For the second week of September we will be performing the Sole of the Foot Stretch with a chair.
This exercise will stretch all the muscles on the bottom of the foot. Plus, this is a bonus stretch because it gets into the calf muscles as well! You will need a steady folding chair and a bit of wall space for this stretch.
How to perform:
- There are three intensities to the stretch, so make sure to pick the version that is best for your body.
- If you have difficulty with balance, please refrain from performing this stretch or use the modification directions for one foot (labeled step 4).
- If you have any foot or calf injuries, please refrain from performing this stretch.
For a mild stretch:
- Place the chair against the wall with the back resting next to the wall. Place the ball mound of your foot (the part right under the toes) as high up on the front legs of the chair as you can, with one foot placed on each leg. Keep your heels on the floor and place your hands palm down on the seat of the chair. Straighten your legs as much as you can letting the hips can come back. Draw your belly button to your spine and keep your back flat and chest coming forward. See top left photo.
For a moderate stretch:
- Repeat step 1. From this position you can place your hands on the top of the back of the chair. Keep your back flat, belly button to spine and lean your hips slightly more toward the wall, like you’re attempting to stand up straight. Keep your legs straight. See top right photo.
For the most intense stretch:
- Repeat steps 1 and 2. From this position your hands can be placed on the wall. Back stays flat, belly button stays to spine, chest remains open, legs stay straight, and you should lean the hips even more toward the wall while attempting to stand up as straight as you can. See bottom left photo.
Don’t bend your knees, collapse your chest or make your belly soft. Keep your feet at the same height on the legs of the chair the entire time! View the “No” photo for a reference on how not to perform this stretch.
Modification for one foot at a time:
- Place the ball mound of your right foot (the part right under the toes) as high up on the front of the right leg of the chair as you can. Put your left foot a step back slightly for steadiness. Make sure your right heel remains on the floor. Place your hands palm down on the seat of the chair just like with the two foot method. Straighten both legs as much as you can, the hips can come back. Draw your belly button to your spine and keep your back flat and chest coming forward.
For more stretch you can place your hands to the top of the chair’s back and lean your hips slightly forward as if you’re trying to stand up straight. (Hands to the wall height is not recommended when only using one foot at a time to stretch.) Remain here for 30 seconds to 3 minutes and then switch sides.
- Stay in this stretch for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Then, bring your hands back to the seat of the chair if they are not there already and slowly take your feet to the floor. Slowly and mindfully stand back up to end the stretch.
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