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  • Writer's pictureStan Guest, P.T., O.C.S., F.A.A.O.M.P.T.

Fast Friday - Falling is Not Always Bad

Fast walking and running starts with a fall, or more properly termed, a forward displacement of the body. Most of us have seen a toddler take their first steps. The parents release their hand hold and the youngster falls forward, pumping their legs up and down quickly to avoid an impact with the floor. Picture a sprinter in the blocks or a football lineman in formation. When they lift their arms, they must pump their legs quickly and powerfully to reach an upright running posture. Toddlers and athletes only plant their feet forward when they want to stop or prevent forward movement.

In Track and Field, I was taught the falling start to develop efficient running form and speed. In this drill, the athlete, starting in an erect posture with the feet together, falls forward, and takes off running before hitting the ground. For safety, only athletes should attempt this maneuver. We employ a safer version in the clinic, which we call the Falling Stork. In this drill, our client is asked to dangle a foot forward a few inches above the ground. They are then asked to fall forward and push off with their forward foot. This should only be done with someone that can safely balance on one limb.

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