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Foot Strengthening

RunnerStrengthening exercises for the foot, as well as the ankle and toes help prevent injuries and also help in speedy recovery from an injury. However, it is advised that, you should discontinue any weight-bearing exercises the moment you experience pain.

Here are some effective strengthening exercises:

Things that you need:
Floor mat/ carpet
Free weights (you can chose hand-weights anything between 3 and 14 lbs.  -depending on your capacity)
It is recommended that you consult your doctor prior to starting these foot strengthening exercises. These exercises help in the building up of your body muscles, increase the bone density and accelerate metabolism.

Keep in mind to do the exercises as per the given order and practice it at least twice a week. It takes 45 minutes each day to do the exercises. If you cannot devote so much time then try to do the exercises 4 times a week by breaking the order equally.

Try to perform each exercise in 2 sets of 10 repetitions with a short interval in between:

Chest Press
Lie on your back on the bench as you take the weights in your hand and keep your arms in line with your shoulders. Make a slow, controlled movement as you press your arms to a fully extended position, then back down slowly to the starting position.

Place your right hand and right knee on a bench. Then place your left foot on the floor and let the left hand hang down with a hand-weight. Make sure that your back is laid flat and parallel to the ground. Now, slowly pull the weight up to your shoulder and squeeze your shoulder blades as you deep breathe in. Then breathe out and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.

Abdominal Crunch
Lie on your and bent your knees and feet on the floor. Cross your arms across your chest and try to reach your hands to the opposite shoulders. Slowly move your head to look up at the ceiling, but keep your neck relaxed. Now carefully contract your abdominal muscles in order to lift the shoulders off the floor and try to hold the crunch at least for a 2-count. Then relax as you bring the shoulders back to the floor. Try initially with 10 repetitions, but target to build up to 20.
** If you require additional resistance, you can move your hands up beside your ears with your elbows out to the sides. Place your feet up on a bench or sofa.

Side Crunch
To start with, it is same as the abdominal crunch. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms across your chest with hands on opposite shoulders. Again, move your head to look up at the ceiling. Contract your abdominal muscles and lift your shoulders off the floor. As you reach this position, twist in a manner so that your right elbow goes toward the left knee. Count till 10. Then slowly get back to the original position and relax. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

**For additional resistance, follow the above method.

Biceps Curl
Spread apart your legs as you sit on a bench. See that your right elbow is placed inside your right knee. Now rest the right arm on top of the left knee. Hold the weight in your left hand and keep the arms straight (just inside the left knee). Slowly bend the left arm up until the weight is up at the shoulder. Now slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the set on the right arm.

Overhead Press
Bend your knees slightly as you stand with your legs wide apart. Fold both the arms and hold the weights so that they are at the shoulder level. Take the hand-weights in both the hands. Now, slowly extend both the arms straight up overhead, without bending your elbows. Count till 10. Now slowly return to the starting position. 

Toe exercise
This exercise will help to strengthen and tighten the metatarsal arch in your feet thereby stretching the tendons on top of the toes. Try to pick picking up marbles with your toes or put a towel on the floor and use your toes to grip the towel and pick it up.

Ankle exercise
In order to strengthen your ankles, stand straight. Now, place one foot straight on the ground and with the other leg bend the knee as if you are ready to take a step. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds trying to hold the balance without tipping off. Try to increase it up to few minutes. As you master it, close your eyes and try to do they same exercise without any vision. It is harder to maintain balance with eyes closed but you can keep practicing. This is the best exercise for the ankles.
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