Podcast 46: Georges St. Pierre, Regenokine & Compensation Patterns,

Podcast 46 is live !
Topics: Diffuse Axonal Shear in the nervous system, the new procedure Regenokine, the neurologic status of UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre, PCP thearpy, the new generation of slow running children, posture, compensation patterns, pre-race Tylenol effects/dangers, tibialis posterior tendonitis, shoe selection and so much more !  If you have not listened to one of our podcasts, this one will surely give you a good taste of what you are missing !

A. Link to our server:


B. iTunes link:


C. Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification and more !) :


D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”


* Today’s show notes:

Neuroscience Pieces:

1.  Future of computing 
2. We have been talking about body part replacements like bionics etc……but this could be the stone in the road to this progress


5. Gait Factoid, posture matters
This week you did another post on running faster and about  ”lifting the head to engage extensors”……  here was an article in the news on posture
– can you give the listeners a neat neuro tidbit on posture and the brain ?
6. Ivo: What is your take on leaving obvious problems and compensations alone or fixing them ?      
7 . National Shoe Fit Program
8 . Tylenol Boosts Performance in Hot Conditions
 9. from a blog reader:
Hello Gait Guys,
What would you look to do with a 20 year-old competitive 5k runner (me) with chronic posterior tibialis problems?
– a short background: surgery two years ago on left talo-navicular joint osteochondral defect, since then mileage has been extremely limited (now it begins to fatigue painfully on 30 minute runs). 
Both sides affected, or sometimes one or the other. Arch of right foot got so painful last summer I was on crutches and could not walk/stand without supportive shoes. Currently the left side is most troubling and I can see no pattern!
Many thanks for the fantastic blog
10. Facebook reader:
  • I thought I’d go the experts on this one. I just took a myofacsical release class and the instructor said the most efficient running gait is by using your psoas. So, forward lean until you are about to fall forward and then contract psoas to lift the leg just enough to catch up with the body. He said this is how all the Kenyans run… makes sense kind of.. but???

11. Disclaimer:

Want more stability when trail running? Try this…

While running the other morning through about 6-8” of fresh snow (yes, it is snowing here already at 9000 feet), something occurred to me as I almost fell several times due to the undulating surface beneath my feet and the terrain to match under that.

“I need to do something to improve my proprioception, or I am going to fall (again)” I thought (yes, we both think about this stuff while running or exercising! No, I was not listening to music on this run, though cranking up some AC/DC was tempting..). If I were to increase my surface area on the snow, and make myself less top heavy, I would be more stable. How could I accomplish that?

Here is what I did, and it worked great!

First, I spread my toes. No, I wasn’t barefoot, but in my Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s; why not maximize the real estate available to my feet in these roomy shoes?

Next, I widened my stance (or base of gait). My massive 145# spread over a larger surface area would be more stable and provide stability from my weight distributed over a larger surface area.

Third, I raised my arms out from my sides (no I didn’t try to fly) to provide more input from my upper extremities to my proprioceptive system (more input from peripheral joint and muscle mechanoreceptors = more input to cerebellum = better balance)

Lastly, I slowed down from my blistering 10 min mile pace. Though this did not improve my surface area, it did give my aging nervous system more time to react.

It occurred to me that these actions were all “primitive” reactions of the nervous system when learning to walk. We did a post on that when my youngest son was learning to walk a few years ago.

Want to have better balance?

  • Spread your toes
  • Widen your stance
  • Raise your arms
  • Slow down

Notice I didn’t say this would make you faster. Who is more likely to fall on a corner when being chased by a predator; the tortoise or the hare?


A little practical neurology for you this morning brought to you by the geeks of gait. Ivo and Shawn.


Allen’s Rule: Is this why the Kenyan’s are better marathoners ?

