The Core Begins from the Floor

I train clients both in my studio and in group sessions live and virtual. I have found that no matter whether it is an athlete or an ageless warrior, keeping the feet and back healthy leads to better performance and longevity. One movement is designed to stimulate the fascial proprioception of the feet and the other is keeping the core strong without ever compromising the back. Both can be done in a short amount of time with lasting results.

FOOT MASSAGE

This is one of the best ways to massage the fascia in the feet. You’d be surprised how much tension you hold in your feet. The feet have receptors that relate to many other organs in your body and muscle fascial tissue. Releasing tension in certain areas of your feet will positively affect other areas of your body. The feet have 20 mus­cles that give the foot its shape by holding the bones in position while they also expand and contract for movement.

Why Do This Before or After a Workout?

Many of our clients wear inappropriate shoes or train incorrectly causing the foot to not do its job therefore, causing a chain reaction of dysfunction to the rest of the body. I always have my clients take off their shoes and train barefoot. I strongly believe in fit feet! First have your client bend over and touch their toes and notice how the hamstrings maybe differ from right to left. Next have them perform the foot massage and manipulation for approximately 60 seconds on one foot. Retest and feel the difference. Clients will learn that this is a must do regime and a good habit!

WHAT YOU NEED: A tennis ball

BEGIN: Place a tennis ball on the ground directly underneath your toes with your heel on the ground. Flex and extend your toes around the ball while adding a bit of pressure. Do this approximately ten times, working the ball in be­tween your (metatarsals). Next place the arch of your foot on the tennis ball and press and release pressure down gently 10x, breathe through each compression. Finally you will begin with the heel (calcaneus) of your foot on the tennis ball and move back and forth your mid  foot (mid-tarsal joint) then back to your metatarsals. This is very stimulating. Repeat the entire movement on the other foot. You can do this while sit­ting in a chair while working!

 PURPOSE: Rolling the foot on the tennis ball feels good and helps stimulate the fascia of the foot. For standing core work the foot is now more receptive and will enhance balance, mobility and stability for most modalities of training.

BENDER BALL® CORE THE SIGNATURE EXERCISE

When I designed utilizing the ball in 2007, it truly has stood the test of time with documentation from Loma Linda University. Several subjects used the ball and increased their anterior core strength while protecting the back. The ball is designed to allow the client to have support in the lumbar spine which allows them to focus on the front of the body while moving through limited extension, lengthening the rectus rather than shortening against gravity. If one is supine you can only create flexion shortening the rectus and over utilizing the hip flexors. I have personally trained thousands of clients and students around the world using this method. And, most will feel the quiver in the front of the body from the eccentric contraction. Make sure never to have a client move to the point of pain and if there are any compromising limitations such as a hernia to hold onto the thighs

WHAT YOU NEED: Bender Ball®, yoga mat

BEGIN: (1) Begin sitting on your mat, wedge the ball directly behind the low back/hip area. Make a small C curve with the low back (lumbar spine) while keeping your upper back straight. Hinge back until you feel the front of the body shake a bit. Next gaze upward with your eyes while your arms are directly in front of you. This is the initial starting position remember to breath through this section. (2) Begin in the same position alternate your arms over your shoulders 10x. (3) Begin in the same position and reach both arms over your shoulders for more intensity 10x.