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

Fast Friday - How to Fall into Your Steps for More Speed and Efficiency

Last week we addressed the concept of running and walking naturally initiated with a forward fall. Using correct running form induces a forward displacement of weight, triggering a fall forward as one walks or runs. Gravity is then assisting our forward movement. All of us enjoy the toddlers' first steps, in which they are falling forward and struggling to control their balance. They typically come to a crashing halt when they hit a piece of furniture or the wall. No one enjoys watching the elderly lose control of the forward fall. We are amazed at the control the Olympic and professional athletes have over this force of gravity. To harness this force of gravity, gait should be initiated with forward motion of the bent knee. However, adults typically initiate gait with a forward kick of the foot.

Athletes are very aware of the need to drive the knees. They perform warm up drills to harness this ability. We use a drill called the Usain Bolt, named after the fastest sprinter in the world. In this drill, you are walking like a sprinter. After walking this way for about 25 feet, break into a run or slow to a walk and see if you can feel an improved tendency to drive the knees forward.

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