Young Hudson (age 12) was referred into me about 1 month ago. His parents wanted me to assess his gait and determine whether I could correct any flaws. Further, Hudson wanted to be able to run and play sports without “pain” in his ankles, knees and hips.
My 1st order of business was to observe Hudson balancing with eyes closed followed up by walking and running in his ‘coffins’ (running shoes) without his barefoot science inserts. He could not hold the 1-legged position for more than 5 seconds before falling off-line. You will also notice that he was walking and running with arms in front of the mid-line, head tilted to one side and right foot flailing out. These are all indicators of flexor chain dominance, imbalance and lack of synergistic firing of the musculature from the feet up. In turn, this causes uneven contact with the ground especially when running – ultimately leading to injury and needless pain. After putting him back into his barefoot science inserts (see photo below) and walking for 300 steps, he automatically squared up the body. His posture improved, his arms lined up behind the mid-line and his right foot was no longer flailing out. He was now able to hold the eyes closed 1-legged balance position for over 60 seconds without failure. Further, his running action was smooth, squared up and light with arms driving forward.From there, I got Hudson barefoot and led him through the transition to my Squat-Scoot method of tight, light, compact and forward injury-free running. The progression included the following:
- checking his body symmetry (he showed with the right leg over 1″ longer than the left)
- unlocking his right side with the 1 knee hip release
- releasing his gluteal and hamstring muscles with the alternate leg swing with shoulders on the floor and head centered
- releasing locked up tendons, muscles and ligaments along the spine on the Health Bridges for 4 minutes. This improves posture and balance along with activating the extensor chain of muscles
- activating Hudson’s extensor chain with the SkiX Functional Chain Trainer chord system. This helps balance off the Flexor Chain and increases levels of testosterone (positive energy) naturallyI then checked Hudson’s body symmetry and, lo and behold, he was perfectly lined up. There was no leg nor back pain and he was squared up and balanced.I then put Hudson through a series of drills to lock in my Squat-Scoot technique and make sure the total body was activated and balanced. This would support injury-free running in all activities. The drills included running barefoot on the spot (taking off from where he lands for 100 reps), wearing the resistance bands on his ankles and knees and pushing out whilst walking forward and side to side (this strengthens the hip abductors and gluteals – essential to protect the IT-Bands from injury when running),balancing 1 legged on the round side of a Bosu Ball (10 seconds per leg) to improve centering over the mid-line when running (Hudson picked up on this quickly),pylon weave drills (change of direction at full speed) forward, backward and side to side with hand touch-downs to improve Hudson’s muscle and tendon activation from the ankles up to the hips. Notice how he is balanced over his feet and square to the running direction. It takes focus and quick reaction time to do these well.I then incorporated the dribbling of a mini basketball into the weave drill to improve Hudson’s ability to shift weight without twisting his ankles or knees. Being barefoot made it much easier for him to react quickly and safely.We then put everything together to see how Hudson could now run. I kept him barefoot to lock in the feel of light, powerful running with NO pain. Then, he could make an easier transition to running in his ‘coffins’ with the barefoot science inserts. His technique isalmost flawless (see photo above) – this after 55 minutes with the old coach!! Finally, Hudson being Hudson, he simply HAD to get onto one of the exercise machines and show me his prowess…and show me, he did!! His enthusiasm to learn how to be more active, stronger and faster at such a young age is enlightening. Interestingly, ALL of the youngsters that I train show the same enthusiasm after the 1st training session with me. There is a message in this – ALL kids WILL embrace physical activity for one reason…it makes them feel better PHYSICALLY and, more importantly, MENTALLY!! Good for you, Hudson!!!
I leave you with this. Set an example for your children, neighbourhood kids, young family members and the like by being physically active. Then, take the time to help them be active WITHOUT INJURY first. They will embrace the activity and carry it with them for life – with nothing but positive results!!