FOOT & ANKLE
The single leg stand is one of the most simple yet effective foot and ankle exercises there is. Unfortunately most individuals perform it incorrectly. This video discusses the proper technique and form.
Proper foot and ankle mechanics are critical for performance, muscle function, and health. This video describes the correct positioning of the feet in order to achieve 3 points of contact (heel, lateral portion of foot, and big toe).
Dr. Seedman's client demonstrates proper technique and execution of a single leg stand on a BOSU ball. This is a great drill for waking up the muscle spindles and stabilizers of the ankles, feet, and toes - a common area of weakness in most athletes.
In order to deal with many athletes' various foot and ankle weaknesses and deficiencies, Dr. Seedman developed the single-leg swap out of pure necessity. Find out why it's become one his and his athletes' favorites.
Perturbation Training is excellent for the stabilizers of the body especially the feet and ankles. The stability ball increases the oscillatory effect making it much more difficult.
This eccentric isometric BOSU squat is one of the most challenging stabilization exercises for the lower body. The stimulus to the feet, ankles, and toes is very intense. Progress first by starting with the eyes open variation then move to the eyes closed version shown here. These are not for overloading the lower body's prime movers; instead, they target foot and ankle activation--a common area of weakness even in advanced athletes.
This perturbation variation of the eccentric isometric lunge is highly effective not only for stimulating the muscles in the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, but also for activating the stabilizers of the feet, ankles, and toes.
In this video, Dr. Seedman puts some of his collegiate and professional athletes (mainly football) through a very difficult variation of the single-leg stand. When Dr. Seedman first begins working with athletes, he frequently finds significant weaknesses and imbalances in their feet, ankles, and toes.
This is an advanced variation of the single leg swap that works on rate of stabilization development (RSD) as well as reactive stabilization, and uniform stabilization. The key is performing the swap rapidly to force the muscles to turn on quickly.
This is a great exercise for working rate of stabilization (RSD) of the lower body particularly in the feet, ankles, and toes. It can also be performed against a wall but the partner variation is preferred.
This is an advanced single leg drill that should only be performed once the athlete has developed appropriate levels of stability and strength in the ankles, feet, and toes. This is another great exercise for working rate of stabilization development (RSD).
Dr. Seedman's client demonstrates proper foot and ankle positioning on eccentric isometric pause squats. Notice the arches in his feet. Placing more weight on the outer portion of his feet and ankles helps stabilize the movement. You can also see that his toes are just slightly flared (mostly straight ahead) rather than excessively flared or externally rotated (a common flaw with many lifters).
This is one of the most critical drills an athlete or any individual can perform who demonstrates weak ankles especially valgus ankle collapse or pronation. Performing this drill several times per day will gradually remedy pronation and valgus ankle collapse of the feet and ankles.
This drill is much more difficult than it looks. It's great for strengthening the stabilizers of the feet, ankles, and toes as well as correcting gait mechanics. Eyes closed is an exceptionally challenging movement. Keep your core tight throughout and concentrate on keeping every part of your body as aligned and straight as possible.
This variation of the single-leg swap is not only an excellent regression of the basic single-leg swap but it's also a great movement for teaching an individual to keep their feet and hips aligned with each other which is a critical component of proper walking, running, sprinting, and overall gait mechanics. Here's a few of Dr. Seedman's football players performing the movement.
The single leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL) swap is an incredible drill for improving mobility and stability of the hip hinge position. Simply perform a single leg RDL and perform swaps while holding the eccentric isometric position. Just be prepared to deal with a serious burn in the glutes and hamstrings as well as the feet and ankles.
The Bulgarian kettlebell swap is perhaps the most painful yet also one of the most beneficial variations of the swap. Simply perform an eccentric isometric Bulgarian squat, and then hold this position while passing the weight between the legs. This is also one of the single most effective drills for simultaneously improving mobility and stability in the lower extremities. You’re essentially forced to stabilize your lower body and core while the surrounding musculature are contracting in a stretched and loaded position.
