Jessica Bento, MPT (Creator of DVRT Restoration and DVRT for Better Backs, Knees, & Shoulders)
Bet you can’t guess what I am going to be talking about? Well, sorry to disappoint but I am going to bring up the topic of the the big toe. I know! Exciting right? The BIG Theory Of Everything! Which does kind of make sense when you really look at what the big toe actually does for us. Yes, you can even avoid Josh’s horrible movie references of the big toe from our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training programs.
Does anyone actually even remember this movie?!
We get questions all the time, especially when we show kneeling or half kneeling movements, at least one person will ask, do we dig the toes into the ground or do we not? Well you tell me after you read a little bit further. Think about how you might want to starting performing your movements when it comes to the foot and or toes engaging with the ground.
The great toe is important for a number of reasons, it aids with gait or walking, balance and also proprioception. In fact, a lot can go wrong if the big toe has issues whether it be an injury or even if it lacks the normal range of motion.
There was a study out of Taiwan Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation that looked at the importance of of the great toe in balance performance and they found that with a constrained great toe single leg stance significant decreased and also worsened the persons ability to to control directional movement such as going forward or backward just in shifting weight.
So you can imagine what the great toe can do to our gait pattern or the way with walk if its not performing up to par!
Don’t worry, if you aren’t going for your degree in biomechanics the above is just showing you REALLY need that big toe to efficiently walk!
For example if you happen to lack the normal range of motion in the great toe, this can affect the way your ankle functions and decreases the range of motion at that joint too, and can end up affecting the muscles of the lower limb causing tendentious or other problems at the foot and ankle.
It doesn’t just stop there either! If the ankle is affected by limited range of motion then that can also affect the way the knee functions when you walk.
You can see how this is just going up the chain now. This can go all the way up to the hip and spine. Just because of the big toe not functioning properly!
Everything is truly connected just like that old song we all heard in elementary school! The hip bone is connected to the…
So I can not stress enough the importance of really engaging the big toe as it will help engage the entire chain and only improve upon your muscle recruitment when performing exercises.
That is why we teach drills in both kneeling and half kneeling postures. Look at how we can easily overlook the use of the big toes in something like the kneeling Around the World. Rob Yontz here during our LA DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training certification digs in tight to activate his hamstrings and glutes. This helps A LOT in stabilizing his core and resisting movements we don’t want to see his body performing.
Unlike a lot of other fitness programs, we don’t stop with what we do on the ground. One of the most over looked reasons that the sprinter stance is so important in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is that it allows us to teach how to use the ball of foot and big toe to create stability in the entire body.
During the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Sprinter Stance Deadlift using the back foot is of utmost importance to both balancing and being able to create power!
That leads us to both lunging and rotational movements that rely HEAVILY upon the use of the big toe! In fact, it can COMPLETELY change how you feel during these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training variations when you apply force into the ground with the ball of foot and toes.
The success of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills is largely due to how you use the back foot. You want to be active, not passive in the actions of the back foot.
So many people lose balance and control during our rotational drills because they stop thinking about applying force into the ground with that pivoting foot.
As you can see have immobility issues in the big toes can lead to not only possible orthopedic issues, but performance as well! How can you fix it if you find you are one of those many that suffer from such issues? Here are a few easy tips….
-Start doing toe grabbing exercises. Simply sit in a chair with a towel under your foot and try to bunch up the towel by trying to grab it with your toes and foot.
-Use half and tall kneeling postures. Due to the fact the feet are not trying to really decelerate or accelerate your body you can start gaining comfort in that area.
-Have someone perform some gentle joint mobilizations on the toes and foot. (seek a trained health professional for this)
-Focus on toeing off when you walk so watch the types of shoes you are wearing.
Starting to slowly reintroduce lost movement is going to be a powerful means in increasing your injury resiliency and fitness performance. Soon, I will share with you how “big” the big toe is when we discuss one of the most popular drills in fitness!
Understanding how the body works is what our DVRT education programs are all about. Check out our live upcoming events or if you can’t make one, check out our DVRT online education HERE for 25% off with coupon code “strong” HERE. They make learning complex concepts like rotational stronger not only more enjoyable but so much more effective as well!
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