Back and Better than ever….

More on the Core. Excerpted from some previously unreleased material which will be available for download soon…

Can Running, Can Movement, Make us better Humans ?

This will be the last blog post you read from us …  for 2012. It is a rehash of our Dec 31st, 2011 blog post but we felt it was worthy of a year-end repeat.  It seemed to bring together many good points and thoughts. We hope you agree.

It has been an amazing year for both of us here at The Gait Guys. Through this year, we have bridged many chasms. We restarted our podcasts, put out the National Shoe Fit Certification Program, blogged most days of the week, added many new videos and made many new friends while learning much on our own end in our relentless research and readings. We appreciate every one of you who has followed us, and we thank you for your friendship.

Today, we would like you all to watch this video and then more importantly read what we have paraphrased below. As we find ourselves here at the end of another year, it is normal to look back and see our path to growth but to look forward to plan for ways to further develop our growth.  Many of you who read our blog are runners, but many of you are also extensions of running. What we mean by that is many of you are coaches or trainers who develop those who run in one way or another in various sports, but many of you are also in the medical field helping those to run and move to get out of pain or improve performance.  And still yet we have discovered that some of you are in the fields of bodywork such as yoga, pilates, dance and movement therapies.  It is perhaps these fields that we at The Gait Guys are least experienced at (but are learning) and like many others we find ourselves drawn to that which we are unaware and wish to know more in the hope that it will expand and improve that which we do regularly.  For many of you that is also likely the case.  For example, since a number of you are runners we would bet to say that you have taken up yoga or pilates or cross training to improve your running and to reduce or manage injuries or limitations in your body. But why stop there ? So, here today, we will try to slowly bring you full circle into other fields of advanced movement. As you can see in this modern dance video above the grace, skill, endurance, strength, flexibility and awareness are amazing and beautiful.  Wouldn’t you like to see them in a sporting event ? Wouldn’t you like to see them run ? Aren’t you at least curious ? Their movements are so effortless. Are yours in your chosen sport ? How would they be at soccer? How would they be at gymnastics ? Martial arts ? Do you know that some of the greatest martial artists were first dancers ? Did you know that Bruce Lee was the Cha Cha Dance Champion of Hong Kong ? He is only one of many. Dance, martial arts, gymnastics …  all some of the most complex body movements that exist. And none of them simple, taking years to master, but most of which none of us can do. In 2012 we will continue to expand your horizons of these advanced movement practices as our horizons expand. From 3 years of personal study, we already have been experimenting with some of the advanced foot and body movements of dance, incorporating many aspects into our treatment and exercise regimens for our patients, runners and multi-sport athletes. Using things like the latin dance (primarily rumba and salsa) movements to strengthen the hips, core and feet and borrowing from the Cha Cha to improve foot side and cross over step speed and accuracy in some of our NCAA basketball and European soccer players. Even using some of the smooth footwork in the waltz and foxtrot to increase awareness of rear, mid and forefoot strike patterns and the development of rigid and mobile foot positions in our speed athletes.  Why not use this knowledge?  Many of our athletes do not even know their exercises homework are from basic dance principles, until we tell them at the end of a session.  There is a reason why some of the best athletes in the NBA, NFL and other sports have turned to almost secret study of dance and martial arts because there is huge value in it.  Look at any gymnast, martial artist or dancer. Look at their body, their posture, their grace.  It is as if their bodies know something that ours do not.  And so, The Gait Guys will dive even deeper into these professions to learn principles and bring them back to you. After all, everything we do is about movement. Movement is after all what keeps the brain alive. 

Below are excerpts from a great article from Kimerer Lamothe, PhD. She wrote a wonderful article in Psychology Today (link is at the top) on her experience with McDougall’s book “Born to Run” and how she translated it into something more.  Below you will find some exerpts from her work. But at some point, take the time to read the whole article.  But do not cut yourself short now, you only have a little more reading below, take the next 2 minutes, it might change your life, or at least your next run.

We will leave you hear now for 2012 with our gratitude for this great growing brethren and community that is unfolding at The Gait Guys. We have great plans for 2013 so stay with us, grow with us, and continue to learn and improve your own body and those that you work with.  Again, read Kimerer’s excerpts below, for now, and watch the amazing body demonstrations in the video above. It will be worth it.


Can Running Make us Better Humans ?….. excerpts from the artcle by Kimerer LaMothe.

The Tarahumara are not only Running People, they are also Dancing People. Like other people who practice endurance running, such as the Kalahari Kung, dancing occupies a central place in Tarahumara culture. Or at least, it has. The Tarahumara dance to pray, to celebrate life passages, to mark seasonal and religious events. They dance outside where Father God and Mother Moon can see, in patterns consisting of steps and shuffles, taps and hops, performed in a line or a circle with others. And they dance the night before a long running race, while the native corn beer, or tesguino flows.

While McDougall notes the irony of “partying” the night before a race, he doesn’t ask the question: might the dancing actually serve the running? Might it be that the Tarahumara dance in order to run—to ensure the success of their run—for themselves and for the community?

At the very least, the fact that the Tarahumara dance when and how they do is evidence that they live in a world where bodily movement matters. They believe that how they move their bodies matters to who they are and to how life happens. They have survived as a people by adapting their traditional method of endurance hunting (running animals to exhaustion) to the challenges of fleeing Spanish invaders, accessing inaccessible wilderness, and staying in touch with one another while scattered throughout its canyons. As McDougall notes, they have kept alive an ancient genetic human heritage: to love running is to love life, for running enables life.

