Wednesday, November 2, 2011

100- Up for "good" barefoot running?

  I saw this posted on facebook today and wanted to know YOUR thoughts on this.

 When I coach I do lots with the hamstring firing to the back.  You know like when you were a kid and used to run and try to kick your own butt?  It's to get in touch with the feeling of firing that hamstring and not bringing the knee way up. while simultaneously getting in touch with where on the foot to land.
  When I try the 100 ups I over stride....I think I can incorporate it somewhere as it certainly can be felt in my core. I am challenged to balance and keep an upright posture with my head.

  I am dubious that taking this out on the street will make it impossible to run wrong. thats far too big of a generalization but definitely enticing to get people to think and explore.
 My healthy dose of skepticism and questioning is hopefully keeping me balanced.
I do believe without a doubt that running form is key. how you get that form....well that's the big fun question!!!
There is no quick fix after years of running in padded cushioned running shoes.  It takes practice.
I agree that running smooth and lite is very important.

What do you all think?
Angie Bee

P.S.  Thank you Christopher McDougall for the blog fodder.
Here is an article also recently done by McDougall with interesting diagrams.

  I am loving the comments!  I am learning so much and my brain is getting a stellar workout!
I like Ben's comment about where to land.

"Cucuzzella didn’t like it as a teaching method — he loved it. “It makes so much physiological and anatomical sense,” he said. “The key to injury-free running is balance, elasticity, stability in midstance and cadence. You’ve got all four right there.”


Brandon Mulnix said...

Its good to be skeptical of everything. Questioning authority and what they say makes them say the right stuff. If they were not held accountable, they could say whatever they wanted.

Thanks for being skeptical...

Anonymous said...

No quick fix..Nope!! You know I've tried to transistion and it takes time to make sure your brain has been re wired to not land on your heels. That and not wearing a heel under your foot.

Ludo said...

Ahhh... funny because I sent you an email earlier asking you exactly the same thing!!
I think that using hamstrings is good but there is a slight chance of "pushing off" while doing so.
But bringing the knee forward put a lot of stress on the hip flexors.... I know that too well.

What does the Vivobarefoot/Saxby's coaching style say on that?

Ludo said...

Also, if you look at BF Ken Bob here:
He is bringing his knees forward like McDougall mentioned.

Hamstrings vs. Knees forward ..... new debate?

I think that as long as, one doesn't overstride, doesn't bounce and got cadence... it's all good.

Unknown said...

I just saw and replied Ludo!
Tina Dubois just reminded me that Lee said that Hip flexors are the steering wheel and the hamstrings are the engine.

There has to be balance there but I think the power comes from the hamstring. That is how it feels for me.
If I can't keep from overstriding , and in the diagram in the article you posted Ludo ,which I will edit and attach to this post, (the diagram he is not landing under his center. His ankle is not under his hip when landing.)... Anyways,

Overstriding means that you are on the ground too long and not taking advantage of the elastic recoil instead you are using too much muscle action which costs and will slow you down eventually. I got much faster after lee showed me how to get in touch with my hamstring as my power.

I do think the hamstring vs. knee forward will become a new debate and what a fun debate. At least it's not barefoot or shoes debate. I think form is key period.

dagitj said...

There are never any silver bullets, but if I were faced with the (false) dichotomy of this or running shoes, I'd definitely go with this.

I do worry that selling this as so magical could potentially create backlash as people try it and find that it doesn't work for them.

Overall though, I'm really glad to see this article reach the nytimes. The message needs to get out and this does help.

Tony said...

There is solid hip flexor use, not bad in itself as strong hip flexors are necessary. What seems to help is thst the lack of forward flexion of the torso with a fully extended "base" leg. Also, the pelvis remains in a neutral position. By keeping the psoas and rectum femoris strong but long, the lower back is protected and patellar "tracking" is maintained in balance. By keeping the pelvis in a neutral position (no forward tilt) the iliacus is kept from shortening. All together, this all would appear to obviate the injuries those with shortened hip flexors and weak glutes tend to have.

Ben S said...

The 100ups exercises are a great way to teach foot strike. I think proper foot strike is critical for everyone no matter the level of experience or technique. I think newer runners and those focused on running for pleasure and fitness should explore whatever stride works for them so long as the foot strike is correct.

If performance is of concern, I agree with Gordon Pirie and Steve Magness on the importance of "loading" the heel and using the glutes and hip extension to drive the runner forward. I think of it this way. With a bent knee and a foot strike on the ball of the foot the heel settles back and nearly simultaneously the glutes fire and hip extension is initiated springing the runner over the planted lower leg. The focus is on foot strike under the center of mass (COM), the height of COM (which effects the amount of knee bend) and hip extension. There is no focus on toe off or leg lift. The other muscles just do what they need to do to facilitate movement throughout the cycle without much thought.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a good start. The key, as with transitioning to barefoot running, is to be patient and mindful of what your body is telling you.

There are three parts to this method (minor-major-actual running) and moving from one to the next too early will provide no benefit (same as in barefoot running) and you are really setting yourself up to fail or worse, quit.

I think people need to understand that you just don't do a hundred and then move on. You work up to 100 "perfect" strides/steps then move on. I would bet that most people would not be able to do 100 perfect minor "ups" for some time.

This seems to be a good training component and I plan to adopt it to help me continue improving my stride - ie, eliminating my heel strike.

Ben S said...

Not sure how to get the word out. The exercises also appear in the 1904 book "A Alphabet of Athletics" by Eustace Miles on page 58 with some interesting illustrations. You can see it yourself. This predates anything mention in the New York Times article. It is digitized by Google from the University of Michigan collection and is on It appears you can also buy reprints of it online elsewhere.

Ben S said...

Sorry, that title should be "An Alphabet of Athletics" by Eustace Miles.

inconnu said...

Great for proper gesture, and also keeping your center of gravity balanced. About the barefoot idea, I use asics shoes that are like second skin, so I tend to agree, but I don't think skin contact will be important.

Steph said...

I don't think hamstring vs. knee forward is really a debate. In the Pose method I think they emphasize using the hamstring to lift the supporting leg but the ankle moves on a vertical line, bringing the knee forward (but not really up). Look at this drill video for illustration of the Pose form (hamstring vs. knee forward)

Tony said...

The hamstrings should not be the drivers / engine. They serve as a physiologic braking mechanism to stabilize the knees (the ACL, for example, is what tears when the hamstrings aren't able to do their job) and to assist with hip extension. The glutes should be the dominant driver as they are the primary hip extension while the hams are synergists. "Ham" and "quad" dominant folks are most likely to suffer a slew of issues from knees and up because without gluteal activation and control of the pelvis, the back, knees and hips may become damaged. Put bluntly, the glutes are the steering and drive train of the body.

Anonymous said...

Ben, very useful to know the name of the book.

Amazing how quickly word of this is spreading.

I'm trying the 100 Up method and have also created a website with more information

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