Friday, November 4, 2011

The 100-up exercise for runners

I read with great interest a recent article in the New York Times titled, "The Once and Future Way to Run," by Christopher McDougall.

McDougall, who has a great reputation in the running community as an advocate for barefoot running, introduces us to a drill that long distance runners can use to improve their speed and running technique. It is called 100-up.

McDougall explains that the 100-up exercise, which was invented by W.G. George over a century ago, is actually two different movements.

In the “Minor,” the athlete stands with both feet on the ground about eight inches apart, and arms in the running position. The exercise is raising one knee to the height of the hip, then bringing the foot back its original position, touching the ground with the ball of the foot, then repeating the motion with the other leg.

The "Major" is basically the "Minor," but sped up to ensure that there is a constant shifting of weight, just as there is in actual running.

For those who have trouble visualizing this, the 100-up video is here:

In practicing these movements, I found that I did get fatigued in certain muscles.

Should runners get on the bandwagon and center their running around every new technique and running 'fad?' No.

Should runners take a look at every running practice and see if they can take away something to improve their running? Yes.

For me, it is a good workout that can be done inside and out of the gym or track, and I am always looking to improve my running form. I do find that running seems less fatiguing to me when I bend forward from the ankles. This technique uses that practice, and also offers a good exercise to strengthen muscles used in running.

Do you land on your heels when you run? Have you tried the 100-up technique?

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