Test Your Foot and Ankle Strength With This Barefoot Exercise

The Core:

Many foot and ankle exercises don't place enough stress on the body to make a difference, but this full-body variation will; The Ipsilateral Clean and Press. 

Insight:

It goes without saying that the best way to get the most out of any workout is to ditch your shoes and let the feet be feet. If you are looking to build strength from the ground up the first place to start is with the feet, ankles, and toes. No matter how strong, fast, or mobile you are, correcting foot and ankle deficiencies will only improve your existing capabilities. If you are looking to strengthen your feet and ankles, your bodyweight should be the lightest load you ever use. In other words, you should be standing upright when performing any barefoot training exercise. Just balancing on one foot for time is more beneficial then any exercise on the ground.

Since you are focused on maintaining balance the whole time, the ipsilateral clean and press forces you to slow down throughout the duration of the movement. This increased time under tension is ideal for strengthening the feet. 

Prescription:

  • Grab a light kettlebell, dumbbell, or any other weight you have access to 
  • Start by holding weight at your side with the opposite leg up - If weight is in your right hand, pick the left leg up (ipsilateral)
  • Just holding the weight here is challenging and you'll notice your body start to wobble a little. To combat this, make a fist with the opposite hand to create tension. 
  • Once you have control in that position clean the weight up to your shoulder (like you are trying to zip up your shirt). 
  • Once maintaining control in that position, press the weight up over your head. 
  • Slowly bring the weight back down to your shoulder and then to the starting position.
  • Video below:

Have fun and be well!

#DITCHYOURSHOES

-Mike

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