Toega – Yoga For Your Feet

Try these foot exercises, which take no time at all but can massively improve your running efficiency and reduce your risk of injury

Toega – Yoga For Your Feet

Foot strength is an oft-overlooked area of a runner’s anatomy, but weak feet can contribute to a host of injuries upstream: from the achilles to the knee.

The following ‘toega’ exercises can massively improve your running economy and reduce your risk of injury.

Reps and sets: Try to do the exercises for 5-10 minutes, twice a day.

Rooting the big toe

toega

Why do it?
To improve the stabilising strength of your big toe, which can prevent overpronation
Technique:
– Push your big toe down into the floor and raise your other toes off the floor
– Keep the ball of your foot on the floor
– Build up until you can hold the position for 30 seconds – until then, pulse your toes up and down
Top tip:
Make sure you don’t roll your foot inwards in order to lift your toes

Big toe under

toega

Why do it?
To improve the mobility in your first metatarsal
Technique:
– Stand on an exercise mat or soft surface
– Bend your big toe underneath your foot
– Keep your other toes out straight
Top tip:
When viewed from above, it should look as though your big toe has been chopped off

Big toe out

toega

Why do it?
To improve mobility in your metatarsals
Technique:
– Leaving your big toe out straight, bend your other toes underneath your foot
– Push your big toe into the floor
Top tip:
Use your hand to bend your toes under your foot if you can’t do so naturally

Hands on heels, extend hips

toega

Why do it?
To strengthen your plantar fascia (the thick connective tissue running along the arch of your foot)
Technique:
– Kneel on the floor, with your torso upright
– Place your hands on your heels
– Extend your hips as your straighten your arms
– When your arms are extended, pulse your big toes and gently rock your body back and forth
Top tip:
Focus on pulsing your big toes only, leaving your other toes as relaxed as possible

Sit on heels, big toe pulses

toega

Why do it?
To strengthen your plantar fascia
Technique:
– Kneel on the floor, with your torso upright
– Sit back on your heels
– Feel the stretch in your toes
– From that position, pulse your big toes (push them down into the floor repeatedly) to rock your body gently back and forth
Top tip:
To begin, don’t rest your whole weight on your heels

Illustration: Peter Liddiard
All exercises courtesy of Vivobarefoot. To see the original article, head here

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