I hope someone here can answer this question. This excercise is described almost in all running books. It is very good for foot coordination and strengthening. Very good excercise for runners.

The excercise is as follows: press big toe to the floor while lifting smaller toes up. Reverse, lifting big toe up and pressing with smaller toes to the floor.

There are a lot of videos explaining how to do this exercise, but no one explains HOW TO LEARN to do it.

I can't isolate movement of the big toe from smaller toes. Probably this is because I have very bad toe coordination. I want to fix this.

Q: So how to learn to isolate big toe movement from the movement of smaller toes?

2 Answers 2


Probably your leg muscles are under-developed.

Strength is also control, and it is certainly possible to gain control of muscles you couldn't directly command before by strengthening them. The most common example is the famous chest bounce many men do, it's possible only for men who developed a certain chest strength.

I would suggest training your ankles, the feet toe muscles work just like the finger muscles, they can help in flexing the wrist/ankle which means you can train your toe muscles by doing calf raises.


As with most exercises that you can't do initially, progressions are probably key. If you can't lift the big toe separately from the others, I suspect you can at least modify the amount of pressure. Try reducing and increasing pressure in your big toe. Even if you can't see movement, I suspect you can feel the difference and you can practice that. Secondly, you may just need better strength in general to be able to coordinate the movement. Doing repeated pressing and flexing of your toes will help you build strength in that movement, which will help in being able to coordinate them moving more separately. Lastly, you might try a parallel exercise of toe coordination, like balancing on one foot. That sort of balance requires independent variation of pressure by the toes (or at least of the big toe and little toe) so it will help if both building up strength and physical coordination. Doing it on command will just take practice.

FWIW, Is it possible to move each toe individually? indicates that you can learn to move every toe individually, something I will admit is beyond me.

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