Train The Foot For Athleticism, Strength & Injury Prevention
One of the very first things I was taught at Speed of Sport by Nick Curson is how the foot is the single most overlooked body part in conventional training systems. The strength of the foot and its role in athleticism is something Marv Marinovich counted as a commonality among elite athletes.
I found out first hand afterward just now weak my feet were when we began doing various foot strength-related drills. That first day seeing these unconventional methods at Speed of Sport, and continuing education has shaped my own training philosophy more than anything else. Once a weakness in my own training system, a premium is now placed on the foot-it's status is considered a vital piece to building an athlete.
Former UFC Champion Rafael Dos Anjos performing Speed of Sport footwork drills. RDA is one of Nick's long-tenured clients.
Why is the importance of strength development of the feet largely neglected by conventional training systems?
- The feet provide the foundation of all athletic movement. Why? Remember, they are the only parts of the body that is in constant contact with the ground.
- They function as foundational support for your body mass.
- They drive us multi-directionally with purpose and speed.
- They produce force.
- They provide a contact fulcrum for the changeover of elastic energy in the stretch shortening cycle in many sporting movements.
- The feet are our main proprioceptors in sports, meaning they send information from the ground up to be processed. The better we train our movements (including footwork), the quicker this information loop occurs. Rather than information going from our proprioceptors (feet in this case) to our head, then back down our spine before we react, we can train the propriospinal process. This means that the information is sent directly to the nerves in our spine and bypasses the brain, meaning we don't have to 'think', we can act real-time.
- Proper foot biomechanics are the origin point of setting off correct muscle firing patterns (i.e. why a heel down squat is not the functional exercise it's made out to be in team sports).
- Enable balance.
- They act as shock absorbers to protect us from injury.
Training Lazar Stojadinovic on the plyometric machine
Training foot strength allows your feet to truly support body mass load and accomodate forces during both every day and athletic movements.
We train the feet to be strong supports, as well as in different ranges of movement (ROM's), different speeds, as well as in various planes of movement. These exercises also improve your body control and balance in space, as well as many aforementioned qualities of athleticism.
Is your training truly holistic, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to your fitness and athletic performance? Schedule an eval for an analysis plus personalized action plan.