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Exercise: "Toe Spread-Toe Tap" by Barefoot Runner CT

More info / tips / proper technique:

If you've ever tried to learn the Vulcan Salute, or even how to whistle, you discovered new control over hand or lip muscles you never knew you had. Many millions of years of evolution have created an amazing array of muscles in our feet that help with balance, walking, running, jumping, and climbing. Chronic shoe-wearing has caused most modern people to develop a debilitating atrophy (muscle-loss) of most of the muscles in their feet. The "Toe Spread-Toe Tap" exercise will help transform the control you have over your feet by teaching your brain and local muscles fine control that is very useful for everyday activity, sports, and especially barefoot activities including running.

For most people, this exercise will take a lot of patience and many days before you start developing the necessary muscle control to perform the motions at all. It will take several weeks of practice before you have easy and comfortable control, at which time, you will also start noticing the rewards of reclaiming your full abilities of your foot muscles, which will make many activities feel better and more fun. You might feel like a super-hero when the muscles of your feet are independent, springy, strong, and quick-reacting.

If you find your progress too slow or frustrating trying this exercise, try practicing some of the easier ones found in the article Yoga for Feet first.

This exercise must be done barefoot. You can practice Toe Spread-Toe Tap sitting or standing. Stand or sit straight with good posture. Place your feet flat on the floor, parallel, separated slightly closer that shoulder width. Start by practicing with each for separately, later you can try both at the same time. Keeping the ball and heel of your foot in contact with the ground, raise up and spread all of your toes. Now, you are going to try to lower them one at a time to touch the floor from the smallest (pinky) toe first, then 4th toe, middle toe, index toe, then finally big toe.

Next, reverse that action, raising the big-toe first, then second/index (outer 3 still on the ground), middle, index, and pinky, one at a time until all five toes are once again raised up off the floor.

Toe Spread-Toe Tap is included in these workouts:


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