Allen’s Rule
So you want to be the next great distance runner do you? There are some genetic components that might (or might not) come into play, things you obviously do not have control over.
Proposed by Joel Allen in 1877, Allen’s rule has in many respects been proven to have little scientific support.  None the less, knowing and  understanding the Rule has some value, especially if you are researcher J.S. Alho of the Ecological Research Unit of the Univ. Helskini, Finland where recent renewed interest in the rule has arisen due to global warming and the microevolutionary changes it predicts. 
Allen’s rule states that endotherms from colder climates tend to have shorter limbs than those in warmer climates. The theory is based on the surface area of an organism.  The larger the surface area the easier it is to dissipate heat, but also the easier it is too cool.  Depending on the location the organism finds themselves, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage.
There is a theory (ecographical rules if you will) by Allen’s rule, that suggests that growth plasticity of the limbs and other body parts exists and which is correlated with the temperature conditions of the developing mammal, particularly during the periods of rapid skeletal development. Allen’s rule suggests that relative extremity length decreases with increasing latitude.  Thus, according to Allen’s rule, those living on either side of the first degree of latitude from the equator (suggesting the hottest 138 mile or 222km swath on earth) should have the longest limbs (keep in mind this is likely a carried-forward genetic trait). This plasticity of the human skeleton allows mammals to adjust to the exposed temperature conditions during early development. This suggests possible advantages to climate rearing for would be world-class athletes depending on the chosen sport. For example, Allen’s rule proposes that individuals reared in hot climates will develop longer thinner limbs which have more surface area whereby they can irradiate body mass heat into the environment thus creating a net cooling effect of the body enabling physical exertion to occur longer and at a higher rate (appendage length correlates with temperature and latitude from which the mammal was raised).  This is one of the theories proposed as to why Kenyan runners outperform so many other professional distance runners, long thin limbs seem to act as cooling vents.  It is also one of those theories that seems to hold little water, but it is good to know none the less. Sometimes theories that are proven to be false come back to have some truth down the road. And maybe Alho will discover just this is the case in time.
Shawn and Ivo…….. The Gait Guys….pulling out random facts, some useful, others not so useful (and some proven debunked) to expand your gait knowledge. The more you know, ……… the better you are a cocktail parties.  Tis the season !

1. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2013 Oct;296(10):1534-45. doi: 10.1002/ar.22763. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Allen’s rule revisited: temperature influences bone elongation during a critical period of postnatal development.

Serrat MA.

2. J Evol Biol. 2011 Jan;24(1):59-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02141.x. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Allen’s rule revisited: quantitative genetics of extremity length in the common frog along a latitudinal gradient.

Alho JSHerczeg GLaugen ATRäsänen KLaurila AMerilä J.

Podcast 45: Spock, Ankle Syndesmosis injuries and Subways.

4.Scanadu scores $10.5M and paves the way for FDA trials

5 . National Shoe Fit Program
Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2010 Oct;18(10):1379-84. doi: 10.1007/s00167-009-1010-y. Epub 2009 Dec 18.

Rotational laxity greater in patients with contralateral anterior cruciate ligament injury than healthy volunteers. Branch TP, 

 7.from a blog reader:
schwad01 asked you:
Guys. I am a Parkinson’s patient … 
8. FAcebook reader:
9. In the News:

Russian Subways Now Accept Squats for Payment

10.In the research:

Heads up!

Remember that song “Hold Your Head Up” by the British  band “Argent” in 1972? Ok, maybe not, but the principle is very important to runners and sprinters, so lets talk about it a bit. 

We are wired to maintain our visual axes parallel to the horizon. This involves a series of joint and muscle mechanoreceptors in the neck (for a review of joint mechanoreceptors, click here, muscle mechanoreceptors, click here). These muscle and joint mecanoreceptors receptors, through connections in the midbrain (or mesencephalon as we neuro geeks like to call it) and pons, interact with the vestibular system to keep our head (and our bodies) upright, by firing our extensor muscles.

Berta Bobath, physiotherapist, wrote a great book in 1965 entitled “Abnormal Postural Reflex Activity Caused By Brain Lesions”. In it she describes, among many things, reflexes involving the cervical spine and correlating them to motor function. One of these is the cervical extensor reflex.

To explain this reflex, think of a dog sitting to get a treat. As he looks up while sitting down he has to extend his head, extend his front legs and fires all the axial extensor muscles associated with performing this action. The opposite would also happen, but with the flexors, if he were to bend forward to take a drink; fire front flexors and rear extensors to bend down. There are many more reflexes (tonic neck, cervcio ocular, etc) that could be the subject of another post.

