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Forced Pronation and the Trigger Mechanism | Boddicker Performance

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Forced Pronation and the Trigger Mechanism

by on Aug 14th, 2010

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This week I spoke a bit about the value of having proper mobility at the foot and ankle as it relates to improving the action of the subtalar joint trigger mechanism.  To recap, the trigger mechanism is what should occur with proper triplanar mobility at ground contact.  With a foot strike, the subtalar joint drives into eversion, allowing the tibia to rotate internally, loading the structure of the hip and spinal stabilizers through the iliotibial tract and also loading the muscles in the lower leg.

Once we restore proper mobility at the subtalar joint, commensurate with the WD-40 and Duct Tape model, we’ll use some form of stability based training to let the brain learn to own the new mobility.  Often we’ll use multiplanar reaching exercises, low level “stability” based plyometrics, but as athletes advance, I’ve lately begun to experiment with forced pronation exercises in low volumes so athletes learn to control the ROM from the hip.

Forced pronation exercises are an advanced reactive neuromuscular training (RNT) modality–a review of the theory behind RNT coming soon–that accentuate the error forcing the brain to respond strongly to defend the range of motion.  Joe Heiler of Sports Rehab Expert is kind enough to share a video series of three forced pronation exercises he uses for this instance in the free article section of his site.  Check them out here.

I’ve been pleased with the results we’ve seen using these modalities in our FMS results, particularly the HS and ILL, with the DS seeing some benefit.  I would imagine that nearly all ground based activities can benefit from such training efforts.


Carson Boddicker

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Leave a Comment »5 Comments
  • Doug Burns August 14, 2010

    Hi, Carson.

    I have a few quick questions for you (an I apologize in avance thta these will likely appear very basic and nnot contribute to a broader and deeper discussion).

    What would be an example of a low-level “stability-based” plyometric that you make use of with those athletes you feel are in need of such a thing?

    And with regard to the linked videos from Joe Heiler,

    1) Is he intentionally driving pronation and then working to correct it, or is the pronation simply going to be a natural by-product of standing on there, thus requiring the correction. On the surface I suppose the intention is still the same, namely to correct excursion into pronation. I just wanted to clarify if we should be intentionally moving into pronation and then correcting as opposed to just letting pronation “happen.”

    2) For the single-leg squat and deadlift, is he simply using a small wedge under the outside of the foot? I would presume so but had a bit of trouble deciphering it in the video clips.

    Thank you for fielding my questions and for all of the educational content that you provide. You’re a major inspiration for me as I begin to delve more deeply into this field, and I appreciate the constant reminder of what it means to raise the bare in our professional efforts.

  • Carson Boddicker August 15, 2010


    A “stability based” plyometric may be better titled a landing emphasis plyometric where the athlete is to perform some activity and “stick” the landing. In the early going it may be as simple as a hop and stick to an aerobic step progressing to something many times more complex. I’ve played around a bit with some upper extremity “drivers” that I picked up from Jeremy Boone that can challenge control of the range of motion from the top down that really increase the challenge. The point with these is not to eliminate pronation as it is absolutely necessary, but develop better control of the ROM.

    I cannot comment exactly as to what Joe does, but we are using it as simple by-product of being wedged into pronation. I can see no legitimate need for actively driving pronation as the movement atop the pronated foot is the opposite reaction. With RNT, we simply feed errors and let the nervous system sort it out. Joe is just using a wedge, yes. In this case you want the wedge to be the full foot (getting subtalar eversion and midtarsal inversion), but in some situations you can “isolate” a joint with a smaller wedge.

    Thanks for joining the battle and keep up the good work. As always, let me know if I can do anything to facilitate your success.

    Carson Boddicker

  • Rune Brix September 21, 2010

    Hi Carson

    Your not writing much about the mobility modalities you use, can you describe these or where your inspiriation is from (author ect.)?

  • Carson Boddicker September 21, 2010


    It’s unimportant the modality so long as you get the effect. For examples, see my Alleviating Ailing Ankles: Part 2 article for STJ stuff. The problem with I use X to get Y result is that Z issue is often multifactorial and if somebody is locked into eversion, for example, they may not benefit from an STJ mobilization as much as improving the firing of the hip external rotators.

    Carson Boddicker

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