Welcome back to this week’s edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays. This week, we are talking to those of you who are looking to improve the strength of your feet. What things can you do in the gym to help your foot muscles get stronger?
1) Spend Little Bits of Time In Less-Restrictive Shoes
Our first tip to help strengthen your foot muscles is to spend micro amounts of time in flatter shoes or less restrictive shoes. Many of us spend a lot of time in stiff, supportive shoes, which support your feet so your muscles don’t have to. But, if you spend little bits of time each day in more flexible and flatter shoes with less support, your muscles will become stronger and better-trained to support your feet.
Action Step: Start with a little bit of time, such as 5-10 minutes, and try wearing shoes that have less support and have a smaller heel. Slowly work your way up to wearing them for longer and longer, but make sure to only wear them intermittently to not overload the muscles of your feet. Eventually, you may be able to wear them exclusively!
2) Think About Your Toes
Our second tip to help strengthen your foot muscles is to think about your toes. What motions can your toes do? They can bend and they can straighten. Practice the motions of bending your toes and straightening your toes while you are in your car, sitting at your desk, at the dinner table, or wherever else you like!
Action Step: Get into the habit of practicing squeezing your toe muscles (both the tops and bottoms of the toes) throughout your day. Whether it is at lunch, on your way to work, or while you are watching TV in the evening, spend a few minutes squeezing the muscles on the bottoms of your feet to bend your toes and on the top of your feet to straighten your toes.
Related: ‘Tis The (Flip-Flops) Season
3) Use The Calf & Ant Tib Machines
Our third tip to help strengthen your foot muscles is to use the calf machine and the anterior tibialis machine at your gym. These overlooked machines at your gym can help you to create a tremendous amount of strength in your feet. The calf machine challenges a motion called plantar flexion, often called calf raises, while the anterior tibialis machine challenges a motion called dorsiflexion, or lifting the foot. Many gyms have one or both of these machines, so be sure to give them a try the next time you are in.
Action Step: Just like with any new exercise, start with less and work towards more. When you first start using these machines, start with one set of each and see how your body feels in the hours and days following. As long as your body still feels well, you can slowly increase the volume with each while adding these machines into your regular resistance training routines.