This is the second of four instalments on barefoot drills that you can do in the gym or at home. As mentioned previously, the goal of the drills is to strengthen your feet for running barefoot on any terrain. My Team Over The Top members do these regularly to improve their squat-scoot safe running ability.
Without doing these, they struggle with supporting the body versus gravity, reducing the downward pounding upon foot strike and centering over the mid-section of the body.
Core bracing to support outdoor barefoot running is the second phase of my 4-phase programme, You do these barefoot in the environment of your choice. A sample circuit is as follows:
- The Airplane: Stand on 1 foot with knee slightly bent, arms spread to side (like an airplane). Brace the core (from mid-chest to mid-thigh) aggressively and HOLD the position. Rotate the upper body as one to one side (slow 5 count). You should be looking to the ceiling, holding a one-count and returning to a slow 5 count.
Repeat 5 times on each leg.
- The Quad Squat: Stand on one leg as per above. Brace the whole core, slowly lower body to a 5 count, extending the free leg straight out in front of you, keeping the hips square. You are in a low squat, hold for a 1 count and return to upright position to a slow 5 count. Repeat with free leg going out to the side and back, to the back of you and back and, finally, to the back and wrapped around your support leg. Do 2 full circuits.
- Prone Plank Alternate Knee Tucks : From the prone plank position, fully brace the core. Then, lift one leg off the floor, slowly bend at the knee whilst pulling the leg to the chest. Outwardly rotate the leg to parallel keeping the knee bent. Return to start position and repeat 10 times. Do the same with the other leg.
- Run Position Brace on Bosu Ball: Stand on the rounded side of a Bosu Ball in the proper running position. Brace your whole core whilst keeping your arms in proper forward run position. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat with other leg leading.
Do 3 repeats per leg.
All of these start from the feet being totally engaged. The better you get at doing this, the easier it will be for you to run low, compact, light and safe – barefoot or otherwise.
Next blog? Part 3: Strength Endurance to support barefoot running!