Look at that forward lean and glute development !
There now, maybe we tricked you into finally reading one of our bigfoot / Gigantopithecus blog posts. These blog posts were highly informative yet sadly under viewed compared to our regular posts. We suspect only the true gait geeks found those worth of their time but maybe they were misleadingly superficial to the quick browsing viewer. And that is ok, to each his/her own. But if you want to learn about your own species and problems we have as humans it is always helpful to look at our distant species “relatives” to see where we came from.
In this video you will see this Silver Back walking on 2 limbs, this is quite a rare event to see. In this clip you can see a gorgeous forward lean and the subsequent midfoot strike that occurs when the foot fall occurs with the body mass directly over the foot. If you look closely you will also see that this gorilla is carrying a log in his left hand, which is one of the theories postulated as to why we evolved to bipedal ambulation, to carry objects over a distance. You should note the increased arm swing in the contralateral hand which is always seen when one arm swing is impaired from carrying things or from injury. This same pendulum alteration occurs in the lower limb when there is an injury and thus a weight bearing alteration, such as ambulating on a sprained ankle. If you still do not believe us, strap a 5 pound ankle weight to one ankle and note the immediate change in step and stride in both limbs. In subtle injuries or merely in the presence of pain, the gait cycle is altered a subtle level, and this is where gait compensations often begin.
in the normal walking gait cycle, rear foot strike is normal. But we at The Gait Guys tend to have our clients focus more on heel “contact” as opposed to a true “strike”. The difference is one of how aggressively the foot’s heel interacts with the ground at initial contact. We all have a family member or neighbor that can be heard upstairs sounding like they are pounding nails into the floor when it is really just their normal heel strike. The best way to help someone to reduce this pounding habit is to increase their forward torso lean and to educate them on heel contact on impact. The lean must come from the ankles, not from the waist. It is like walking into a heavy wind, you must lean your whole body (we use a queue of “raise your chest a little and lead from the chest” and this often helps stop a collapse into the core and flexion from the waist). And when one does this, the foot cannot progress so far out in front of the body and generate that aggressive heel strike. One is close to midfoot strike at this point when the correction is made properly. This is similar to Pose running technique but it is just simply good form running technique to hit a nice soft midfoot impact each time.
We talked more about heel strike in Gigantopithecus last week in this blog post. And, we also mentioned the perpetual knee flexion to dampen the head oscillations.
Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys, and aspiring primatologists apparently.