Very quick post today, and it’s about ankles and feet.
First, check out these two videos. In particular, check out her front (left) foot/ankle as she performs a split squat. What do you see in the before vs. after?
I hope you saw what I saw: A big change in the control of her pronation. Rather, an improvement in her ability to limit excessive pronation on the descent, and then successfully re-supinate as she came up.
Just FYI, pronation isn’t bad. You need it for shock absorption. You need it when you dance as a part of turn-out.
In fact, to extend your hips and activate your glutes you need to be able to pronate so that you can then re-supinate, driving hip extension from the ground up.
Much like you need sadness to perceive happiness, darkness to perceive light, you need pronation to perceive re-supination and to extend your hips. Yin and yang baby.
You don’t need orthotics to prevent your foot from pronating (well, sometimes, maybe. But it’s not a long-term solution).
You’re better off working on motor control and training yourself to become an orthotic.
Pronation can become problematic when it happens at the wrong time, in excess, and gets stuck there at rest.
By the same token, anterior tilt isn’t bad. Lumbar hyper-extension isn’t bad. They are necessary movements for dance and for life.
But they can be troublesome if you’re stuck in one of those positions, or they happen at the inappropriate time. Does your lower back hyperextend doing a sit up? That’s not supposed to happen… But it might if you’re like me, and some other dancers who are stuck in ineffective extension patterns.
Thank you, back-bends and chest breathing.
The time between the first and second videos was about 5-10 minutes. What did we do in that time?
An Anatomy in Motion inspired exercise that looked something (but not exactly) like this:
And we used an AiM wedge under the lateral part of her left foot to coax it to re-supinate at the appropriate time.
How can this help her dancing?
Proper control of pronation and re-supination means glute activation and hip extension will happen at the right times.
For this particular dancer, it means that she’ll be able to save her back by extending at the hip instead of her spine in excess.
It means she’ll have better arch strength and probably be able to point her feet better.
Being able to activate her glutes at the right time means her sore, tight hamstring will be able to relax and feel better.
And one of her main goals for working with me, improving ankle stability for better balance, is likely to become more solid too.
We have a lot of work to do yet, but not bad for a 10 minute experiment, eh?
I’m not an AiM practitoner, but I’ve been playing around with Gary Ward’s concepts, and having some pretty cool results. What happens at the foot is kind of a big deal. If you can find an AiM person near you, I highly recommend it.
The main take-away?
Be aware that pronation isn’t bad. If someone recommends you get orthotics to limit pronation, get a second opinion. Find someone who does AiM and they will teach you how to become your own orthotic.
What do you think?