Run Strong: 8 Essential Foot Strengthening Exercises for Runners

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David Dack

Well, you’ve stumbled upon the holy grail of foot-strengthening exercises, right here, right now.

Listen up, because this is important. As a runner, you know that strength training is like the secret sauce that adds power and resilience to your performance. You’ve probably been diligently working on strengthening your muscles, which is fantastic.

But here’s the million-dollar question: Have you ever considered giving some love and attention to your hardworking feet? If your answer is a hesitant “no,” then hold onto your running shoes, because we’re about to open your eyes to a game-changing aspect of training that you’ve been missing out on.

You see, your feet are the unsung heroes of your running journey. They endure countless strides, absorb impact, and propel you forward mile after mile. Yet, they often don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s time to change that, and unlock a whole new level of performance.

By incorporating specific foot strengthening exercises into your training routine, you’ll unleash a world of benefits. Picture this: enhanced stability, improved balance, reduced risk of injuries, and increased overall foot strength.

Now, don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. We’ve got your back. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best foot strengthening exercises tailored specifically for runners like you.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

The Benefits of Foot Exercises For Runners

Let’s dive into the incredible world of feet!

Did you know that each foot is a complex powerhouse with roughly 20 muscles working in harmony? These muscles, including the anterior tibial, peroneal tibial, posterior tibial, flexors, and extensors, play a vital role in supporting our every move.

Numerous studies and research papers have delved into the fascinating mechanics of these muscles, shedding light on their intricate functions and how they contribute to our overall performance.

But that’s not all—your feet are home to an impressive collection of 26 bones, accounting for a whopping 25 percent of all the bones in the human body.

Imagine that! Alongside these bones, you’ll find a network of 33 joints, more than 80 tendons, and ligaments that provide stability and flexibility to this remarkable structure.

Now, let’s talk about the significance of our feet in our daily lives. We rely on them to stand, walk, run, and perform a wide range of athletic movements, such as squatting, balancing, and jumping.

They truly are the unsung heroes of our physical endeavors. In fact, the metaphorical weight they carry is immense—they can make or break us as runners.

Given the incredible demands we place on our feet, it’s no wonder that they are the most used and abused part of our bodies. Every step we take, every leap we make, puts tremendous pressure on this intricate system.

And here’s where things get interesting: any dysfunction or imbalance in the musculature structure of our feet can have a ripple effect on our overall running gait and range of motion. This can ultimately lead to overuse injuries, like Achilles Tendinitis, chronic ankle sprains, knee pain/injury, and even lower back pains and aches.

8 Foot Strength Exercises For Runners

Without further ado, here are the best foot strengthening exercises for runners. Strengthen your feet for running by performing these exercises at least two to three times a week.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 1. Shin Curls

While using a step or a box, stand while assuming an athletic position with the toes hanging off the edge as much as you feel comfortable.

Next, curl your toes and foot up toward your shin as high as possible without rocking backward, hold the dorsiflexed position for a moment, then slowly lower your toes to the starting position to complete one rep.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 2. Single Leg Balance

Stand with feet hip-width apart, with the core engaged, back flat, and both hands are resting gently on your sides.

Next, lift your left leg straight toward the 12 o’clock position and balance on your right leg.

If you have any balance issues, then feel free to use a wall or a stable chair for more assistance.

For more challenge, try swinging the lifted leg forward and back, from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock, so and so forth, or balance on a balance disc or a seat cushion. You can also try single-leg bridges to test your balance.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 3. Heel Walking

Lift up both your feet, then pace the whole length of the room by walking slowly on your heels.

Make sure that you are on your heels the entire time.

For more, keep your toes pointed forward.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 4. Toe Presses

Assume an athletic position with a slight bend in the knees.

Next, lift your toes off the ground then flex the foot (pull the ankle back towards your shin), hold the contraction for a count of three, then release it slowly to the ground.

You can do this exercise while standing tall or while sitting.

Your choice.

Additional resource – Running Vs. Strength training

Foot Exercise for Runners – 5. Toe Curls

Start by placing a towel on the floor, then spread your toes like a fan, then grip the object and pull it toward you.

Repeat 8 to 10 times, then work the other foot.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 6. Calf Raises

Begin by standing in a shoulder-width stance with the toes flat on the edge of a step or a box, near a doorway or a counter, then hold on light for balance.

Next, raise up by pushing your toes into the step, hold for a count of three, then lower your back to the starting position.

You’ll know that you are doing this one right once you start feeling a stretch in your calves.

Additional guide – How to prevent Foot pain in runners

Foot Exercise for Runners – 7. Ankle Circles

While using a wall or a chair for balance, stand on your right foot, then raise the left foot a few inches off the floor.

Next, and without moving your legs, rotate your right ankle in a large circle in one direction.

Then perform a circular motion with the big toe.

Clockwise then counter-clockwise.

When you are done with the right foot, release and repeat on the opposite side.

Foot Exercise for Runners – 8. Toe Walks

Stand tall with your back flat, core engaged.

Next, while keeping the legs straight and heels pulled up towards the calves, walk forward on the balls of your feet for one full minute.

Make sure to keep your stomach tight and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

Whatever you do, do not fold at the waist.

Here are more strength exercises for runners.

8 Foot Strengthening Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

If you’re looking for practical advice on how to strengthen feet for running then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for dropping by.

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