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Pre-Pilates: Lower Body Work – Arch Lifts aka “Listening foot”



Foundations: Lower Body Work

Quick Intro: Arch Lifts / Listening Foot.


What’s it good for?

Posture, balance and alignment (aka posture) all originate from the sensory information that comes from the foot.  The sole of your foot is sensitive and that’s because it needs to constantly send information into your central nervous system so you can instantly and unconsciously adjust your body’s alignment.

Try this awareness raising technique:

🌟  Stand with your heels together and your big toe joints together. 
🌟  Pull in your abdominals slightly and hinge forwards and backwards from your ankles. 
🌟  Notice how your weight shifts from the front to the back of the foot as you move… notice how your foot arch moves in relation to the shifting weight. 
🌟  Notice any other changes in tension up and down your body as you move backwards and forwards…

The information that comes from your foot helps promote a strong and stable pelvis in all weight bearing movements:  walking, running, jumping.
In addition, your foot has two states: 1) to be flexible as you land to better adapt to the surface you’re on and allow for shock absorption, and 2) to lock into place joint by joint like a rubik’s cube so that the foot is solid to push off of from.
But, if your foot and ankle are too rigid, the whole unit will react to any challenge by stiffening and excessive tension in the muscles below the knee: your foot loses its ability to listen to the floor.  
Your ability to react to changes in alignment of body weight will decrease.  This may lead to underactive gluteal muscles, lower back and pelvic problems.  If if you do endurance sports such as running or cycling or skiing, other injuries associated with overuse such as shin splints and Achilles tendonitis may have more likelihood of occurring.  
The ability of your foot to listen to the floor is fundamental to achieve proper activation and strength for your chosen sports and daily activities.



A quick “how to”…

A quick test: Arch Lifts

🌟 : stand on one leg and check if:

          • your toes are gripping the floor excessively?
          • if the tendons on the top of your foot are showing excessively?
          • is your foot losing full contact by rocking from side to side?


🌟  Close your eyes and check if:

          • Your foot narrows and tightens…


A quick “how to”: Arch Lifts

🌟  Sit on the chair with both feet on the floor.

🌟  One foot at a time, shift your weight from one part of your sole to the other.

🌟  Hold on to the top of your leg under your knee. Your knee should stay completely still.

🌟  Move the pressure towards the outside of your foot whilst keeping your toes relaxed and on the ground.

🌟  You may find that there’s some external rotation of your lower leg.  Well done!

Hints & Tips:

🌟  Make this movement slow, purposeful and deliberate and eliminate any tension until you can move the pressure from the inside to the outside of your foot.

🌟  You can try wrapping at thera-band under your foot across the arch and pulling lightly with your hands to give you some pressure to work against.  This increases proprioception and may make the exercise easier.
🌟  To check for tension – can you lift your big toe as your lift your arch?
🌟  Do both feet listen equally to the floor?
🌟  Be patient.

Any Questions?

Ask away – I love to help!  Click here for the Contact Page 🙂 – or leave a comment at the bottom of the post – see you there…

Miguel 🙂



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