Strengthen your foot core with these 3 moves

pAnyone who has entered the gym has been told how important it is to strengthen your abdominal core. But there’s another core you should be paying attention to (maybe even more): the core of your legs.

Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton make this argument in their new book, Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training GuideA training-based follow-up to MacDougall’s industrial transformation Born to walk Since 2009. It’s full of bite-sized, practical advice, like form skills, healthy recipes, tips for running with your dog, and yes, why you want to run in shoes with less cushioning (the original book took on a minimalism revolution, followed by a maximalist response). The overarching theme that ties it all together is learning to run in a way that brings us joy.

And to love running, it has to feel good—even if it doesn’t hurt us. A strong leg core can be key to staying injury free, argue McDougal and Orton. “We’re often over-directed to our abdominal core, but from a running standpoint, from any athletic standpoint, hey, our leg core is more important,” McDougall tells Well+Good. Having a strong leg core means not only having a stable connection to the ground, he says, but also an awareness how We use our feet.

Whether you’re a runner or not, it can affect your entire body, Orton says. This is because activating our legs creates better stability through the ankles, knees and hips, which allows us to more easily tap into the major muscle groups that help us move, such as the hamstrings, quads and glutes.

A chapter of Run 2 is born Dedicated to three simple exercises that can help you do just that, and we’ve shared them here The skills may not seem like much at first glance, but they are surprisingly effective. “They work very quickly,” McDougall said.

The key is to do them regularly, just for a few minutes a day. MacDougall recommends using them as a warm-up before heading out the door, and admits that he and his wife slip them on whenever they’re waiting to make coffee or stand in line at a store. “Once you get it in your system,” she says, “it becomes this really rewarding little habit and challenge that you want to indulge in all the time.”

Here are three exercises excerpted from the book:

1. Balance barefoot on one leg

  • Balance on one leg, on your forehead, with the heel slightly elevated on a hard surface so you feel nice and strong in the arch.
  • Use a wall or chair or partner to help stabilize you when needed.

Note: This is not a calf raising exercise, with up and down movements with the legs. No movement, just static.

How many: 30-90 seconds per foot, or until you tire.

Pay special attention to: Where you feel it. Some may struggle with strength in their legs; Others may be stronger in their legs and experience the most fatigue in their calves or glutes.

(You’ll feel it where you need it,” Orton tells Well + Good. “It’s where your weakest link is.”)

2. Side lift

  • Balance barefoot on your right forearm using a wall or chair or a partner to help stabilize you.
  • Keeping your right leg straight, raise your left leg out to the side (think half scissor opening).
  • Raise your left leg as high as possible while maintaining level hips and then return to the starting position.

Note: This is a stability exercise for the stance leg, not a range-of-motion exercise for the moving leg.

How many: Repeat 15-25, then repeat with the opposite leg.

3. Knee lift

  • Balance barefoot on your right forearm using a wall or chair or a partner to help stabilize you.
  • Keeping your right leg straight, raise your right heel slightly.
  • Now, raise your left knee in front of you as high as possible and then return to the starting position. Keep your movements slow and controlled.
  • Focus on the stance leg, not the moving leg.

How many: Repeat 15-25, then repeat with the opposite leg.

Excerpt from exercise Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide By Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton. A division of Penguin Random House LLC, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Alfred A. Posted by Knopf on Dec 6, 2022. Copyright © 2022 by Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton.

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