Weight transfer exercise

Try this exercise

Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing straight forward. Unlock your knees and bend them very slightly. Unlock your hips, and allow a slight fold between the pelvis and the thighs. Remember, the pelvis goes with the back, not with the legs. Ascertain that your upper back is really forward of your sacrum, and not behind it. A glance in a mirror, or better yet, an observer, can inform you about this. Notice where your weight is on your feet. Try centering your weight slightly behind the balls of your feet. If your weight is centered at this point, your toes and metatarsals should spread out. If your weight is too far forward, your toes will clench, and your foot will narrow. If your weight is too far back, your toes will lift, and your foot will narrow. When your weight is well placed, you may feel the action of the interosseous reflex of the positive supportive response come into play. Your quadriceps and buttocks will drop a bit.

Once a nice adaptable standing condition is established, we will try to initiate walking without adding effort, and without positioning.

From this condition of free standing, neck, hips, knees, ankles free and adaptable, allow the head to release more forwards, which should take the body into a forwards inclination. Weight will move forwards onto the ball of the foot, and the calves will work a little more.

Be careful not to press the hips forwards and lock the hip joints. The possibility of hinging at the hip joints must still be very present.

Remember that the whole body is lengthening in response to gravity, and moving the body’s weight forwards is not a fall, but an extension in two dimensions – both up and forwards. If you continue allowing these directions, and you let the body incline forwards onto the toes, the legs will go more forcibly into extension, and the hips, knees and ankle joint will extend to get you moving forwards.

This can and should be done with no lateral movement to transfer the weight to one foot or the other. Rather, one leg will take the body’s full weight because the body extends from that foot – the weight transfer occurs through extension, and not through flexion or contraction towards the supporting hip.

Now the opposite leg is not bearing weight, and can simply fall forwards as the body extends. There will be no fall onto the leg, rather, the recovering leg will find the ground during the extension of the body forwards and up, and the foot will land before the body drops. The foot will find the ground slightly before the weight of the body moves over it. In this way, the muscles of the leg are prepared for the surface on which the body will stand, and there is no need for shock absorption.

Note: My current favorite running shoes are the Merrell Trail Glove, the best running shoe I have ever had. They are light (about 6 ounces), have no heel-drop, no insole, have a wide toe-box and a snug heel, and they have a very tough Vibram outsole. Running barefoot is a nice notion, but, like running naked, in practice it may often be better to protect your particulars.

Montreal Center for the Alexander Technique

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