In the second part of this series I will discuss the compensation of feet turning out and heels lifting when squatting. Both of these compensations share a tight or overactive muscle; The Soleus. The weak or under active muscles are different. For the feet turning out, the probable under active muscle is the Medial Gastrocnemius and for the heel lift, it is the Anterior Tibialis. The Anterior Tibialis is also suspected of being weak for the feet flattening as discussed in Part 1 of the series. We always start with Foam rolling the tight areas as this breaks up the adhesions and allow for the static stretching and strengthening exercises to be more effective. Remember to hold on those tender spots for 30 seconds. This should be done on a daily basis.
Foam Roll Calves
Once the foam rolling is done you want to lengthen out the muscle by doing static stretching. This also needs to be done on a daily basis.
Stretch the Calf
The back foot should be straight ahead and even slightly internally rotated. Drive the heel into the ground, lock out the knee, squeeze your butt cheek. Hold that stretch for at least 30 seconds, releasing and repeating up to 4 times.
Strengthen the Anterior Tibialis
While sitting at your desk or on the couch, raise your toes into air as high as you can while keeping heels planted in the ground. Slowly lower your toes back down to the ground. Do not allow foot to slap down. Now do the same thing but with your toe turned slightly inward as the Anterior Tibialis is activated when the foot is dorsiflexed and inverted. Stay controlled. Do 3 sets of 10. Try adding weight over your toes if you feel your bodyweight becomes to easy. Strengthening exercise should be done 3-5 days a week.
Strengthen the Medial Gastrocnemius
This exercise does not need to be done on a bench. Start out on the floor and when you start to build strength then you can progress to doing this elevated. Do this 3-5 days a week. Work up to 2 sets of 15 reps, holding 2 seconds at the top of the toe raise and take 4 secs to lower back down.
Putting it together with an Integration exercise
It is important to foam roll first, lengthen the muscle second, third activate the muscle with an isolated strength exercise and then put it all together with a integrated dynamic movement. Integrated dynamic movement involves low load and controlled movement in the ideal posture. This helps to ensure that joints start and remain in proper alignment, muscles function as they should and reeducate the neuromuscular system to maintain proper postural alignment during functional activity. What this all means for you is decreased risk of injury. Do this 3-5 days a week. Work up to 2 sets of 15 reps in a slow and controlled motion.
I know there are some people thinking that this is a waste of time or a waste of my money if a personal trainer does this with you. You just want to jump up and down, sweat, burn calories and the men just want to lift weights, get their swole' on and be jacked. If you have compensations in any given move, whether it be a squat or a press, it will limit the amount of weight you can lift, and or exercise, increasing the chances of getting hurt. If muscles are in a shortened position(tight) or a lengthened position(weak) other muscles that are just suppose to assist will take over for the main muscle and you just won't be able to maximize your results. I see the injuries coming from this. Do not let this me you. Do something about it now.
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