Updated: Sep 17, 2021
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Your big toe is one of the most important structures in the foot. Every single athletic movement, whether it be jumping, bounding, changing direction, sprinting, or running, finishes with the big toe driving into the ground.
It has been well established that maximizing lower body strength is integral to enhancing athletic performance. But recent research has shown that individuals who exhibit greater big toe flexion strength (the ability to drive the toe into the ground with force) tend to be able to accelerate and change direction much faster than those who are weaker in this manner.
While more research is needed to establish the role that big toe strength plays in other performance measures, this provides a clear indication that it is indeed of serious importance.
3 Tips to Unlock the Power of the Big Toe
1. Start with getting range of motion in the joint. Perform Single-Leg Calf Raises with an emphasis on pushing through the big toe. Follow with Toe Waves.
2. Toe Curls. Sit with a towel under your midtarsal joint. With weight on the joint, pull the towel towards your heel with your toes.
These three movements (Single-Leg Calf Raises, Toe Waves and Toe Curls) should all be done to fatigue multiple times throughout the day.
3. Resisted Accelerations. Whether pushing or pulling a sled, foot placement should be wide (under the shoulder) and the emphasis should be on staying on the forefoot of the big toe.