Foot health is the cornerstone to good sprinting, and Jeff Cubos recently talked about research on intrinsic foot exercises and corrective approaches. I think foot exercises are good for joint flow and dealing with tonus issues of the foot, but we are not going to build arches from running barefoot people. Creating an arch can be done, but it’s not functional when you look at the pressure mapping studies and force plate research. I see people doing a lot of exercises to fix feet, but the reality is that bone structure is very slow to change and sometimes the situation can’t be modified. Train the body statically and dynamically, but foot exercises can’t fix Gronk as he weights 260 pounds and running around like a Barbarian on he field.
Janda’s Short Foot theories are nice, but balancing on a disc or on his sandals are not very effective. My own experience in the 1990s when NASM started getting popular, because of Mike Clark, had me experiment with glute exercises and bodywork. This left very little to be desired with results because rehabbing a person getting ready for activities of daily living and the Triple Jump are different beasts. Proprioception can be tested with COP tools but the best is sprinting and jumping for both performance and medical integrity. Those that bring up proprioception usually cite research on very slow movements that have low force requirements. Volitional demands are not the same with rapid actions in sport that are nearly reflexive. Cueing toes to pull back and going to work at 4.8 strides a second. Rehab and injury and preparing for sport are often the same, but with proprioception and the Janda Short Foot hype it’s not transferring.