One of the best ways that I have found to build power endurance in the feet of my running clients (which helps them resist gravity and, thus, virtually eliminate injury) is by doing a ‘feet power circuit’ 2 to 3 times per week – barefoot on any available surface.
One such circuit that I have developed is as follows:
* 1-leg step hops – forward up and down, backward up and down, sideways up and down. 15 reps per exercise. Start with 1 step, then progress to 2 and, finally 3 steps at a time
* 1-leg squat jumps on the spot – from 1 leg, jump as high as you can and bring the knee of the jumping leg to the chest. Land on the same leg. Repeat 15 times; then, switch legs
* 1-leg 5 point burpee jumps – balancing on 1 leg, jump straight up, land on the take-off leg, drop immediately into a tuck, shoot the legs back but land on the take-off foot only in a push-up position. Jump to 1 side, then back to the other side, then back to the middle & explode off the ground straight into the air. Land on the take-off leg. Do 15 reps on each leg
* Sumo Squat hops – on the spot, forward, backward, side-to-side. Do each exercise for 15 seconds
Keys re: the above:
1. do the reps at a rapid pace
2. land quietly (to the point where you cannot hear your feet make contact with the surface)
3. take a 15 second rest between efforts
4. do 1 circuit only
5. consciously BRACE your whole core on each repetition
Whether you’re a pure barefoot runner or a wearer of so-called ‘minimalist’ (Vibram FFs, Tarahumara sandals, Vivo Barefoot etc.) shoes or ‘coffins’ (stiff, heavy, thick-heeled running shoes), you will notice a major improvement in your ability to run quieter and lighter with no running-related injuries.