Foot, Ankle & Balance Training Simplified

By Matt Copper | Waff Team





How To Safeguard Yourself Against Injuries With Waff & Lasso Gear



Does your training have a key blind spot that may be hindering your results and making you more susceptible to injury?


Safe to say that almost every training system ignores training the foot. And yet this is the only part of you that’s in contact with the ground in sports, at the gym, and throughout the day.


You wouldn’t drive your car on flat tires or without shock absorbers so why would you similarly neglect the role of the foot, ankle, and lower leg when it is so vital to our alignment, posture, performance, and overall fitness?


The reality is that most credentialing institutions for training and even some rehab leave a lot to be desired when it comes to developing this key area of the kinetic chain (your body). It’s not that they don’t include it in education, but more so that they don’t place an emphasis on how to train it on the applied side or in practice.


Thankfully, there are simple things you can do to bulletproof yourself from injury and improve your performance.



Go Barefoot



The simplest method is also the most accessible. Going barefoot requires no equipment, is easy to implement, and the price is right. This makes it something anyone can do, regardless of their training setup or budget.


Truth be told, many of our modern shoes de-train the gait cycle by altering how our foot interacts with the ground. This changes our stride and has deleterious consequences that reverberate back up the chain.


How does that work? Well, like Gary Gray and the Gray Institute say, everyone has to navigate three dimensional space by dealing with physics. We have to deal with gravity, mass, momentum, and ground reaction forces. When we go to move, this energy begins in the trunk and then will “move downward” as gravity keeps us tethered to earth. Depending on how our body coordinates itself in space—including how our foot interacts with the ground—this energy then reverberates back up the chain.


In a perfect scenario, these forces are distributed evenly in a more balanced capacity throughout the chain but for most people, this isn’t the case.


The net effect is excess energy being routed to one joint or another—generally the ankle, knee, and/or low back.


By going barefoot we can begin to regain that natural relationship our foot has with the ground so that we can better navigate our space and safeguard ourselves from potential injury.


Simply start by going barefoot as often as you can, including in training when possible.








Integrate Proprioception Training Into Your Routine



Now that the first step is being taken care of, you’ll want to start to develop the tissues (smaller intrinsic muscles and fascia) of the foot and lower extremity as well as stimulate the sensory systems of the body.


You see, all over your body you have these GPS sensors known as proprioceptors. These sensors collect information about your body’s place in space and time and sends information to your brain so that you can adequately move and react appropriately.


The problem is we de-train these sensors over time by wearing shoes too often and by not playing, not having a diverse enough activity portfolio, and more. The problem is that when you don’t have well-developed sensory systems, this is like driving at night without your headlights on. How are you going to get from point A to point B without a greatly heightened potential for injury?


In addition to going barefoot, you’ll want to include proprioception training in the form of Waff reactive surface training devices. As seen on Bleacher Report, Waffs are a cutting-edge technology in the interactive surface space that actually ensure you are in good positions posturally-speaking while also delivering a strong stimulus to your nervous system.


By simply doing various exercises on Waffs—including single leg balance, lunging, squating, and much, much more—you can develop the tissues of the foot and lower extremity, refine your sensory awareness, as well as improve posture, body control, reflexes, and garner more muscular recruitment by activating the appropriate muscle groups far greater than you thought possible.


This makes Waffs not only a great tool for preventing foot, ankle, knee and global injury, but also for fitness, mobility, performance, and healthy aging.




Use Lasso As An Insurance Policy






So we’ve talked a lot about how to develop yourself and how that starts with not “babying” your feet by wearing shoes all the time and not developing them. Now it’s time to look at the other end of the spectrum and how that slots into the bigger picture.


When you think of foot and ankle supports, things like orthotics, tape, and allegedly-protective shoes come to mind. These things all make logical sense and sound great in theory, but the reality is that most leave a lot to be desired.


Orthotics tend to baby your feet, negatively impact posture, alter the gait cycle, and can make you dependent on them for functionality. Taping can be hit or miss and is often uncomfortable. As of now, research doesn’t support the lofty ankle security claims that athletic footwear companies make.



Enter Lasso Gear. Rated #1 in class by Men’s Fitness, Lasso inserts itself as a convenient inclusion to your running, training, or pregame routine by simply being a sock that you wear to mimic the effects of high-level athletic taping for protection.


Seeing as how it’s simply a sock, it’s minimally-invasive as you’re going to already be wearing socks when you perform as it is. Technologically-speaking, Lasso compression socks help improve circulation for more balanced blood flow, keep tissues warmed up, improve joint security, mitigate the effects of impact forces such as bone bruises, and have targeted support around the areas of the foot that will be chiefly responsible for dealing with high impact forces.






Bottom Line



Whether you’re an athlete looking to safeguard yourself against injury and perform, a weekend warrior looking to be comfortably active, or simply someone who wants to move while feeling good throughout the day, it’s important to not overlook proper development of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity in training.


A massive blind spot in virtually everyone’s training or movement practice, this area is vital to address for all things injury prevention, performance, mobility, posture, and simply feeling good.


Be sure you tackle this development holistically by not babying it and by adding support when necessary. This is best accomplished with a blend of barefoot training, proprioception training & ankle development with Waff, as well as in-game or in-action performance support using Lasso socks.


You can access a full library of Waff exercises for both the foot as well as for strengthening, core development, and conditioning by checking out the FREE Waff app in the Google Play Store or App Store.


Find Waffs at www.waffstudio.com and on social @waffstudio.


Find Lasso Gear at www.lassogear.com and on social @lassogear