Unlock Your Foot Core – Test Your Balance and Strength

You’ve probably heard of (or tried) doing planks for time as a way to test your core strength and stability. 

But did you know that your feet have a “core”?

You can actually train your foot core to help prevent running-related injuries according to a study by Dr. Sacco.

In the new book Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide, authors Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton place a high priority on what they call “foot core” training. Here’s how you can test your “foot core” strength. 


Balance on one foot, on your forefoot, on a hard surface with the heel a little elevated so you feel nice and strong at the arch. 

Use a wall or chair or partner to help you stabilize when needed. 

Note: This isn’t a calf raise exercise, with up and down movement with the foot. There’s no movement, just stabilizing.

Do this for 30–90 seconds per foot, or until you fatigue.

1. Wear Xero ShoesWalking in minimalist shoes, like Xero Shoes, could be effective for strengthening foot muscles according to Dr. Ridge’s research showing how walking in minimalist shoes built foot strength as much as doing an 8-week foot strengthening exercise program. 

Balance on a Slackblock

2. Improve your balance by using the SlackBlock, a tool that helps build strength in the feet and ankles. It’s a fun challenge, too. Don’t be surprised if you use it all the time.

Watch this video to see how to improve balance with the SlackBlock.

One Leg Balance Test

3. Keep practicing. One-legged balancing is both a test and a zero-impact exercise that you can do pretty much every day. Time yourself and see if you can beat your previous record.


Born To Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide