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Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Feet

It is funny how we sometimes forget how amazing our feet are.

They carry us around all day, support our body weight, and play an essential role in many physical activities like core movement.

Despite all that hard work and the numerous foot problems they might encounter, foot strength is often overlooked in our general fitness routines.

Instead, we focus on core strength, toning our abs, slimming our waist, or building up our biceps.

But what about giving some love to our feet? They deserve consistent attention, too.

Good foot fitness avoids sprains and strains and improves ankle stability - significantly improving our overall balance on exercises that rely on foot strength.

Here are some Pilates exercises to strengthen your feet and tackle foot issues head-on.

Toe Taps

Toe taps are a dynamic move that targets the muscles in your feet and lower legs, helping to improve flexibility and coordination.

  1. Start by lying on your back with your legs extended toward the ceiling.
  2. With your toes pointed, gently lower one foot toward the floor, lightly tapping your toes on the ground.
  3. Then, lift your foot back to the starting position and repeat with the other foot. Aim for 10 to 15 taps on each side.

For An Extra Challenge

If you want to take toe taps to the next level - add an extra dash of challenge by incorporating a Pilates circle or a small ball between your ankles.

As you lower your foot toward the floor to tap your toes, squeeze the circle or ball with your ankles.

This added resistance intensifies the workout, targeting the muscles in your feet and legs even more. Remember to maintain proper form and control throughout the exercise.

If you experience any discomfort, difficulty or foot pain with this exercise, you can modify it by bending your knees and keeping your feet flat on the ground while performing the toe taps.

Heel Lifts

Another Pilates exercise for stronger feet - this one targeting the muscles in your calves and feet, heel lifts (or heel raises).

  1. Find a comfortable standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Now, focus on lifting your heels off the ground while keeping the balls of your feet grounded. Go as high as you can, feeling the stretch in your calves.
  3. Hold for a moment, and then lower your heels back down. Aim for about 10 to 15 repetitions, gradually increasing the number as you get stronger.

For An Extra Challenge

Try performing heel lifts on one leg for some extra challenge and work those feet even more. Working one leg at a time adds an element of balance and stability, making your foot muscles work harder.

Stand tall and shift your weight onto one foot. Raise the heel of your standing leg, feeling the muscles in your calf and foot engage. Hold for a moment, and then lower your heel down.

Repeat this movement for 10 to 15 reps on each leg.

If you feel unsteady performing heel lifts, have a chair or a wall nearby for support.

Ankle Rolls

  1. Begin rotating your ankle in a circular motion.
  2. Start with small circles and gradually increase the size as you go.


It helps to imagine you're drawing circles with your big toe, feeling the gentle stretch and engagement in your ankle.

Keep the movement smooth and controlled, focusing on activating the muscles around your ankle. Aim for around 10 reps in one direction, then switch to another.

Ankle rolls strengthen your feet and improve ankle mobility, essential for maintaining balance and overall foot health.

For An Extra Challenge

  1. Grab a resistance band, sit comfortably, and extend one leg in front of you.
  2. Loop the band around the ball of your foot and hold the ends firmly.
  3. Exhale as you flex your foot backward, pulling against the band's resistance.
  4. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat this movement for 10 to 15 reps, focusing on the engagement in your feet and ankles.

Point and Flex

Let's move on to one of the foundational Pilates exercises for stronger feet - point and flex! This one targets the muscles in your feet and lower legs.

  1. Begin by sitting comfortably with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Point your toes, extending them as far as you can. Feel the stretch in the arches of your feet and the back of your calves.
  3. Hold this position for a few seconds before flexing your feet, pulling your toes back towards your shins.

You should feel the muscles in the front of your lower legs engage. Repeat this movement, alternating between pointing and flexing your feet, for about 10 to 15 reps.

For An Extra Challenge

Try performing point and flexing with a resistance band to add an extra challenge.

  1. Sit with the resistance band looped around the balls of your feet and hold onto the ends with your hands.
  2. As you point your toes, gently pull the band towards you, creating resistance for your feet to work against.
  3. Then, as you flex your feet, release the tension in the band.

Repeat this movement for about 10 to 15 reps, feeling the burn in your foot muscles. If you have any discomfort or difficulty with the exercise, you can modify it by sitting on a chair or the edge of a bed instead of on the floor.

This modification can help alleviate strain or pressure on your back or hips. Remember, the goal is to challenge but not overstrain your body.

Towel Scrunches

  1. Sit comfortably with your legs extended in front of you and place a small towel or cloth on the floor.
  2. Now, use your toes to grab and scrunch the fabric towards you. Hold the contraction for a few seconds, then release.

Repeat this movement for about 10 to 15 repetitions.

For An Extra Challenge

Yet again, we can use the resistance band to do better and add some extra challenge.

  1. Sit with the resistance band looped around the balls of your feet and hold onto the ends with your hands.
  2. As you scrunch the towel towards you, gently pull the band for added tension. Feel the resistance in your foot muscles, working against it with each scrunch.

Repeat this movement for about 10 to 15 reps, focusing on the engagement and burn in your feet.

Additional Tips

Just like any fitness journey, it's crucial to remember a few essential tips when starting these Pilates exercises to strengthen your feet.

Take It Easy On Yourself

Start slow. It's not a race to the finish line. Instead, it's about making consistent progress. So, before maxing it out with the resistance bends and more challenging versions, begin with simple exercises and gradually increase the complexity.

You'll feel more confident to execute them and push further as your foot strength and flexibility improve.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day - and neither are strong and healthy feet.

Be Consistent

Incorporate these exercises into your daily routine.

Consistency is the secret ingredient to using your teeth; make it a habit, and you'll start seeing the results over time.

Listen To Your Body

Foot exercises are meant to help, not hurt. If you experience any foot pain or discomfort, stop immediately.

Consult a sports medicine professional or Pilates instructor to ensure you exercise correctly and address foot issues.

And remember, wearing Pilates socks can also help maximise the results of these exercises and protect your feet.

Have fun on your journey to stronger, healthier feet!

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