A Win Win in Walking

Have you ever decided something without really thinking it through? It made sense when I first thought about it, but as time went forward I realized that I was a bit brash with my decision. Unfortunately I know that many current “pop” fitness blogs and organizations will mock my 180 degree turn around; progression is primarily for the open minded.

I was reading the book Supple Leopard the other week when I decided that posture is a lost art in most first world countries. People sit, stand, and walk in a compromised position. Standing compromised is easier than holding your abs in and keeping good posture. We teach our children to stand up and to walk and then for the rest of their lives we never return to that fundamental point. Walking is assumed to be non specific, but it is actually extremely technical.

I’m currently working at a Strength and Conditioning program at a DII university. Just the other day I noticed that one of the athletes ran with a curved upper back; his shoulders rolled forward when they should have rolled back. To be more technical he had lordosis where he should have had kyphosis. Because he lacked proper walking mechanics, his running and cutting ability was compromised. I spent 20 minutes re-engraining proper walking mechanics, and he was able to move noticeably better. I myself have exaggerated lordosis of the lower back, so when I walk I have to focus on pressing my hips forward.

Remember how I said that I was wrong about something? I was wrong about how we should approach walking. I used to puff my chest out and say that walking is just a form of transportation, and I wasn’t alone in thinking this. Like I said before, there are handfuls of organizations that say the exact same thing about walking. Now I am convinced that before I can teach someone to run, squat, deadlift, or jump I must first teach them how to walk. When a child is learning to walk we don’t make them sprint first. Likewise, before I teach someone the complicated mechanics of squatting they should know how to walk first.

Upper body posture is extremely important. Whenever you walk or sit you should always keep 20% tension on the abs. This holds the spine in place and prevents joints from becoming overly compromised. If you sit in an office chair all day, then you’re going to have to really focus on keeping your abs solid. Your shoulders should be pulled back and your head should be forward. Watch below for the way your feet should work when you walk.

Notice how the foot strikes the ground at the heel and then transitions onto the toes. The foot rolls on the outside arch and then back onto the inside. Knee drive is also important in controlling the forward motion. Combine the foot motion and the upper body posture for a win win in walking.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.