When working to improve the feet musculature & related proprioceptive firing form the mid-feet of my TOTT runners (of ANY age), I incorporate the following progressive drills (in in the gym or infield of a running track):
1. Balance sequence:
* low squat running position on the metatarsal arch. Repeat with other leg in lead position
* low squat 1-legged balance eyes open then eyes closed on metatarsal arch). Repeat on other leg
* 1-legged stand on mid-foot with forward lean arms reaching to ground & ‘free’ leg raised parallel to ground behind body. Repeat on other leg
* 1-legged stand with ‘free’ leg sliding out to side as you squat low. Must brace whole core, move leg out & in slowly & squat as slide leg out. straighten up as bring leg back. Repeat on other leg
Do each exercise for 60 secs. in sequence x 1 set daily.
2. Power sequence:
* 1-legged 5-point burpees (1 minute) followed by 2-legged 5-point burpees exploding @ end & bringing knees to chest (30 secs.)
* 2-legged deep squat jumps bringing knees to chest & landing LIGHT on mid-feet (60 secs.)
* 1-legged alternate stationary mid-foot hops landing LIGHT & increasing height of hop with each rep till max out. Repeat sequence over 60 secs./leg
* Sumo Squat hopping forward & backward (10 hops each way over 60 secs.)
These are done 2-3 times per week – 1 set only. Within a few weeks of doing these, my runners report less distance running fatigue, no running-related injuries & much better balanced foot cadence. In my world, that’s a perfect score of 100 re: positive results!. Build these into your training – especially if you’re a bare-footer or if you’re making the shift to ‘less’ on your feet.