Foot Strengthening Exercises: Part 2

 

Last week we looked at non-weight bearing exercises for foot strengthening. Today we are going to examine three exercises that incorporate resistance training using thera-bands. Thera-bands come in various strengths, widths, and materials. I recommend buying a few different strengths to accommodate your weaker and stronger muscles. So, grab your thera-band and let’s strengthen those feet!
1. Point & Flex
Set up:
-Sit on the floor with a long back, shoulders over sit bones
-One legs is lengthened long in parallel while the in pulled into passe’
-Wrap the thera-band flat around the ball so there extra above the toes
-Hold the thera-band with both ends in one hand, the other hand should hold in front for security.
-Now choose the resistance that’s right for you, hold closer to the ends for less resistance or towards the feet for more
Exercise:
-Pull the heal back to point the ankle
-Press through the ball of the foot to lengthen through the toes (point)
-Now reverse by pulling the toes back
-Pull the heal under and flex the foot
Reps:
-16 – 32 times with both feet



2. Lateral Rotation
Set up:
-Sit on the floor with a long back, shoulders over sit bones
-Both legs lengthened long in parallel
-Wrap the thera-band flat around the ball so there extra above the toes
-Hold the thera-band with both ends in one hand, the other hand should hold in front for security.
-Now choose the resistance that’s right for you, hold closer to the ends for less resistance or towards the feet for more
-Now place the opposite foot around the thera-band, so thera-band is now around one foot and behind the other (legs are parallel).
Exercise:
-Using the outside of the foot (little toe side) press the thera-band out
-Now reverse and control the foot as it returns to center
Reps:
-16 – 32 times with both feet



3. Medial Rotation
Set up:
-Sit on the floor with a long back, shoulders over sit bones
-Both legs lengthened long in parallel
-Wrap the thera-band flat around the ball so there extra above the toes
-Hold the thera-band with both ends in one hand, the other hand should hold in front for security.
-Now choose the resistance that’s right for you, hold closer to the ends for less resistance or towards the feet for more
-Now place the opposite acros the front of the foot and around the thera-band, so thera-band is now around one foot and behind the other (the legs are crossed)
Exercise:
-Using the inside of the foot (Big toe side) press the thera-band out
-Now reverse and control the foot as it returns to center
Reps:
-16 – 32 times with both feet



 
Answers to common questions:

Where can I buy thera-bands?
Your local sporting goods store!
How often should I perform these exercises?
You should try to do these exercises everyday. Remember the more you practice the quicker you’ll see results.
Why are my legs so sore?
These exercises are helping you build more muscle which causes tearing in your muscle tissue. These tears allow your body to rebuild and make more muscle fibers. Stretching you calves, hamstrings, quads, and achilles will help alleviate some of the discomfort.

 

 

Foot Strengthening Exercises: Part 1

 

Pointe work is very tedious and demands strength and control from not only your feet and ankles, but how you use your body as a whole. Through this entry I will outline specific exercises that will help you achieve the strength you need for ballet and pointe work. Remember it’s important to practice with precision. If you are having trouble completing the reps, it’s better to take a rest. Your strength will build the more you practice. Now find some space and get started!

 

Non-Weight Bearing Exercises


1. Alphabet

Set up:

-Sit on the floor with a long back, shoulders over sit bones -Legs are lengthened long and parallel

-Hands rest on the floor, in line with the hips

Exercise:

-Write the alphabet using your toes, foot, and ankle

Reps:

-Get all the way through (A-Z)


2. Circles

Set up:

-Sit on the floor with a long back, shoulders over sit bones -Legs are lengthened long and parallel

-Hands rest on the floor, in line with the hips.

Exercise:

-Leading with your big toe, circle your feet 10 times outward and inwards

Reps:

-Two sets


Semi-Weight Bearing Exercises

1. Treading

Set up:

-Standing tall facing the barre or chair

-Legs are parallel, hip width apart

-Finger rests gently on the barre or chair

Exercise:

-Rise up to relevé high on the balls of the feet for two counts

-Lower one heals to the floor in two counts while bending the opposite knee to force the arch

-Rise back up to relevé and repeat to the other side

Reps:

-16 – 32 times parallel and turned out in 1st position

 


2. Relevé

Set up:

-Standing tall facing the barre or chair

-Legs are parallel, hip width apart

-Finger rests gently on the barre or chair

Exercise:

-Rise up to relevé high on the balls of the feet for two counts

-Lower heals to the floor in two counts

Reps:

-16 – 32 times parallel and turned-out in 1st position

-16 – 32 times turned-out on one leg, with the opposite foot placed in coupé derrière *repeat on the other side

 

3. Toe Roll

Set up:

-Standing tall facing the barre or chair

-Legs are parallel, fourth position

-Finger rests gently on the barre or chair

Exercise:

-With your distributed equally through the foot, lift the toes on your forward foot off the floor

-Leading with the big toe, try to lower one toe at a time to the floor

Reps:

-5-10 times each foot *also try reversing the exercise to lead with the little toe down first

 



4. Flamenco Balance

Set up:

-Standing tall facing the barre or chair

-Legs are parallel, with one leg is passé

-Arms rest by your side

Exercise:

-Balance on one leg

Reps:

-Try to balance for one minute one each leg *too easy? Try it with your eyes closed!

 

 

Take Note:

1. Hug Your Midline

As your performing the exercise, don’t forget your alignment. Keep your abdominal lifted and engage your legs by pulling the knees up and hugging them together.

2. Through The Center

When working the feet, be sure to work through the center of the foot so your not winging or sickling your feet.

3. Be Regal

Connect your back by drawing your shoulder blades down onto your back and keep your neck long.

4. Breath

Always remember to breath, ballet is supposed to look effortless and light.

5. Long Toes

Keep your toes lengthened as you work through your feet as apposed to curling them under.