It all starts with the feet!

When deadlifting and squatting, how your weight is distributed across each foot matters. 

The arch of the foot is equivalent to the base of a house of cards. If that foundation is unstable, the rest of the body will likely be unstable as well. 

Excessive movement and instability can affect our ability to produce force, and use it efficiently. This instability is often referred as being flat-footed or being over-pronated. This can lead to all sorts of problems such as knocked-knees, IT-band pain, or even hip pain. 

Use inserts & learn to create an arch.

One way to fix this problem may be to get inserts for you shoes, but I believe strengthening and teaching your body how to create the arch is an effective way to treat being flat footed. 

When you stand, imagine your foot is a tripod with the three points of contact being the base of the heel, base of the pinky toe, and base of the big toe. When we do any movement, we want to be equally balanced throughout these three points. 

Remove your shoes.

It may be hard at first to feel these three points if you have shoes on, so taking your shoes off to squat or deadlift may help you feel those contact points. (See photos 3,4,&5) 

In addition to those three points of contact, try to feel as if you are grabbing the ground with your toes and ripping the ground in half. You may notice your glutes firing hard. That is what we want! This is a good sign you are producing an ample amount of external rotation at your hip joints. 

Improve your mobility.

Another contributor to a collapsed arch may be ankle mobility. If your ankles are not mobile enough to allow you to descend into a deep squat, the body will compensate by allowing the foot to collapse. 

To test your mobility, place your foot about 5 inches (a closed fist and extended thumb) away from the wall. If you cannot drive your knee to the wall without your heel coming off the floor, then you may need to work on some ankle mobility drills. 

A simple mobility drill you can do daily prior to working out is to spend 3 minutes in a deep squat position with a 25 pound bumper plate in your hands. Perform 1 minute of it in a goblet squat position (Photo 1); 1 minute working on driving the knee over your toes while keeping your heels down (shift your weight from one knee/foot to the other) (Photo 2); and one minute doing some hip activation by squeezing your glutes hard for 5 seconds, then relaxing for 5 seconds. You need to elevate your hips an inch or two from the bottom position of your squat to activate the glutes (Photo 3). 

 

By: Alex Burgy