As we have learned from the principle of facilitation (see recent post here), when we fire pur extensors, we fire into the extensor pool, and as a result, ALL extensors get to benefit. The advantage of the receptors in the cervial spine is that the upper four fire DIRECTLY into the flocculo nodular lobe of the cerebellum, and thus have a PROFOUND EFFECT on extensor tone in general.

So, if you want to go faster, why not hold your head up and FIRE YOUR EXTENSORS MORE? Hmmm….Where have you heard this before?

Another magic bullet, courtesy of your built in neurology, we are sharing with you so you and your clients, patients and friends can be better at what they do

The Gait Guys. Stretching your neurology on a daily basis.

 Master of your own physiology

You don’t need perfect mechanics to win. Look at these fine gents and take note.

On the left we have Kenensia “Canny” Bekele, world and Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m world record holder, who sat back as Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie set the pace for most of the race, and then sprinted at the end and won by 1 second. Note the crossover and lack of space between his thighs. Note also the internal tibial torsion of the left tibia and slight head tilt to the right.

In the middle is Mo Farah, the current 10,000 meter Olympic and World champion and 5000 meter Olympic, World and European champion. look at the pelvic dip on the right..and the valgus angle of the left knee…and external tibail torsion of the left tibia…and the differing arm swing (right side abducted).

Finally, on the right,  we have Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian like Bekele, who won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 meters and four Wld Championship titles in the event. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon.  At 40, he is the eldest of the group, with his right lower extremity external tibial torsion and subtle dip of the left pelvis on right sided weight bearing.

So What? All these great athletes have mastered their own physiology and overcome any biomechanical faults they may appear to have. Could they be faster? Maybe. We think so.

Your body will find a way to compensate. That does not mean you will be slower. It means, like each of these men, that you will probably be injured at some point.

In the words of Big Z from Surf’s Up “Winners find a way”. You can too and so can your clients and athletes. Skill, endurance and strength. The big 3. Make sure you an the folks you care for have them.

We are The Gait Guys. Teaching you more with each post we write and helping you sort through the sea of information out there.

The One Cheek Sneak and Your Gait.

Yup. You know what we are talking about.  Out gassing. Passing gas. Trouser coughing. Flatulating (is that a word?) Tooting. Farting.. Call it what you like. Exemplified by Shinta Cho’s classic “The Gas We Pass”. The question is, why is it relevant to gait?

If you have followed us for any length of time, you know how important we think the glutes are.  We have many posts and blog articles on their importance and exercises to strengthen them.  The problem is, when most people do them, they THINK they are contracting their glutes (and some are) BUT they are ALSO contracting their (external anal) sphincter (for you neuro nerds,  the internal sphincter is not under voluntary control). This results in gas retention, which may cause a stomach ache, or in rare instances, distention of the bowel. Chances are, when  you relax, it will come out then (yes, you fart in your sleep, as your bedfellow for an honest answer !).

Try this. Sit down and and contract your glutes and your external sphincter. Now try and contract your external sphincter, ONLY. Contracting the external sphincter also engages the pelvic floor. Not necessarily something you need to do (unless you are treating an incontinence issue but then again that more recently under hot debate, here read our blog post here for some truths and myths on this topic) when running. OK, now just the glutes. You can palpate them (glutes only please) to make sure they are contracting. You are now experiencing isolation of the individual muscles. You should be able to access them individually, as well as together. For an added challenge in your powers of isolation, you can then try this exercise after consuming beans (as you flog your gut with their poisonous lectins) , to test your true abilities.

There are other related issues here to consider, one is the Kegal exercise. As we mentioned in another blog post (link here):

“A Kegel attempts to strengthen the pelvic floor, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward promoting even more weakness, and more PF (pelvic floor) gripping. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to pelvic floor disorder (PFD). Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most [we would chose to say a nicely speculative] telling sign that the pelvic floor is beginning to weaken. An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = PFD.”-Nicole Crawford (1)

Many exercises are designed to help train your nervous system and create a new motor pattern, in addition to strengthening and or creating endurance in the targeted muscles.  Your external sphincter probably has plenty of strength and endurance.

The Gait Guys.  Bringing you the relevance in the seemingly irrelevant. All Gait; All the time…

 1. Here is Crawford’s article link.


All material copyright 2013 The Gait Guys/ The Homunculus Group. All rights reserved. We have Lee and know how to use him