Running with heavy feet? Practice your Double Unders!

Many runners can be heard coming before we even see them. What gives them away? Usually their heavy feet! And one reason we land heavy? We lose stability in the body while in the air with zero points of contact. While standing we are stable with two points of contact on the ground. While running we alternate between zero and one point of contact making stabilization difficult.
In CrossFit we also see this same heavy landing occur in the Double Under. For a softer landing and ultimately for better performance we need to maintain stability in the air. To do that athletes must push through the whole body, specifically: keep the belly tight, push the hips forward, and point the toes. Pushing creates stability in the air with zero points of contact so we can land on the ground and rebound right back up.
By learning how to stabilize in this manner in the double under, we can transfer this skill over back to our running for greater in-air stability, less impact on our joints, and a much quieter footfall.

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2 Responses to “Running with heavy feet? Practice your Double Unders!”

  1. Shaun Baird August 19, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    First let me say that I am in no way an expert, but it was interesting to read your post.

    I hadn’t thought about “firming up” while mid-air (so to speak), but I do have a question I want to add, to follow up with…

    Surely if we are “tight” while mid air, then we are landing in a “tensed” up state, so the impact on our joints would therefore be harsher and heavier. From your qualifications I’m guessing I’m completely wrong – was just saying what first came to my mind however.


    • Nathan Helming August 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      Hi Shaun

      From what we find, If we can maintain some tension in certain areas of the body, it means we can be more relaxed in other areas ( i.e. the shoulders and ankles), which allows us to better take advantage of ground reaction forces.

      Somewhat counter intuitive on the surface, but if we do not have any tension, then we land soft and disorganized which ends up being a much heavier landing.

      Experiment with it yourself and see what you think!

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