Have you ever considered that the lack of strength in your legs is what's ruining your balance? Our legs consist of a lot more muscles than just your quads and hamstrings. There are 20 different muscles in your foot alone, and plenty more up the lower leg and thigh all the way to your butt and pelvis. There are muscles 360 degrees around the leg stabilizing the joint in all directions. We tend to think just about the front and back, or the inner and outer leg muscles. But really many muscles attach not in a straight line but in a spiral, which helps stabilize our joints.
If we only think of one muscle doing all the work or just one direction of movement, we also only use (and most likely overuse) that one muscle. After all, our brain sends the message to our muscles. To save energy you want to be able to use all the many muscles you were given, so none of them has to work extra hard, which would lead to its exhaustion and will trigger compensation patterns which in turn can lead to pain or injury.
The exercise I'm about to show you in this Movement Tweaks episode is a seemingly easy exercise. As you will find with many or most of the exercises I recommend, they appear to be too easy to be effective.
You'll find a list of detailed instruction for each important body part below the video. Don't skip those. They are the most important part. As you will see in the video, there is really not much to see. It's not a fancy looking, elegant dance or power move. I'm just standing there. So - to go with the popular quote - don't just stand there, do something! What you do - while you stand there - is where the power of the exercise lies.
You will need one or two yoga blocks for this exercise.
Don't worry if you don't have any yoga blocks. You can do this exercise very easily by standing sideways on the step of a staircase. Come close to the edge of the step, so your free leg can dangle. Use the railing to help you find your balance at first.
Here it is, enjoy! Remember to work both legs.
• Make sure your whole foot fits on the block. Use two blocks - one in front of the other - if you have big feet.
• Start with both feet exactly next to each other.
• Check that both hip bones are right next to each other. (1:41)
• Make sure that both hip points are pointing directly forward, like headlights. (1:55)
• Connect the 4 corner of the foot with the block(s). (2:18)
• Lift your toes (not the ball of the foot) up, to center your ankle over your foot. (2:51)
• Keep the body weight slightly more on the inside of the foot, so your hip doesn't push out to the side. Your leg should be as vertical as it can be. (3:45)
• Keep the free foot on the same height as the one on the block. Avoid dropping the foot lower than the other, nor lift it higher. (4:08)
• Keep your body and shoulders facing straight ahead. (4:15)
• Turn the foot in, so all toes point straight ahead. (5:00)
• Keep your knees straight, neither locked nor bent. (6:00)
Do you have any further questions? Please ask away in the comments below. I can only help you if you ask what you're unsure about. Please know that there are no silly questions!
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