Foot Strength -> Improved Glute Firing -> Improved Technique -> Improved Lifts
Several months ago, I had an athlete reach out to me stating our coach told him he isn’t firing his glutes when doing any squatting related movements and wanted to see me in order to figure out how.
Little did he know, the answer was not what he expected.
A little history first…
For all the years I have known the athlete, he would take off his shoes frequently during workouts due to pain in his feet and appeared to be in misery any time double unders or burpees were in a workout, to the point that his legs would nearly collapse under him in times due to the pain.
When I would ask him about his feet, he would tell me he had flat feet and that it was genetic so there was nothing that could be done.
Fast forward to his evaluation…
Upon assessment, I found his feet to have collapsed arches (as expected based on previous conversations), difficulty keeping his knees from a valgus position, lack of gluteal firing, and increased activation of spinal extensors during a squat.
With this athlete, my focus was his feet. The feet are the foundation of our legs and body. If we don’t have a good stable base with our feet, our legs and back will also not be stable and supported. For me, it is important to get good control in the feet before anything else.
He was taught basic exercises in order to start gaining the control necessary in his feet. Once he understood how to perform them, we discussed how that control plays into proper firing in the glutes and improved stability in the pelvis and spine.
By the end of the session, he was performing a proper squat, keeping his knees in a good position, and using quads and glutes to stand up.
In the time since…
Since I saw this athlete several months ago, he has no longer needed to take his shoes off during a workout, has improved his double unders significantly, I no longer see him wincing during workouts with any jumping movements in them, and as prefaced above, all of his lifts that involve a pulling from the ground or squatting have all improved!
He has also told me that he was my largest skeptic when he saw me and I brought up his feet as the cause of the problem and the area that needed to be addressed first. He thought there was nothing that could be done for his feet and that he was wasting his time by doing what I suggested. He did not believe that addressing his feet would help anything.
Does this sound like a problem you have? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.