5 Continuous Jumps, Plantar Flexion and Hip Extension

When effort is needed, effort will appear, when effortlessness becomes essential it will assert itself.  You need not push life about, just flow with it and give yourself completely to the task and the present moment. Nisargadatta Maharaj

In the Thursday morning running efficiency class, it was just Nick Mitchell and I, and as we have worked closely together for a long time, we were able to go to new depths in our exploration.  It is always fascinating when you move free of expectation and judgement, so that you can notice what is happening with a naked awareness.

We took a long time to warm up and build intensity, supersetting jogging, skipping, karioka step, heel flicks, high knees, exaggerated skipping forwards and backwards with IAP squat and dog pose.  By the time we got to 60 metre sprints, with a build in intensity, we both felt that there was nothing missing.  It is a great gift to run with someone who is working on running with attention.  The smallest changes in cadence and efficiency are noticed and responded too, but there is no straining.  Effortlessness cannot be attained through any application of effort, only through allowing and noticing.  Coming to this possibility through the body is for me the most enjoyable of all pathways.

Now to the reason for this blog.  When we were doing continuous jumps, I noticed that when I focused on plantar flexion of the foot evenly through the first and fifth metatarsal, there was an increase in hip extension, and I was jumping further and higher, with the same application of force.  Mitch experimented with the same action for similar results.  I have since been using this possibility when walking, this is particularly good if you are aware of your lock-down strategy.  Because my tendency is to laterally lean left, in order to change the strategy, I concurrently lift through the left side as I focus on plantar flexion/hip extension through right gait cycle.  It seems that decreased plantar flexion has to be compensated for in the reptilian frontal plane muscles.  The other exercise combination I am using to reinforce the change is rectus femoris lunge against the wall on my left side with prone glute and pretzel on the right.

We need to reinforce stability in sagittal plane movement and appropriately load frontal plane and oblique movement, with the ultimate being integration of our understanding embodied in transverse plane motion happening effortlessly in gait.

I would like to wish everyone I have worked with in 2010, a happy and prosperous New Year and an amazing 2011.

Mark

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