Fitness Begins From the Feet Up
By Michael Margulies and Dr. Suzanne Fuchs (Dr.SuzHeals)
About the Co-author:
Michael Margulies is a certified personal trainer certified through Ace with 25 years of experience and is co-owner of core fitness Inc. The Upper East Sides oldest personal training facility corefitnessnyc.com 917-293-9241
Years ago when Michael Margulies started personal training, a trainer only needed to know the basics to participate and motivate others. Professional trainers would teach their clients how to perform bench presses, shoulder presses, bicep curls, and triceps pushdowns and sometimes, if they were really out of the box, they would work on performing squats and leg presses!
There was very little attention paid to form or the balancing of muscle groups. People seldom paid attention to flexibility or cardiovascular health. Fitness was in fact about one’s appearance rather than functional fitness, cardiovascular health or flexibility.
Today, fitness has completely evolved. Many personal trainers, physical therapists and physicians have incorporated several modalities in their treatments and training programs. One important concept, that often goes overlooked, is that fitness actually starts from the ground up with your feet. When Michael Margulies meets a new client, he will assess them by looking at the way they walk and more importantly the way they squat. He could tell a lot about a person and their functionality and fitness by the way they squat. He will look at the way their feet are positioned. Whether their toes are pointed outwards or inwards, if they bend forward or if they keep their back flat. When in a squatting position, you must engage your hips and glutes. You should not rely on your knees.
You can tell a lot about a person by their feet. For this reason, it is very important for the client or patient and for the personal trainer or medical professional to pay close attention to some key factors. When a person squats we look at their heels to see if they rise up off the ground. We are also looking at the position of their feet and toes to see if they point outwards or inwards. Also, we look to see if they lose form because of tightness in their hamstrings and calves.
Before one touches a weight they should first learn how to squat properly without any resistance and from there they can move on to unilateral squats. Unilateral squats isolate the glutes and help one to focus more on balance and proprioception as well as strengthening the muscles in their feet.
Once a novice masters exercises like standard squats, one legged squats, push-ups etc. without resistance and is able to maintain a proper form, then it would be appropriate to add weights and enter the world of resistance training.
According to Dr. Suzanne Fuchs, we must not forget about stretching the calves and hamstrings. Stretching is important because excessively tight calf muscles are prone to tearing, increase your risk of achilles tendon tears and heel spurs. Holding stretches for 15-20 seconds that stretch the calf muscles several days a week, will improve range of motion, decrease risk of tearing and help the calf muscles produce proper levels of force. Along with stretching, myofascial release is also important to help treat and prevent injuries. You can perform self myofascial release by using a foam roller or other device, even a lacrosse ball can do the trick.
Stay Tuned for the Upcoming Posts that will have exercises for both self stretching and using the foam roller!