Can You Touch Your Toes?

Let’s try it, get out of your seat or wherever you are reading this, stand up and try and touch your toes, while keeping a flat back and without knees bending, could you do it? My guess is about half of you cannot reach your toes with perfect form! 

It’s ok if you can’t, because an astonishing 53% of the population cannot touch their toes. This is an incredibly high percentage. If we take a look at what needs to happen biomechanically we can further understand why someone wouldn’t be able to touch their toes. 

In a simple toe touch exercise, the pelvis needs to be able to push back putting length on the hamstrings and tension on the hip flexors and quads. The abdominal muscles also have to work to stabilize you so you do not fall over when you go and reach down. You also need to be able to use the ground properly to stabilize your feet and lock down pressure in the middle. So it is more than just an exercise assessing the hamstring function, it takes a look at how the whole body is moving. 

If someone comes to us in the Performance Zone and cannot touch their toes, it is our job to find out why this phenomenon is happening. First we have to determine whether it is a whole system issue, or strictly a weak link in the chain not allowing the athlete to touch their toes. This is done through the Physical portion of the 5 Elements of Success Evaluation. 

Once we have the answer we can attack it with specific corrective and strength exercises to aid the athlete in being able to touch their toes. If all starts with the Heels up, Toes up Toe Touch drill. First the athlete will elevated their heels on a wedge or a book. The athlete will do 10 toes touches, reaching arms up overhead and breathing in. The athlete will then reach towards the toes and breathe out. The athlete will turn around and place the toes up onto the same wedge or book. They will then do 10 more reps with the same breathing pattern. Once the athlete has finished they will perform 5 reps of toe touches with feet flat on the ground, and 9 times out of 10 the athlete will feel some bit of relief in tightness or will notice they are traveling further or even being able to touch their toes! 

So how can this help me in my golf swing? 

With the hamstrings being tight or your body not allowing you to touch your toes, this will potentially lead to unwanted loss of dynamic posture and early extension in your golf swing. Early extension is any time you are moving towards the ball out of sequence. The clearest example of this is when your hips move closer to the ball on the downswing. Try this exercise out and see if it helps you in your golf journey! Of course if you need any help come find us in the Performance Zone or reach out to sign up for an evaluation today!