will happen as you flatten your foot.