As dancers we are constantly working with our feet: from simply standing or extending the leg line in a pose, to all the movements that require very precise and clear foot work. Learning how to properly take care of this precious instrument, dedicating it enough time and attention and improving its efficiency, can only result in a positive outcome.
Why is it important to do some feet exercises?
Adding feet exercises to your daily routine will help you improve their shape and line, increase their strength in order to perform better jumps and pointe work, prevent certain injuries and gaining proprioception and knowledge over this very important part of your body.
Even dancers who have what we call “arched feet” should regularly do feet exercises: more mobility requires more control, as one of the principles for dancers says. In fact, when the ligaments are looser, stability, which is an essential element for any dancer, is harder to achieve and maintain.
Can I really change the shape of my feet?
The answer is… yes! The shape of your feet can truly change depending on the kind of work you do and the way you are able to present them. There are many dancers who were not born with naturally arched feet and still managed to make them look beautiful by understanding how to pointe and present their feet.
In fact, specific exercises executed diligently, along with focus and patience, can make a dramatic difference in the shape of your feet if you apply yourself in each and every ballet class.
We recommend you start by listening carefully to technique videos “Pointé: Fundamentals” and “How to pointe and present my foot”?” where you will find many helpful answers and cues there. You can then find targeted exercises in the “Feet exercises” section. Ballet technique and conditioning paired together are highly efficient. This is the reason why Core De Ballet provides both!
What kind of exercises should I do?
Dancers are used to pulling and stretching their feet and toes to the extremes: constantly trying to get those toes to touch the ground. But how is that going to help? Very little improvement and a high risk of injury occurs when overstretching the ligaments at the top of the feet over a prolonged period of time.
The best and most efficient way to actually notice progress and improvement is through targeting all the little muscles on the soles of the feet as, since the action of muscles is to move bones, they are the ones that can change the shape of your feet.
Besides that, a variety of other exercises focused on mobilizing and stabilizing the many joints of the feet will help you achieve your goal of better and stronger feet in a few months.
We filmed all our favorite exercises in a follow along routine. You can start working on your feet right away!
How can I create a good routine?
Even just a couple of minutes a day, fully dedicated to some feet exercises, can make a noticeable difference in your technique and allow you to progress rather quickly. We suggest picking some exercises that work on the toes, some that engage the muscles underneath the feet and some that target ankle stability so that your routine can be well rounded and complete.
A great way to make sure to perform various exercises without having to worry about not having enough time during the day is to create two different routines and alternating them (f.e. set 1 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; set 2 on the remaining days).
The routine itself does not have to be extremely long: remember that a little every day is better than a lot just once.
Any tips to make sure I stick to the routine?
Once you created your set of exercises, it is important to make sure you are consistent in doing it. It is helpful to aim for a specific time of the day when you have enough time to focus on it (f.e. before a class, before going to bed, after waking up…). Having a set time will in fact help you create a habit.
Core De Ballet videos are follow-along: they include an explanation, demonstration and corrections. All you need to do is to click play and start. You don’t have to worry about counting repetitions, but rather focus on the form and on the guidance provided in each video. Head over to the Video Training of Core de Ballet and start your exercises now!