Building stronger feet is much more important than you think. If you are a martial arts practitioner you may immediately think of breaking boards when building stronger feet is mentioned. Of course conditioning the feet can help in these feats, especially if you move to breaking thicker boards or concrete blocks. One way to help this is to wear martial arts shoes which give your foot more flexibility and movement than traditional shoes. However clearly your feet support your whole body. So, having stronger feet alone in fact has proven to enable you to lift much heavier weights.
Beyond that of course if you ever hope to jump into the UFC octagon your feet are what have to hold you up during those long grueling rounds. Not to mention better foot and ankle strength may help you avoid being tapped out in some locks and submission holds. So how do you build stronger feet? This can be done both with exercise and conditioning.
Firstly, the shoes that we where on a daily basis are not generally good for our feet and do not promote stronger feet. So you might think you will look crazy walking around without shoes all day, but you would build stronger feet. Though you have probably seen athletes who do not wear shoes even for running. To find a balance whenever you are at home try to stay barefoot. This will also help you avoid nasty fungus like athlete’s foot. Perhaps one of the most unique products developed with this in mind is Vibram’s ‘five fingered shoes’. They will get you as close to being barefoot while wearing a shoe. Basically they are like a sock with five fingers with a rubber sole on the bottom, perhaps most famously worn by author Timothy Ferriss. Unfortunately if you are shy they may not be for you as you will get some funny looks.
Secondly, of course is exercise. Running can obviously help build foot strength but there are also an array of targeted exercises you can do specifically for the feet. The feet actually have 20 different muscles. These exercises can include; negative calf raises, stretches, balancing exercises (on one leg on an unbalanced surface, eyes closed), using an exercise band for resistance and picking up things with your toes to improve toe strength – great one to make a game of with the kids.
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