Integrated Foot and Hip Stability Progression
When people ask me about what I prescribe for “foot strengthening” they‘re often surprised when I show them this single leg stance row progression. However, once they try it you can see the lightbulb turn on when they feel their foot and hip light up.
The foot and hip stabilizers should be trained as a unit from top down as proximal hip stability will drive distal foot stability. When your pelvis is relatively internally rotated over your foot and femur it allows your glute abd hamstring to stabilize and your intrinsic foot stabilizers to a support the arch.
Notice on the first split stance progression how I actively step into the mid-stance position and center myself over my femur and foot. Once in position, I actively create a “short foot” to drive the arch position. Your foot should have three points of contact and the toes should be relaxed not gripping. Toes should be relaxed and mobile so that they can react and assist in balance.
This goal of this exercise is not to overload the row. The row simply serves as a perturbation to the hip and foot. If you maintain a stacked position over the femur and foot you will feel a HUGE amount of activity in the lead hip and arch. Be sure to have mastered the split stance drill before to progressing to the single leg drill.
Typically, when treating people with foot issues like plantar fascitis, calcaneal issues and shin splints I find they benefit from using this drill along with isolated “toe yoga”, ankle mobility and single leg strength exercises to re-establish control of the foot and ankle.