Your ability to successfully navigate your way through life, in a physical sense, largely depends on the functional capabilities of your feet and whether or not your feet can connect with the ground in a way that produces efficient, pain-free motion and movement. In order to realize the inherent potential of your feet to serve this important role, it’s crucial that you train them effectively, in a manner that optimizes and celebrates their natural form and function (something that’s frequently lost over time through the use of conventional footwear). This is where the BlackBoard Basic foot training system comes into play, especially when you use it in combination with BlackBoard MobilizationBars—a BlackBoard extension kit that helps accelerate functional foot gains.
BlackBoard MobilizationBars Training Goals
BlackBoard MobilizationBars are designed to help you restore your foot’s original motor skills, and they do so by increasing the sensitivity, flexibility, and joint range of motion in your feet. These tall, rounded bars create a larger tilting angle, which heightens the degree of mobilization possible throughout your various foot and toe joints, with the long-term goal of improving your overall foot function and reducing your chances of lower leg injuries. Use BlackBoard MobilizationBars to help you accomplish the following goals:
Mobilization of your heel and forefoot
Restoration of big toe range of motion
Relaxation and activation of key foot muscles
Enhancement of foot sensitivity, flexibility, and circulation
Improvement in joint range of motion throughout your foot
Now that you have a good sense of the many potential benefits associated with using BlackBoard MobilizationBars in combination with your BlackBoard, let’s take a closer look at the specific exercises you can perform to achieve these goals and build a more adaptable and responsive foot. The exercises you’ll find below have all been thoughtfully developed by the creators of the BlackBoard device, and they are suitable to perform practically anywhere, due to the lightweight, minimalist design and great portability of the BlackBoard itself.
Five Key Exercises for Long-Term Success
What appears below are the five basic exercises that constitute the core BlackBoard MobilizationBars training routine. The manufacturer of the MobilizationBars recommends that you do these exercises 2-3 times per week for optimal results. The overall aim of these helpful and novel exercises is to train your feet to become more capable, so that you can enjoy higher-quality footfalls and effective, pain-free movement throughout your lower body. In addition to the videos depicting each of these exercises, you’ll find below some additional tips and pointers on how to perform them successfully. We suggest watching the videos (ideally, several times) before performing the exercises to ensure that you execute them as intended.
In terms of duration and reps, the manufacturer recommends the following for each of these exercises:
3-5 repetitions on each side
Every set of BlackBoard MobilizationBars comes with a detailed user’s manual that includes descriptions of and QR codes for all the exercises that appear below, as well as depictions of how to arrange the MobilizationBars for each individual exercise.
Note: Don’t worry if you can’t tilt the BlackBoard all the way to the side in the beginning. After a few sessions, you’ll already notice that you have a wider range of motion.
For this exercise, position the long MobilizationBar beneath the FootBoard, right down the middle of it. The HeelBoard will sit firmly on the ground, thanks to the placement of the short MobilizationBars on both sides of it. Start this exercise off by tilting your forefoot to the left and then to the right. Continue rhythmically tilting the FootBoard from side to side, trying to get each edge as close to the floor as you can. The movement should be happening in your foot while your knee faces forward, to the greatest extent possible.
Exercise 2: Mobilizing the Heel
To work on mobilizing your heel, place one of the short MobilizationBars beneath the HeelBoard, right down the middle of it. The FootBoard will sit firmly on the ground for this exercise, thanks to the crosswise placement of the other MobilizationBars underneath it. Tilt the HeelBoard inward and outward, trying to bring the edges of the HeelBoard as close to the floor as possible. Continue rhythmically tilting the HeelBoard from side to side, focusing on controlled movement in order to optimize your heel mobility. Your forefoot should not raise the inner or outer edges of the FootBoard during this exercise.
Exercise 3: Foot Inversion (Untwisting the Foot)
This exercise helps relax and mobilize a tight foot (a common occurrence in those who have worn conventional footwear for many years). To get started with this exercise, position the long MobilizationBar beneath the FootBoard, along the inner edge. Then, position one of the short MobilizationBars beneath the HeelBoard, along the outer edge. Place your foot on the BlackBoard and divide your weight evenly between your forefoot and heel. Now move your knee straight ahead, out of neutral position, toward your second toe. This movement shifts your weight forward slightly, toward your forefoot. Your heel should remain in contact with the HeelBoard during this exercise.
Exercise 4: Inward Rotation of the Foot (Foot Spring)
This exercise also helps relax and mobilize a tight foot. To get rolling with this exercise, position the long MobilizationBar crosswise beneath the FootBoard, under your toes. Then, position one of the short MobilizationBars crosswise beneath the HeelBoard, under your heel. The BlackBoard device should form a “V” position when viewed from the side. As with exercise No. 3, move your knee straight ahead, out of neutral position, toward your second toe. This movement shifts your weight forward slightly, toward your forefoot. When performing this exercise, the arch of your foot should flatten toward the floor, and your foot should extend, or elongate, a little.
Exercise 5: Extension in the Big Toe
This exercise helps restore mobility in your big toe (as well as in your other toes) and activate the muscles in the sole of your foot. Place one of the short MobilizationBars crosswise beneath the HeelBoard, at the end of the board. Position your big toe on the board in such a way that your foot can extend in as straight a line as possible down the inner side of the board. Keep your big toe in this position while actively peeling your heel off the board. Lift your heel up as far as possible without changing the position of your big toe. The goal of this exercise is to reach an angle of 60 degrees while your big toe remains in straight alignment.
BlackBoard MobilizationBars: A Constructive Way to Enhance Foot Function
BlackBoard MobilizationBars provide you with the chance to improve key foot and toe joint ranges of motion, enhance the stability and resiliency of your foot and ankle, and develop a foot that’s more adept at handling the great variety of terrain you encounter in your daily life. The biggest benefit associated with using these thoughtfully crafted bars, however, is the confidence you get in knowing your feet will deliver you, in a proficient and fluid manner, wherever you choose to go. Almost all of us can benefit from training our feet to become more robust and injury-resistant, and doing so has never been more accessible, thanks to the creation of the BlackBoard device. Join the ever-growing number of people who are using BlackBoard MobilizationBars to improve foot form and function!
Dr. Marty Hughes is a chiropractic physician, or DC. He received his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC), now known as the University of Western States (UWS). Dr. Marty has always been interested in foot health, due to the connection between the feet and the spine. He has worked as a freelance writer for LiveStrong.com, for whom he contributed over 2,200 health-and-fitness articles. He is a co-founder of Natural Footgear and an ardent supporter of natural foot care approaches. Dr. Marty enjoys road cycling, trail running, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing as well as exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina.
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