Feet: The Gatekeepers of Force

Have you ever thought about what your feet do during the stroke? This video shows in real time (and in slow motion) that your feet are pretty busy and very important! However, their "work" is predominantly transferring the force from your legs and body to the footboard. At the beginning of the drive, you start transferring force with the balls of your feet, and then maximize the power as you add more force with your heels. You don't shift where you drive the force from, you add to it!

If you want to see a great chart that show you how this works, check out the link below! Take a second to digest how the force from your heels adds to the force from the balls of your feet! (Note: This chart says "heels" and "toes" for the sake of simplicity, because you certainly don't drive with your toes!)

Back to the video... Note how the stresses on the feet change throughout the stroke. The heel slightly lifts in to the catch and allows the shins to move towards perpendicular. Notice how the footplate is raised/textured under the ball of the foot (and under the straps)… This allows better traction/transfer of force as you start the drive. Also note that the toes have little to no pressure on them at the finish. As the heel is fully engaged, the toes even lift a bit in the recovery phase and are not strapped in tight. (I'll also point out that I was pulling a ~1:30 pace for this video, so the stresses/forces are pretty strong!)

And isn't the sound of the water in slow-motion awesome! Mesmerizing!

(And for the scientists out there... Yes, I have loosely thrown around Force (F=ma) and Power (P=w/t). They are not the same, yet are dependent on one another. I even mention "work" but only as a simple term! The chart is measuring Force, which ultimately leads to Power, but I'm not going to get any deeper in to the math! We will save that for another day when we discuss how all these forces eventually have to transfer to the handle and turn that paddle! Thanks for your understanding!)

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.