I may be a little obsessed with feet lately. They are such an unattractive body part so I feel challenged to improve them. We looked at how to get your feet summer ready and I shared my experience of foot reflexology, both seemed to help their appearance dramatically. Now there is a new weapon in the battle for feet confidence that I’m looking to explore, Solates. The concept has been created by Scholl and uses the principles of Pilates to help ease foot pain, boost circulation and leave you with beautiful feet.
Solates was launched in Australia last month by international foot supermodel (yes, that’s a real thing), Gemma Howorth. We have been lucky enough for Gemma to demonstrate step-by-step how to do Solates in your own home. Are you ready to work out? Great, take a seat!
This initial set of mobilisation exercises are completed whilst “unloaded”, which means it’s best to do them sitting with the legs supported, where you can watch the alignment of your feet as you complete the exercises.
Here’s what is to do…
Point & Flex, Circles, Side to Side Scoops
Point & Flex
Extend your ankles forward and press your toes all the way over toward the floor. Make sure your toe joints (metatarsal heads) are all even across the top so that you are keeping best alignment of your feet. Pull your toes and foot all the way back towards yourself, reaching the heel away and working the top of the foot to pull back. Again keep the toe joints even across. Do 6-10 sets, alternating between point and flex. Inhale as you point, exhale as you flex.
Moving smoothly through the point and flex movements, draw a big circle with your toes, moving from the ankles. First direction should be inwards towards each other, going as far into all directions as you can with each circle. Then reverse. Do 6-10 each direction. Exhale deeply on each circle and inhale as you come back to the start.
Side to Side
Holding a flat position of the foot similar to a standing position, pull the inside of the food inward, then pull the outside of the foot outward. Finish with the outward movement. Do 6-10 sets, alternating. Inhale inwards, exhale outwards.
Starting with the flat foot position again, scoop the insteps back like a flex, but point the toes over to form a ‘scoop’ position of the foot. Do 6-10 scoops. Exhale as you scoop, inhale to lengthen the foot back to flat.
Now we move into a “loaded” strengthening phase…. This means weight bearing by standing up to do the exercises. Focused weight-bearing exercises will change the tone, shape and look of your feet. It is important to work on alignment so that you encourage the effect you want, and to learn how the correct alignment feels. Remember that the work you do in your feet transfers up the legs and through the whole body, so the better you understand good alignment and the more strength you have in your feet, the more you will support and change your entire body. Solates – from the soles up!
To start these exercises stand with your feet evenly placed, toes spread and even through the toe joints; heels evenly weighted; this is a ‘tripod’ stance where the weight of your body is evenly distributed over your feet and all aspects of the foot are balanced. Keep your body upright and tall with as much height and length in your torso as possible, and drawing your abdominals in while you do these.
Rises, Plies & Combinations
Exhale to press all your toes and the balls of the feet into the floor and raise the heels up. Consciously work the muscles of the insteps to press the floor away. Do 6-10 reps.
Keeping the toes spread and weight evenly distributed, inhale to bend your knees and ankles, exhale to press your heels actively into the ground and straighten you legs. Do 6-10 reps.
Exhale to rise; staying on your toes inhale to bend the knees then exhale, roll your heels into the ground before straightening your legs back to the start position on an inhale. Do 3-6 then reverse.
Incorporate these exercises as part of your pedicure routine after buffing/exfoliating.
What do you think of feet exercises? Am I going overboard with my feet obsession? Let me know by commenting below!