Whether we're pounding the pavement or leisurely putzing toward our morning caffeine hub, we're constantly using our feet without so much as a second thought.
But when it comes to working out—whether you're a cyclist or runner or more into Pilates and yoga—having strength and agility in those lowest extremities is tantamount to focusing on major muscle groups when it comes to awesome performance. So if you're looking to up your game, step one should be obvious: Exercise your trotters.
Women's Health expands on the importance of foot fitness: "As the only contact point between the body and the ground, our feet are not only our body's foundation (base) but also our brain's gateway into the perception of the ground we walk on," says podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal. "Any imbalance in our foundation (feet) will impact our body's alignment proximally. Similarly, any disconnect between the feet, brain, and ground can result in delayed stability when we move and increases our risk of overuse injuries."
The barefoot cardio flow class serves up 60 minutes of cardio that's easy on the joints, beginning with deep breathing, stretching. and such yogic poses as side angle, tree, and warrior to fire up your lower body and core. Then come the push-ups, lunges, and squats, all the while under Scott's instruction to "pay special attention to use your feet to stabilize and engage your core."
"I wanted to create a non-impact class that would improve balance and lower-body mechanics, but simultaneously make you sweat," Scott said, also noting the importance of self-awareness while exercising. "No matter how you're working out, be it in a Pilates or cycling class, you should always be in tune with your body, which includes knowing how your feet are performing."
In WillPower & Grace, Scott says you'll know you're doing it right when you feel the muscles in your feet start to burn and ache. Add profuse sweat to that and we were doing it right, alright—the small muscles in our ankles and feet were engaged throughout the entire hour-long session.
"I want you to leave this class with a greater sense of agility, enabling you to jump higher and land lighter, cycle faster and recover better," he says.
Studiomix offers an array of group classes in just about every form of fitness you can imagine: dance, Pilates, rock climbing, yoga, MMA conditioning, barre, TRX, and more. The staff is welcoming, the towels are free of charge, and 90s MTV-era pop bounces off the walls. Get moving.
// WillPower & Grace classes are $30 each with a drop-in day pass or included in memberships (starting at $145) at Studiomix; 1000 Van Ness Ave. (Tendernob), studiomix.com.