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100 Up

April 12, 2012

While reading Twitter this morning I came across this tweet by @minimalist-running:

Read: Is your barefoot running form correct? http://t.co/6swend2V #barefoot

The article (http://www.thepeacefulrunner.com/barefoot-running-form.html#ixzz1m0cwF6UO) describes the “perfect” form for barefoot running before linking to a set of exercises designed in 1874 by a chemist called 100up.

There are two exercises:

The Minor

Place one foot on the middle of each line. Stand flat-footed, the feet lying perfectly straight on the lines. The arms should be held naturally, loosely, and, except for a slight forward inclination, nearly straight.

Now raise one knee to the height of the hip, and bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot and repeat with the other leg. Continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. The main thing to remember is correct action. See that the knees are brought up at each stride to the level of the hip if possible, or as near as possible to the point as can be managed by the too-fat or bodily infirm individual, and that the body maintains its correct perpindicular.

The Major

This exercise is more difficult of accomplishment, yet comes easily to the student who by reason of having attained correct form in the preceding preparation will have, at the same time, acquired strength and the art of properly balancing the body when in action.

Stand on the lines marked out on the ground as before, except that the body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heel clear of the ground, the head and the body being tilted very slightly forward, and the hands down by the side.

Now spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip or as near to that point as physique will permit, as in the minor exercise, letting the foot fall back to its original position. Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running, except that instead of the legs moving forward as each stride or leg action is performed, the foot drops back into its original position on the ground.

The knees must be brought to the level of the hips (for full benefit) as each stride is taken, and on returning the foot to the ground, care should be taken that it is not carried further behind than the original position. Thus the body is practically kept upright except for the very slight tilt forward.

While performing the ’100-Up’ Major Exercise use the arms as they should be used in the correct way for running, i.e. hold them at full length and swing them forward half across the body and backwards a few inches behind the back as each stride is taken.

A lot more information is available on the initial page about the 100 up technique : http://hundredup.com/learn-georges-100-up-running-exercise/

According the article form is almost more important than practise. You can see Chris McDougall sharing this exercise with some bods in New York on the following page: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/11/02/magazine/100000001149415/the-lost-secret-of-running.html

I’m going to add the minor to my routine later today and see how I go.

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