Failure to strengthen and mobilize your feet and ankles creates long-term problems:
- A weak arch of the foot can lead to an inward-facing ankle and knee cavity.
- Poor ankle dorsiflexion can cause the knees to collapse inward.
- Valgus collapse gives you access to greater knee depth as the tibia crouches inward to bypass the restriction at the ankle. In addition, there is poor external rotation of the hip and weak gluteal muscles.
One of the best ways to strengthen your feet, calves, and ankles is to do more one-legged exercises. One leg squats, split squat variations, and one leg deadlifts force the muscles in the feet and ankles to work harder when you balance on them.
You can take on the challenge with this simple drill for stronger arches. This exercise is especially useful for people with overturned arches or flat feet.
One-legged kettlebell pass
Stand on one leg with a kettlebell (easier to move between hands than with dumbbells) in one hand. Slowly pass it on to the opposing hand in front of your body while keeping your balance on just one foot.
Slowly bring the kettlebell to stop at the opposite hip, then turn back. Repeat for 4-6 passes for 2-3 sets on each leg. The progressive load is less important than improved control and balance.
Related: What You Did Not Know About Calf Exercise
Related: The Truth About Barefoot Exercise