Woman exercising with a kettlebell weight

Weightlifting? Don’t Forget This Core!

In Wellness by Alnoor Ladhani, Chiropodist

Whether you work out at home or go to the gym, it is important to get into good habits. One of the areas that many weightlifters neglect is the foot core. If the foot arches are not properly supported due to poor habits during training, it can lead to a myriad of health problems.

One of the main focuses of foot core theory concerns a number of important muscles. These muscles are essential for supporting the medial longitudinal arch, the lateral longitudinal arch and the transverse arch.

Trainers and weightlifters tend to concentrate on the larger foot muscles, which run through the legs and into the feet. However, the smaller intrinsic muscles also play a significant role in supporting the arches. In order to strengthen the foot core, these muscles must be included in training.

Training Injuries

A weak foot core can contribute to a variety of training injuries. Cramps, chronic foot pain, and deep muscle pain in the feet are all common indications of weak foot core. Weak foot core can also cause conditions in other core areas such as the legs, back, and abdomen. Healthy feet with a strong core will help eliminate related health conditions.

When your foot core is weak, other parts of the body must compensate when lifting heavy weights, often resulting in injury to other core areas of the body. If the trainer or weightlifter is not trained to recognize a weak foot core, the injury will be incorrectly attributed to another core area.

Therefore, training must concentrate equally on all core areas in order to increase strength and balance. Strengthening core muscles from the feet up is especially important for power lifters, as any heavy weight must be supported by a strong foundation.

Strengthening Foot Core

The small intrinsic muscles of the foot work in conjunction with the leg muscles. Any exercise that strengthens the foot core will also force you to use your ankle and leg muscles. Stimulating the core intrinsic muscles of the foot is therefore essential to creating balance in your overall core strength, and promoting healthy feet during training.

Foot Muscles and TendonsThe majority of effective foot core exercises involve using the toes to strengthen the intrinsic muscles. Toe towel scrunches, which involves placing a towel on the floor and using your toes to draw the material towards you is a simple exercise you can do anywhere.

Similarly, you can exercise the intrinsic muscles by using your toes to pick up objects such as pens or marbles. This type of exercise concentrates on moving the muscles in repetitions, rather than building strength through lifting heavy weights.

It is also important to ensure that you are not overburdening your feet when training in general. How you use each piece of gym equipment will impact on core areas. However, bad habits when using gym equipment will have a negative impact.

A good trainer will provide demonstrations before allowing you to use gym equipment. Proper posture, lifting position and angle, and foot placement will help prevent injuries and promote strengthening of core areas.

Foot Core Awareness

Unfortunately there is not enough focus on foot core in many gyms. The issue is largely due to a lack of understanding of the importance of strong foot core. While trainers are providing basic instruction on foot position, many are failing to provide further instruction on exercise that strengthens the foot muscles and arches.

At Step By Step we understand the function and purpose of every muscle in the foot. We can provide treatment for weightlifting injuries and education on how to maintain healthy feet. With a good understanding of all the core areas involved in weight training, you will significantly reduce the risk of injury.