In Part 1 of this series, we focused on how our diaphragm and pelvic floor are myofascially connected to each other, leading to powerful co-contractions that drive core stability. This concept of core stability and fascial integrations can be taken to the next level by looking at our body’s foundation, also known as, our feet.
Fascial integration in the body is vast, with one of the most fascinating connections existing between the tips of our toes and the roof of our mouth. Cadaver studies have demonstrated a fascial connection that lies deep within our bodies center, and runs from our feet, through our pelvic floor and diaphragm and ends at the neck. This is referred to as our Deep Front Line.
Meet the Deep Front Line
First referenced by Professor Thomas Myers in his book Anatomy Trains, the Deep Front Fascial Line is one of the most important fascial connections for creating stability in the body. Unlike other fascial lines, most of the muscles of the Deep Front Line cannot be palpated or seen externally on the body. The Deep Front Line consists of muscles that are referred to as postural muscles, muscles that contract subconsciously and our driven by gravitation forces on our body. Postural muscles help us stand upright and maintain body alignment.
The power behind the Deep Front Line and athletic performance is that it essentially connects our foundation to the ground (feet) with our body’s center of stability (core). The more we can optimize and bring conscious awareness to this foot core connection the faster our stability, and the greater our strength.
Finding Foot Awareness
Similar to Part 1 of this series, before we can unlock the full potential of the Deep Front Line we want to begin with focused foot awareness training to ensure that we are contracting these muscles correctly.
Short Foot Exercise
Connecting Foot to Core
As you saw in the above video, as soon as foot awareness is established, this concept is then further expanded upon by coordinating pelvic floor and diaphragm engagement with short foot exercise and each foot contraction.
The key takeaway here is that when doing short foot exercise, or pushing the toes down into the ground, this is always coordinated with a lift of the pelvic floor (especially the posterior pelvic floor) and an exhalation of the breath. Toes down, pelvic floor lift and exhalation now becomes the conscious sequencing that will further drive subconscious core strength.
Let’s take it back to the air squat of Part 1. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and the feet stable on the ground, inhale as you descend into the squat. At the bottom of the squat before standing back up, push the tips of the toes down into the ground and lift the pelvic floor concentrating on the posterior pelvic floor. As you press up, continue to push the toes down into the ground while exhaling and further lifting the pelvic floor.
Relax the diaphragm, pelvic floor and feet – and repeat.
You should begin to feel the stability that is achieved by integrating the feet with the core. As you begin to establish the consistency of conscious foot to core contractions, the next level of training would be the speed at which you create these contractions.
Functionally, core stability is happening as pre-activation patterns that supersede our ability to consciously contract. To coordinate these pre-activation contractions, begin to play around with the rate at which you contract your feet and core. The faster you can establish the co-contractions the more efficient they become.
In future articles we will reference additional ways in which you can drive pre-activation patterns in the body to optimize stability, strength and performance.
PODCAST: PA Radio Episode 377 – Feet, Fascia, & Dr Emily Splichal
PODCAST: PA Radio Episode 389 – A Body Breakdown w/ Dr. Mike Martino
BLOG: Breath as the Driver to Stability | Part 1 by Dr. Emily Splichal
BLOG: Foot Health – Shoes Are The Devil! by Matt Zanis
EDU: ACL Injury Prevention – Power Athlete Academy
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