The best movers have the strongest feet, and yet so many of us treat the foot like an afterthought when lifting.
If you’re serious about improving your main lifts – the squat, deadlift – and every other exercise in between, you must get reacquainted with the tripod foot. Not only will this activate the muscles, joints, ligaments in the foot, but it will also improve stability throughout a lift.
It Starts With The Feet
Think of the bottom of your foot as a triangle. The big toe, little toe and heel make up the triangle – or tripod – of the foot. I encourage all my clients to lift barefoot or with training socks for this very reason – to connect to their feet and “grip” the ground during a lift for better control.
In the deadlift, screwing the feet into the ground and pushing through the tripod creates stability up through the kinetic chain, which creates better positioning at the start and strong lockout at the top. This works in a similar manner during the squat, creating more balance and control that results in a much smoother lift. The tripod foot is your base of support.
When I review my clients’ lifts inside of BarbellSTRONG Coaching (BSC), an online strength and hypertrophy program for women, I zoom in at the feet to determine if someone is utilizing the whole foot throughout the lift.
We take for granted how strong and powerful our feet are because it’s hidden away in shoes most of the time. Modern society has lost touch with their feet – literally! The muscles in the feet can atrophy just like any other muscle in the body. This is why training without shoes and spending as much time as possible barefoot can be extremely beneficial. Some even go as far as doing foot exercises to keep those small but mighty muscles as active as possible.
Try It Now
Take off your shoes next time you lift and start focusing on your tripod foot during your setups. Better yet, do it now. Pay attention to how much more control and balance you feel throughout the movement simply by activating those feet!