Increasing strength and innervation to the shin and ankle dorsiflexor muscles is critical for improving foo and ankle function as well as overall lower body mechanics. Although there different devices that can be used to perform resisted toe/shin raises, band resistance is very simple and practical. These drills can be performed using single or double leg. In addition you can use a plate under the entire foot (to increase tension) or under the heel only with the forefoot hanging off the plate (this allows greater stretching of the shin muscles at the bottom of the movement). Several sets of 10-12 repetitions using a several second pause in the stretched and contracted positions is ideal.
This one appears simple however it’s one of the more difficult ankle stabilization drills. As an added bonus you’ll be integrating intense glute, hamstring, and core activation throughout as you attempt to hold a single leg bridge while lying on a ball. There’s no cheating on this one. In fact you’ll be unable to lock this drill in and hold the position unless the foot and ankle is properly aligned with the hip. Even a momentary lapse in foot and ankle innervation or loss of proper lower body alignment will result in loss of balance. When you can master this by performing it eyes closed for 30 seconds or more on each leg you will have most likely eliminating a majority of foot and ankle dysfunction as well as hip and core deficiencies. Here are a few of my NFL athletes including Taylor Heinicke, Jarius Wynn, and Jake Banta showing how it's done.
Many individuals with flat feet, ankle pronation, tight calves, and externally rotated feet have very week shin muscles particular those around the anterior tibialis. Increasing strength and innervation to these muscles is critical for improving foo and ankle function as well as overall lower body mechanics. Although there different devices that can be used to perform resisted toe/shin raises, band resistance is very simple and practical. These drills can be performed using single or double leg. In addition you can use a plate under the entire foot (to increase tension) or under the heel only with the forefoot hanging off the plate (this allows greater stretching of the shin muscles at the bottom of the movement). Several sets of 10-12 repetitions using a several second pause in the stretched and contracted positions is ideal.
This is simple yet incredibly effective drill for eliminating foot and ankle dysfunction. Simply stand on one leg laterally on a hill and hold your position while maintaining balance. For individuals with ankle pronation and flat feet the version shown in the video is ideal (the decline portion of the hill will be on the medial/portion of the plant foot). In essence this feeds dysfunction as the angled position is attempting to push the individual into even greater pronation. As a result the person will have to resist this to a greater extent by relying on the muscles responsible for supination. This is a great drill for restoring the natural arch of the foot. Here are a few of my collegiate and NFL football players showing how it's done at Georgia Sports Performance training center.
Here’s another drill that can be used to resolve any type of foot and ankle dysfunction. For those who struggle with flat feet and ankle pronation you’ll want to load the weight contralaterally (holding the weight in the opposite arm of the plant leg) as shown in the video. The impact this has on the arches of the feet is incredible as you'll be resisting pronation and valgus ankle collapse. For those who tend to over supinate, the drill would be loaded in an ipsilateral fashion (same arm and same leg). To increase the difficulty try performing these eyes closed on a softer surface and hold 30 seconds per side. Here’s a few of my NFL athletes including Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke and Jake Banta demonstrating it.
This is a fairly advanced single leg stand variation that requires incredibly strong levels of foot and ankle activation. Simply stand on a ledge or aerobics step box and have half of your foot (medial or lateral half) hanging off the ledge while maintaining your balance. You’ll literally feel your whole foot squeezing and firing to keep your body from falling off the edge. If you’re a pronator or have flat feet and fallen arches you’ll want the inside or medially portion of your foot hanging off the edge as shown in the video. In contrast, for those who over supinate or have high arches you’ll want the outer or lateral half of your foot hanging of the ledge. Hold each side for 20-30 seconds while maintain proper body alignment and posture.
This is one of the single most effective drills you can perform to eliminate flat feet, fallen arches, ankle pronation, weak foot activation, and ankle eversion. I have nearly all of my athletes perform the ankle pushout daily as most individuals suffer with the aforementioned foot and ankle issues. The key is pushing out as hard as possible to the outside of the ankles while pressing the base of the big toe into the floor. You should feel the arches begin to reform within seconds if performed correctly and intensely. This represents the same foot and ankle mechanics that should be used on any lower body exercise including squats, hinges, lunges, dealifts, and jumping movements.