Often during the squat, we lose sight of our feet. Whether squatting, running, lunging or jumping, a stable foot provides a platform for efficient and powerful movement for the rest of the body.
For this post, we are only going to talk about the foot concerning the squat.
When we squat, we need the foot to be stable and maintain its natural arch. When we look at the main arch of our foot, we notice that it moves in relation to the rest of our lower body. When the ankles, knees, and hips bow outward, the entire foot moves into a full arched position.
When the ankles, knees, and hips fall inward, the foot subsequently collapses, and the arch flattens out.
What often happens when we squat is our feet can/tend to roll in—placing a large amount of unwanted load onto the inside of our feet/ knees. This is the opposite of what we want to happen, as when this happens, it causes our knees to collapse in and create a knocked knee squat.
We can manipulate the position of our feet by setting our hips and knees in a good position before initiating our squat. This connected lower-body movement is the physical representation of the joint-by-joint concept. If one link in the human chain of movement breaks down, the entire structure will be affected.
When we create a good arch in our foot, we inevitably form what we call a tripod foot. The three points of the tripod foot consist of the heel, the base of the first toe, and the base of the fifth toe. Our foot is basically like a three-wheeled motorcycle. Our goal when squatting should be to maintain the arch of our feet and have our weight distributed evenly – like the wheels of a motorcycle. If all of the wheels are in contact with the ground, we get more power. If one wheel is off the ground, or if the body bottoms out, power is lost, and the motorcycle breaks. Stability and power are lost when our foot is out of position (arch collapse).
Next time you are squatting consciously think about your foot position. Is the weight on the inside or outside of your foot? Has your foot collapse inwards?
Once you have done this little experiment, start to implement this tripod foot position into your training and squatting. Look to create this position between those three points.
As you squat, don’t just think about keeping your knees in line with your feet.
Do your best to maintain your arch and the tripod foot.
Keep your foot strong and stable.
Don’t let the arch collapse.
Notice how this feels?
Your squat should feel more stable.
Once you adopt a better position with your foot, a lot of the other movement problems you have will take care of themselves. The body naturally starts to assume better positions because it is now moving from a stable platform. In doing so, we not only improve movement quality but also decrease pain and improve our performance. This all starts with solidifying our base.