4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Feet

Athletes should be actively strengthening their feet on a regular basis. STACK Expert Robert Taylor offers four exercises to get the job done.

In your training, you need to focus on strengthening several areas of your body, including your glutes, quads, pecs and back. But have you ever felt a need to strengthen your feet? Probably not.

The foot is a complex part of the body. It has 26 bones and a support structure sufficient to withstand the entire stress and force of your body when you are walking, sprinting, jumping and landing. It must also grip the ground, providing support so you don't roll your ankle. Your feet can even affect your posture. (See How to Stabilize Your Ankle After You Roll It.)

Needless to say, the foot is important. But have you ever seen an athlete training his or her feet, other than performing exercises barefoot? Unlikely. (Find out more about barefoot training.)

Training barefoot is beneficial, but it's not the targeted foot training you really need. Start training your feet on a regular basis to build overall foot strength and arch support. You can perform these exercises three to four days per week, before a workout or practice, or on a recovery day.

Toe Spreads

  • Sit, stand or lie down.
  • Spread your toes as wide as possible. Focus on creating space between your toes. Hold this position for two counts.
  • Relax and repeat.

Sets/Reps: 2x20

Toe Get-Ups

  • Stand on your tip-toes and walk for the specified time. Don't let your heels touch the ground.

Sets/Duration: 1x30 seconds. Progress to 2 minutes.

Toe Lifts

  • Sit and place both feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift each toe up one at a time while keeping your other toes on the floor.

Sets/Reps: 2x4 each toe

Sand Walks

  • Find clean sand that is cool to the touch and free of sharp objects. Remove  your shoes and walk, trying to grab the sand with your toes.

Sets/Duration: 1x30 seconds. Progress to 2 minutes.

Watch this video from SMARTER Team Training for more info on ankle instability:

Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.

Photo: nordicbalance.co.uk

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock