Typical Does Not Mean Normal

I had a conversation with my girlfriend a few months ago on the topic of Pose running. Naturally (and wisely) skeptical of the relatively recent fitness trend of barefoot-style running, she asked how heel striking could be wrong if that’s what everybody does.

This is where we need to separate what is ‘typical’ from what is ‘normal’. Typical is what everybody does, but normal is what they are meant to do. In the case of running, heel striking may be the norm, but this is a broken running pattern caused by a horrible cocktail of fancy shoes, stiff bodies, ruined motor patterns, and imitation of the heel strike technique. As advocates of barefoot running will often say, try taking off your fancy shoes and heel striking across rocky ground; it’s not fun. The foot, ankle, and the rest of that kinetic chain are meant to soak up the impact of running (when used correctly).

Carl Paoli often says “just because something is harder doesn’t mean it’s not better.” In many cases, the better movement technique may only be harder because the system that supports it (your muscles and motor programming) is way underdeveloped. With a little practice, the better technical choice might become far easier than the old one was in the first place (and it will definitely be easier on your body in the long term).

Poor movement is, unfortunately, the norm in our fitness culture. The strength and conditioning world is waking up to this epidemic more and more all the time, but the general exerciser is often still indoctrinated into a culture of amateurish bodybuilding with a form-first training approach. Don’t accept this broken paradigm. You can do better. It’s up to all of you to make ‘normal’ movement typical.

Move like you mean it.

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The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog

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