The Foot-Glute Relationshipslwear
Whether you realise it or not, your feet are the foundation of strength, support, and athletic ability.
For the most part, the movements you perform are initiated by your feet – from tasks as simple as walking to more complex movements like sprinting, squatting, and deadlifting.
What’s even more interesting is that your feet directly impact your ability to use your glutes during exercise.
A Simple Home Test You Can Do Right Now
The best way to perform this drill is to stand barefoot on a smooth, non-slippery surface. Plywood works great.
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and forcefully grip your toes into the surface. Make sure to distribute the pressure between all ten toes evenly – this should create the natural arch of your feet.
From this position, squeeze your butt as hard as you can. You should feel quite a lot of muscular tension in your glutes.
Now, relax your butt and release a bit of the tension in your feet by collapsing them inward. The goal is to slightly shift the weight from the outer to the inner part of both feet by rolling your ankles in ever so slightly. This will also cause your knees to collapse slightly.
Now, try to squeeze your butt as hard as you can. You should notice a decreased ability to do that and much less muscular tension in your glutes.
What Does This All Mean?
This test is the perfect example of how important strong feet are for glute activation and athletic ability.
While sometimes athletes aren’t able to engage their butt due to poor mind-muscle connection, poor glute behavior often stems from issues with the foundation – toes, feet, and ankle mobility.
Your toes not only work to keep your feet balanced and pressure evenly distributed, but they also help guide the kinetic chain.
If you don’t feel any pressure on your outer toes during training, your ankles are likely rolled in, which also means that your knees are caving in (courtesy of the tibia bone). This leads to internal rotation of the femoral bone and hip, as well as poor glute activation.
So, weak or immobile feet disrupt the kinetic chain in the lower body, inhibit glute activation, and drastically increase the risk of injury and workout accidents.