The Importance of Foot Exercises for Runners

We're all mindful of our muscles.

Some people build gun-show biceps and chiseled abs to impress at the beach, others squat, lunge and plank their way to toned legs and a tight core.

But what about the muscles in our feet? You know, the parts of our body that repeatedly impact the ground with hundreds of pounds of force each step we take?

Eric Orton, a Wyoming-based running coach known for his cameo as the coach in Born to Run, is a firm believer that runners need strong feet.

"My whole strength philosophy is based off the feet," says Orton, who also authored his own book, The Cool Impossible, which encourages readers to challenge themselves and gain a mental edge as they push their limits physically.

For runners, Orton says improving the muscles in your feet is just as important as—if not more than—training any other muscle.

More: Strength and Mobility Exercises to Improve Running Form

Proper Efficiency and Stabilization

Serious runners can't afford to neglect their feet.

"The health of our feet truly dictates the health of our running ability," Orton says. "Strong feet can help anyone become a better athlete."

Our feet stabilize our entire body, and many running injuries and sorenesses stem from weak foot muscles or improper running form, which often occurs due to a lack of foot strength.

"You have to train the feet to become a stabilizers with proper efficiency all the way up to the hips," Orton says. "If you don't have that stabilization, that's where everything goes awry, all the way through your body."

More: 10 "Secrets" to Take Your Running to the Next Level

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