As my youth runners in Team Over The Top progress to the 8th week of training, I have them do a Sumo Squat Advanced circuit on hills. This is only after they have built up hip, core and knee stability by doing Sumo Squat circuits 1 and 2 (see previous blogs). For those looking to better lock in the total body support for safe, efficient barefoot running, these are essential drills. Done once per week, they will take your overall running performance to a new level of excellence.
We use a hill of 250 to 350 metres long with an 8% grade generally. The circuit only requires about 7 to 10 minutes within a total hill training session of 60 minutes. It’s done toward the end of the session – degree of difficulty is such that you have literally nothing left in the energy tank! One such advanced #Sumo Squat circuit is as follows:
- forward hopping uphill for 30 seconds – backward running downhill to starting point
- forward angled hopping uphill to left and right for 30 seconds – backward running as above
- forward weave hopping uphill for 30 seconds – backward running as above
- side to side hopping uphill for 15 seconds leading with right side and 15 seconds leading with left side – backward running as above
Remember that these are done barefoot landing with quiet feet and perfect Sumo Squat technique. We build up to 3 circuits within 4 weeks. The backward downhill running helps to protect the knees and hips from excessive strain whilst forcing you to fire more from the calves, hamstrings and buttocks muscles. These might possibly be the most challenging drills you will ever do in preparing to run barefoot. Believe me when I say “they’ll also be the BEST…!”.