You might think the nuts and bolts of good posture only involves standing straight and tall. However, when your feet achieve and maintain a proper arch, that transfers to textbook posture throughout your entire body.
Volumes of research is finding that poor foot posture can cause pain and poor alignment in your knees, hips, pelvis and spine. The most common compensation people have in their feet is over pronation, where the arch of one or both feet are positioned too close to the ground (known as â€śflat feetâ€ť). The calf muscle that primarily resists over pronation is the posterior tibialis, specifically its tendon that runs behind the inner ankle bone, through the arch, and attaches at the bottom of each foot.
Got flat feet? You need to strengthen the posterior tibialis muscles so they can provide the necessary foot posture during every weight lift. That involves building the muscle and keeping fitter. If theyâ€™re out of whack youâ€™ll be shortchanging your gains in every way. Whatâ€™s worse? You may not even know theyâ€™re weak.
1. Test yourselfÂ
Stand barefoot facing a full-length mirror with your feet shoulder width apart. Do you feel the majority of your body weight resting on the inside of one foot, or both feet? Is one arch closer to the ground than the other? Are both arches close to resting flat? If so, you lack the foot posture thatâ€™s necessary to keep your knees, hips and pelvis in line. If youâ€™re still unsure, have a training partner take a photo of your feet at ground level.
2. Reposition your archÂ
Achieving proper alignment of your feet and arches isnâ€™t difficult. While standing barefoot with your feet shoulder width apart, roll your feet outward as far as possible while maintaining ground contact with the base of each big toe. The key here is to avoid lifting the base of each big toe off the ground. Once youâ€™ve achieved that foot posture, each arch is in its proper position.
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3. Train postureÂ
Have a partner place the tip of a pen or thin marker against the arch of each foot. The tip of the pen provides tactile feedback. If you feel your arch press into the pen, roll your feet further out. With the pens in place, perform 10 slow body weight squats. Once youâ€™re able to maintain a proper arch during all 10 reps, make the drill more challenging. Stand on one leg, have a partner place a pen against your arch, and maintain posture for one minute.
4. Make it part of your programmeÂ
Having a pen resting against each arch while you perform a squat or deadlift is a terrific way to strengthen the posterior tibialis and improve joint alignment in the knees, hips and pelvis. You can also use the pen for the single leg squat and lunges to test your foot posture during balance specific movements that mimic how youâ€™ll move in sports. Correct this and youâ€™ll be stronger and more injury resistant.
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