I created this 10-minute mobility flow to reverse the damaging effects of “shoe-shaped feet” and bring life back to your toes. A particular focus will be placed on mobilizing & activating the big toe. The tripod foot position is considered the gold standard for health & performance. The 3 main points of contact are:
The knuckle or ball of the big toe (or 1st metatarsal)
The knuckle or ball of the little toe (or 5th metatarsal)
The center of the heel (or calcaneus)
This position is further solidified by gripping the ground with your big toe, a 4th point of contact. Please note that there should be a distinct arch on the inside of the foot and a slight arch on the outside of the foot. Any deviation from this may be a foot deformity that requires the attention of a medical professional or podiatrist.
Left-Foot Toe Spreader @ 1 minute
Right-Foot Toe Spreader @ 1 minute
Left-Foot Big Toe Separator @ 1 minute
Right-Foot Big Toe Separator @ 1 minute
Left-Foot Tennis Ball or Towel Toe Gripper @ 1 minute
Right-Foot Tennis Ball or Towel Toe Gripper @ 1 minute
Left-Foot Big Toe Band Flexions @ 1 minute
Right-Foot Big Toe Band Flexions @ 1 minute
Big Toes of Both Feet Banded @ 2 minutes*
*40 seconds for each of 3 movements: Abduction, Supinate/Pronate, Plantarflexion/Dorsiflexion
Use elongated inhales through the nose into the belly and full exhales through the mouth for best results.
For the Toe Spreader, splice the fingers of your same-side hand between your toes. Add multi-directional movement to properly space them out: front to back, side to side & rotational.
For the Big Toe Separator, use one hand to secure your big toe and the other hand to secure your other 4 toes. Mix between pulling your big toe forward and little toes back and vice versa.
For the Toe Gripper, you can use a tennis ball or a towel. For the tennis ball option, mix between spreading your toes and then squeezing the tennis ball. Play with gripping the ball from different angles. For the towel variation, place your foot on one end and continually claw & pull the other end towards you. Add a small weight plate on the opposite end to increase the resistance.
For the Big Toe Band Flexions, place at least 1 thick rubber band around your big toe. I recommend using multiple rubber bands evenly distributed at 3 levels - low, mid & high - for best results. You can modify with a light resistance band too. Pull your big toe as far back as possible and then push your big toe back to the ground. Repeat for time. The best angle of band resistance is from the inside so it pulls your big toe away from the little toes. You can also mix between having your little toes up or down for an added challenge. If you’re really struggling with this drill, just use your other hand to either pin down or pull back your little toes.
For the Big Toes of Both Feet Banded, secure 1 or multiple thick rubber bands around both big toes and place your feet at least hip-width apart. The goal here is compound motion of the ankles and feet to create big toe separation and strength. For the first 40 seconds, spin your heels inwards & turn your feet outwards to focus on abduction. For the next 40 seconds, mix between inversion and eversion as if mimicking slow ankle rolls. This will fortify the ankle joint and teach you how to flow from a supinated, neutral & pronated foot position. For the final 40 seconds, mix between a calf raise (or plantar flexion) and shin raise (dorsiflexion). Try to separate your feet as far as you can without snapping the rubber bands.
Please note that these drills can be done seated or standing. They can also be used EHOH - Every Hour On-the Hour - for at least 1 minute during your workday, especially if you’re an avid walker or runner or you have a history of foot, ankle or knee pain.