2. From Poor Push-Off to Push-Off Power
The Problem: You might think you’re pushing off, but you’re probably not getting the power and aerobic benefits you easily could. More than seventy-five percent of people step forward rather than powering off from behind them. Watching people walk will confirm this fact – an easy to correct problem.
Warning Signs: If you notice heel pain or a slow, often flat-footed walk, then you’re probably lacking Push-Off Power. This can lead to underdeveloped legs and buttocks resulting in a tight, painful low back.
Somatic Experience: The psychological feeling from Poor Push-Off can be one of not fully backing yourself up. Shifting to Push-Off Power often feels more confident and authoritative.
The Solution: To build Push-Off Power stand tall as you lean 2-5 degrees from your ankles – don’t bend from your hips, just from your ankles. As you lean you’ll naturally engage momentum to get your energy ball rolling. Roll through each foot and push-off beneath and behind you, the zone where you have the most traction.
Exercise: Kick Sand. To build traction practice this Kick Sand exercise. Place your hands on a wall, step slightly away and lean into a plank position. Imagine kicking sand with each foot, like a dog digging a hole. Notice your increased traction when your foot is immediately under and slightly behind you – not when the heel is extended in front. This is your traction zone. Do you notice any difference right to left feet?
Practice Push-Off Power and balance the effort in both legs.