In this video I show some drills to help strengthen your feet and lower legs with the goal of improving your balance and health while also helping to prevent future injuries. These exercises are also great if you’re trying to recover from an injury such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, or you’re looking to develop more power and strength to become a more fit athlete. And of course, if you’re striving towards a more minimalist lifestyle and wish to be able to walk, run, and comfortably move about barefoot, this is the video to watch.
Hey this is Dr. Gangemi, the Sock Doc. I wanted to make this little quick video to accompany a couple of articles on the website such as “Lose Your Shoes” on how to transition into more minimalistic footwear and a barefoot lifestyle properly and safely so you don’t injure yourself and you can improve your health and fitness.
So a couple of things we talk about. One, your hopefully always barefoot when you’re walking around the house or walking around flat surfaces where you feel safe, comfortable. You know, you’re only using shoes for protection. So you starting to stand and balance and do your daily activities barefoot.
Once you can do that pretty comfortably throughout the day, then I want you to work on basically balancing on one leg, like so. Just put your other leg out in front of you and you should be as tall as a tree, strong as a tree trunk and not be shaking at all with your other leg off the ground. And then switch them. Once you’re steady on one leg, switch to the other. Hold there for a good 30 seconds, even a minute.
Now once you can do that, then I want you to work on closing your eyes. Basically you should be as steady as you can with your eyes closed and that single leg. You’re going to feel you ankle probably wobble a little bit more, but your eyes open to your eyes closed like I am right now, really no movement in either leg. So go back and do them both and try and do maybe 30 seconds with your eyes open. Close your eyes. 30 seconds with your eyes closed.
You’ll feel little imbalances in there in your ankles. Right now my left ankle feels a little bit more wobbly than my right. Something I can work on a little bit more. After that you’re going to basically do a really slow calf raise. You can obviously do these with both feet. It’s not too difficult to do. But if your feet are really weak and you’re really at the beginning of stages, you can go up, hold it and then slowly lower your calves. Or slowly lower your heels like so. Nice and controlled just like that. Hold it up there. Slowly lower it.
Then after that, I want you to go back to the single leg, much more difficult. Put the other leg just off the ground or in back of that calf. And then slowly go up. Hold it. And then back down really slow. Switch them, up, hold it, back down. From the side, it’s going to look like this. Hold it up, nice and controlled. Back down, slowly touch the heel. Don’t slam it. So it looks like this. So you’re not doing this. Like back and slamming the heel. It’s very slow and controlled. Like that.
Once you’ve done that, your ankles will probably be feeling it. Again, if you’re new to this, don’t keep on progressing as I’m talking in the video right now. Just stop and do that. If your ankles and foot muscles are feeling sore the next day, take a day off and just do it as you can progress on your own.
After that, you’re basically going to be doing a slow jog in place. Where heels aren’t touching. And that again should be nice and controlled and slow. So you’re not touching your heels like this and slamming. You can probably hear that. It’s nice and controlled. And you can do that with a chalk line. Or like this. I just put some rocks out. Stand in that square and you should be basically staying in the square just like this. Bring those knees up a little bit. My heels are never touching and I’m not all over the place. Nice and controlled.
Working on my proprioception, my balance, and my foot ankle lower leg strength. Once I’ve done that, then I could probably start doing an easy jog or an easy run I should say. We really don’t jog. That’s a jarring motion. An easy run with more minimalistic shoes if I’m already there. It’s going to help me be able to run more barefoot and slowly progress up so I can do those things without injuring myself.
These exercises are also great for foot rehab from Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, those sorts of things. And help your overall balance and health. Thanks.