The surprising secret to activating your arches

| March 30, 2013 | 3 Comments
Look of surprise

Photo by Lorenzo Sernicola via Flickr

When a teacher tells a dancer to lift the arches of the foot, you’d think it’s a simple instruction with no room for misinterpretation. Think again.

Are you doing it wrong?

Following our recent post on arches (Fact or Myth: Do high heels strengthen the foot arch), we’ll show you one surprisingly simple exercise to lift and strengthen your arches, while avoiding overusing the wrong muscles.

Actually, we’ll get Australian dance physiotherapist Lisa Howell to show you with her short and sweet video on the topic.

She calls it the ‘holy grail of arch control’. And if you’re one of those dancers unwittingly gripping the wrong muscles/tendons to lift your arches (like I was), then this little video certainly will feel like the most highly-prized holy secret you’ve ever discovered.

It’s an old video, but a must-see for dancers and dance teachers alike…

Did this video help you? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions on arch control in the comments below.

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Category: Body

About the Author ()

Hi, I'm Robynn, and I'm a student of the potential of the body, the marvels of the mind, and the beauty of it all combined in ballet. As the editor, BodyMindBallet is where I get to learn, to share and to enjoy this wide world of dance - and with every day I gain an ever richer respect for the athleticism of dance and the skill of performance artistry.

Comments (3)

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  1. Grant Whaits says:

    I think that one also needs to look at ways of stimulating the muscles and ligaments that control the ability of the person to push their toe into the ground to help lift the arch to avoid overuse of the tibialis anterior muscle. Possible exercises like weighted towel grabbing with the toes could help as well as barefoot concentric and eccentric calf raises on an airex or BOSU ball plus toe extensions.

    • Robynn Burls says:

      Hi Grant, thank you for sharing your ideas, you clearly have some experience on this topic.

      Could you perhaps explain the best way to do some of these exercises you’ve recommended? I’m guessing that “concentric and eccentric calf raises” means rising up onto demi-pointe and then lowering the heels back down?

      • Grant Whaits says:

        Hi Robynn, sorry for the delay in replying. Basically what I was suggesting was an exercise where the person raises up on the toes (concentric)and then slowly lets themself down only on the one foot (eccentric) – this might be nice and challenging if the person did this while standing on a BOSU ball or Airex while having their eyes closed. Another exercises that I mentioned can be done by placing a towel down folded out along the floor next to a chair, one can place a weight(eg. 5kg free-weight) on the top end point of the towel, therefore making it more challenging to the person grabbing the towel with their toes and pulling it accross.

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