Stronger Feet for Stronger Deadlifts

Thursday's Training Tip of the Week 


 Stronger Feet for Stronger Deadlifts 


Here at Iron Lion, you will hear the trainers cueing you to grip with your feet or to root your feet into the ground. Why are the feet so important? It’s because the feet spread over a surface, grip it and send sensory messages about it to the rest of the muscles, telling them how much strength to apply. Athletes and clients should be able to separate the toes, spread the floor and grip with the big toe, lighting up the muscles of foot and creating an arch of support or neutral foot. One exercise that really helps you feel this foot-body connection is the RDL.

In the video below, I demonstrate the linkage between the hips, knees and feet when we have our feet rooted into the ground. As we hip hinge, the strong foot promotes a soft knee bend and a bow and arrow like stretch of the hamstrings and glutes, which loads them for contraction. When the toes don’t grip, we see the knees harden and the hip position change. The loss of tension of the foot muscles has to go somewhere and it goes behind the knee. This position renders the glute harder to activate.
 
Conclusion and Cues

  • Grip the floor with your toes as you sit back into your hips and heels. The tug of war between sitting back and gripping with your toes will keep your center of mass over the mid-foot.
  • Use your imagination: Make believe you performing the lift on the edge of a cliff.
  • Getting your feet stronger on RDL’S will have a great carryover to your swing. Remember, a swing is just a fast deadlift, the speed demands more strength of the feet.