03 Nov Strong, Flexible Feet? Here are Four Simple Exercises to Try Every Day
Ballet dancers possess an enviable mind-body connection. It’s as if their feet seem to know exactly how to move. Science explains that there’s a reason why: dancers spend a lot of time stretching and strengthening their ankles, feet, and toes with resistance bands. If you’re wondering how to stretch your feet, BFW invites you to challenge yourself and start building some of the most impressive muscles in your body. Did you know that about one-fourth of the bones in the body are in your ankle and foot? That’s why resistance band exercises are such a good way to build strength in your ankles. It’s very important to exercise in creating awareness about the feet all the way around, to make sure that we’re not rolling in or out on our feet and causing damage to the rest of the body. The back, spine, head and the entire body are all connected and feet play a key role. Having that awareness of that ankle alignment is going to help you in anything that you do—whether you run, or ski, or walk up the stairs.” In other words, whether you’re a professionally trained ballet dancer, someone who only busts a move on the dancefloor, or a dreamer starting your ballet career now with BFW’s community, you could benefit from a dancer’s strengthening and stretching routine. How to stretch your feet with resistance bands as some pro’s do:
Ball of the foot stretch
Sit on the floor with one knee bent. Hook the resistance band around the ball of your foot. You can hook the other end of the band around your knee or use your hands to pull it away from your foot. Then, you push the ball of your foot to the floor—against the band—and allow the band to pull your toes back toward your face. The more you pull the band toward your face, the more you should push down through the ball of your foot.
From a sitting position, turn your attention to your toes. Put the band over the tops of your toes and the rest of the band under your leg. Make sure the band is hooked over all five toes, then pull it toward your body and push against it with your toes. Try to reach your toes—especially the big toe—to the floor. Alert! If you are not used to doing this, your feet will cramp at first.
From either a sitting or a standing position, wrap the band around the side of your foot, lifting the leg, holding the band, and pulling it toward you. When you get it as high as it will go, roll the foot in at the ankle.
Bottom of the foot stretch
One of our favorite ways to do this is with a deep tissue spiky massage ball, which many dancers and health professionals use to massage their feet frequently. True to its name, the product massages the part of your body that may just work the hardest of all.