As a barefoot runner for many years and a barefoot running coach who teaches the Natural Method of training, I’ve never been a big proponent of equipment. My clients know that going in – no exercise machines, treadmills, rowers, ellipticals, free weights and so on. On the other hand, when it comes to supporting safe, efficient, powerful running to complement my squat-scoot technique (ideally, barefoot), I make a few exceptions.
These include using the following:
- Health Bridges (www.healthbridges.com)It consists of Levels 1 through 3 (see photos above) wooden posture devices developed by health professionals that systematically correct spinal alignment and posture. I notice more expansion of the chest, hands aligned more to the side of the body rather than hanging in front, a decrease in forward head carriage and a more flexible back with my clients after only 1 to 2 sessions. Please view following video:
- Functional Chain Trainer (google this) or ‘Ski-X’
It consists of bands that are velcro-strapped to the ankles and band-held in the hands. There are 4 bands of progressively stiffer tension. By using the unit twice daily for not more than 3 minutes per session, my clients noticed an immediate rush of positive energy (this turns out to be an increase in the body’s testosterone), a total activation of their posterior chain muscles, improved balance and symmetry of the body and an opening up of the chest and corresponding drop of the shoulders into a more relaxed position. I again have all of my clients do this barefoot (as opposed to the photo above) to better activate the feet, calves and buttocks.
- Sacro Wedgy (google search this)
As per the diagram above, the Scro Wedgy is a custom-fitted hard foam device that fits directly under your sacrum at the iliac crest. As such, it gradually releases any tension on the Sciatic nerve (that can contribute to IT-Band syndrome) and the Piriformis muscle (which can lead to all sorts of pain when sitting, walking up and down stairs and running. By using the device for about 15 minutes daily, you will notice an immediate improvement in lower body alignment, a more squared-up pelvic girdle any alleviation of any low back nerve or muscle pain. Again, I use the device to help my runners advance more safely into the barefoot and/or minimalist squat-scoot running world.
By incorporating even one of the above into your daily routine, the positive results will make your running safer, more efficient and, ultimately, more powerful!
Happy New Year to one and all!!