Here’s a video by my mate Simon on different toe, foot and lower leg ‘awakening’ proprioceptive exercises. These exercises are great for a warm-up, or on low intensity days. The walking drills, which Simon will most likely show in video two or three, are awesome, too.
I personally do a lot of toe, foot, lower leg training – often in combination with forearms, grip and neck training. All these anatomical areas (foot, lower leg, hand, forearm and neck) are under trained by most people, and as such have many muscles underdeveloped, weak and/or ‘asleep’.
A fair amount of the muscles in these areas are quite small and delicate (at least in the beginning), so you should possible start of slowly and lightly – but all of the areas can be build up in strength and awareness (sensory and motor function). Indeed, I once heard Kit refer these areas (ankle; wrist and neck) as the ‘3 necks’ of Chinese medicine.. no idea where he got that reference, but the idea of it stuck with me. They can make quite a good theme for a Stretch Therapy/yoga/movement class, too.
Often if I turn up for my workout, and find my nervous system is not up to the planned heavy workout, I’ll switch to my ‘plan B’ workout – which normally involves less intense but more complicated movements for lats (rows; etc); forearms; feet and lower leg; neck and abs. I’ve had many great and profitable workouts this way, when I’d have just had a mediocre one if I’d stuck to the intended workout of heavy chins, squats, gymnastics or whatever the ‘A’ workout I was planning was.
Foot training (like that in the link above) has seriously changed (for the better) how I use my whole body, especially from feet up to lower/middle back. If you don’t do foot training, you should! Same goes for forearm, hand and neck training (obviously if these areas are injured you need to get that sorted before going to deep into it – but often these areas are injured because they are weak and have low/no awareness).
The ‘toe-squat’ exercises at around 9:20 in the clip are awesome (if you don’t have knee pain in them). They are, IMHO, not meant to be taken to failure or have much weight added – and are more like strength-awareness builders and advanced joint mobility exercises, than exercises for strength and conditioning. Very nice ‘injurey-proofing’ and resilience aspect to a lot of the drills shown. Niiiice one Simon.