A spiral is A Beautiful Thing 🙂 And in walking and running – it is a very powerful and effective thing.
I’ve been on crutches due to a foot surgery, and this took me through the experience of “learning to walk” again. Which, for a movement geek like me, has been Oh So Interesting. So I am sharing some cool insights from that.
We humans are upright creatures. So we learn to move around our central column – our spine. There is a typical sequence to HOW we learn to do that.
Generally – we start with what is called “homologous” movement. That’s when both arms move together, and both legs move together. On crutches, that’s what I call “the Lurching Along” phase – two crutches, then hop with both legs. (As a baby, it’s the “worming along” phase – pull with both arms then both legs – or with both arms and legs together).
Then comes the “homolateral” movement: using the arm and leg on the same side at the same time. This is a key developmental step because it allows a weight shift from side to side. So, you can put your weight on one side – and unweight the other side so that you can move that leg. Cool! With crutches, this looks like the “pendulum from side to side” hobble – where one crutch moves together with that same side leg, in the same direction as the leg. Right arm and leg go forward together, then left arm and leg. And I kind of look like a pendulum, swinging side to side, as I move along.
While this WORKS, it uses a lots of extra energy because I am moving side to side a lot, while also moving forward.
The third progression is “contralateral” movement. This is where the opposite arm and leg move forward at the same time. This is when the SPIRAL through the body starts to happen at its best. Think of cross-country skiing, or sprinters – they use this movement very clearly. And a key thing of this kind of movement is: your head can stay in the middle. This frees up your head, and makes it easier to focus and track things in the world.
And, when the torso also participates in this spiral (rather than being like a stiff box) – you add in the power of the big torso muscles – and that makes it even better/ stronger/ easier!
This video is about all of this, and I demo what I am talking about.
Many of us are not as efficient as we could be, in our walking and running. Our muscles get tight, and hurt – and that may be a sign that you may be moving in one of the less-efficient ways of moving around your centre line.
So, I invite you to explore for yourself:
- Do you tend to move some, or all, of you side to side when you walk or run?
- Could your torso move WITH your arms and legs (instead of being still like a box in the middle), to spiral and create both more power and length in your stride?
- Could ALL of you move in the direction you want to go, and when you do that, does it feel like it takes less effort to move??
If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch! I love hearing from you. 🙂
Happy exploring –