“A STILL, RELAXED FOOT will provide you all the feedback you need, your core and hips will provide the stability”
When we teach isolateral movements you will hear this phrase over, and over, and over again. I just want to take minute today and explain why. As stated in our “epic importance of the foot” article, we strongly believe that the neural feedback from the foot is our body’s primary source of input for not only its position in space and relation to the ground but also for the musculo-skeletal alignment of the entire body. By coaching our clients (obviously barefoot) to center their attention on how that foot is interacting with the ground they begin to reacquaint themselves with that feedback loop that has often gone dormant do to the thousands of hours they spend in thick soled shoes.
The second value of this cuing is the concept of keeping the foot both relaxed AND still. Before beginning the work we often tactilely cue the client’s heel to feel what pressure forward, back, in or out feels like. We want them to become aware of small variations in the center of balance. That covers the “still”, but the “relaxed” portion of the cuing is their BIG payoff. If you eliminate all motion at the heel and aren’t allowed to use your foot to do it, the hips and the core are forced to create that stability. In order for you to keep the foot still on single leg movements with a passive foot, the glutes have to be doing their job. In order for the glutes to be doing their job in a single leg stance the core has to create a stable foundation at the pelvis for the glute to work from. Creating stability for the foot from the glutes substantially improves joint centration at the hip.
By pairing those cues, dysfunctions up and down the chain become VERY obvious and more importantly, begin to address them selves. Those instabilities are clear not only to us as the observers (which makes the supplemental exercises that need to be paired into the circuit very obvious), but also to the athlete performing the movement. The body hates feeling unstable, and because we’ve reintegrated the natural biofeedback loop from the feet to the brain, the athlete now has all the tools necessary to begin to realign itself.