Yet McDougall is also clear: even the Tarahumara are not born knowing how to run. Like all humans, they must learn. Even though human bodies are designed to flourish when subject to the stresses of long distance loping, we still need to learn how to coordinate our limbs to allow that growth to happen. We must learn to run with head up, carriage straight, and toes reaching for the ground. We must land softly and roll inwardly, before snapping our heels behind us. We must learn to glide—easy, light, smooth—uphill and down, breathing through it all. How do we learn?

How do we learn to run? We learn by paying attention to other people, and taking note of the movements they are making. We learn by cultivating a sensory awareness of our own movements, noting the pain and pleasure they produce, and finding ways to adjust. We learn by creating and becoming patterns of movement that release our energy boldly and efficiently across space. We learn, in a word, by dancing.

While dancing, people open up their sensory selves and play with movement possibilities. The rhythm marks a time and space of exploration. Moving with another heightens the energy available for it. Learning and repeating sequences of steps exercises a human’s most fundamental creativity, operating at a sensory level, that enables us to learn to make any movement in any realm of endeavor with precision and grace. Even the movements of love. Dancing, people affirm for themselves and with each other that movement matters.

In this sense, dancing before the night of a running race makes perfect sense. Moving in time with one another, stepping and stretching in proximity to one another, the Tarahumara would affirm what is true for them: they learn from one another how to run.  They learn to run for one another. They run with one another. And when they race, they give each other the chance to learn how to be the best that they each can be, for the good of all.

It may be that the dancing is what gives the running its meaning, and makes it matter.

Yet the link with dance suggests another response as well. In order for running to emerge in human practice as something we are born to do, we need a culture that values movement—that is, we need a general appreciation that and how the bodily movements we make matter. It is an appreciation that our modern western culture lacks. 

Those of us raised in the modern west grow up in human-built worlds. We wake up in static boxes, packed with still, stale air, largely impervious to wind and rain and light. We pride ourselves at being able to sit while others move food, fuel, clothing, and other goods for us. We train ourselves not to move, not to notice movement, and not to want to move. We are so good at recreating the movement patterns we perceive that we grow as stationary as the walls around us (or take drugs to help us).

Yet we are desperate for movement, and seek to calm our agitated senses by turning on the TV, checking email, or twisting the radio dial to get movement in a frame, on demand. It isn’t enough. Without the sensory stimulation provided by the experiences of moving with other people in the infinite motility of the natural world, we lose touch with the movement of our own bodily selves. We forget that we are born to dance and run and run and dance.

The movements that we make make us. We feel the results. Riddled with injury and illness, paralyzed by fears, and dizzy with exhaustion, our bodily selves call us to remember that where, how, and with whom we move matters. We need to remember that how we move our bodies matters to the thoughts we think, the feelings we feel, the futures we can imagine, and the relationships we can create with ourselves, one another, and the earth.

Without this consciousness, we won’t be able to appreciate what the Tarahumara know: that the dancing and the running go hand in hand as mutually enabling expressions of a worldview in which movement matters.

Thanks for a great article Kimerer. (entire article here)

Wishing a Happy New Year to you all, from our hearts……. Shawn and Ivo

The Gait Guys

Classic Shawn and Ivo. From our archives “Training Theories and Dialogues”. Soon available for download on our Payloadz Store page.

Enjoy some classic and timeless talk on the anatomy and physiology of the core!

all material copyright 2009. The Homunculus Group/ The Gait Guys. All rights reserved. Please ask to use our stuff!

Hiya Gait Guys! I have cross over gait…watched your vids on adopting new style of running (imaginary lines etc) and want to introduce the new way of running i.e. not running on a tightrope!! How quickly can I introduce this new method? I currently run 20 miles per week, generally 3-6 mile runs. I am doing some hip and glute medius strengthening at the same time. Do I introduce it a few miles at a time as I realise it will be working new muscles and how cautious should I be? Thanks

hi !

We will answer this in podcast 19

should launch this week !

thanks for your great question

The Gait Guys

The Foot Tripod; Part 2

Here we go. More stuff you can use today. Pay attention to the subtleties of this simple, yet effective exercise we use on a daily basis.

Have a great Friday

Ivo and Shawn

The Almighty Foot Tripod

You have heard us talk time and time again about the importance of the foot tripod. To review, it consists of the center of the calcaneus, the base of the 1st metatarsal and the base of the 5th metatarsal.  To see some of our other posts on the foot tripod, including other exercises, click here

Join Dr Ivo in this brief and informative video demonstrating an exercise that most people with an inadequate foot tripod will benefit from.

Remember Skill, Endurance and Strength. There are many nuances to this simple exercise, don’t take it lightly!

The Gait Guys: Hammering it out, daily, to give you the goods!

Podcast #11: Walking and Ozzy

Topics and Show Notes:

– Flips Flops, Walking Biomechanics, Minimalism Shoe Formula

Payloadz link for our DVD’s and efile downloads:

1- NEUROSCIENCE PIECE: Walking Statistics

2- Email from a Facebook Follower:
Hey guys, I was wondering if you had any links to articles about the effects of open back shoes on gait?  All I can seem to find are articles about flip flops, which I know have the similar effect, however some of my collegues don’t agree with that, so I was hoping to help inform them on the effects of the open back shoes/sandals on gait function.
 Thanks for your time,Tyler

We are not your doctors so anything you hear here should not be taken as medical advice. For that you need to visit YOUR doctors and ask them the questions. We have not examined you, we do not know you, we know very little about your medical status. So, do not hold us responsible for taking our advice when we have just told you not to !  Again, we are NOT your doctors !

4-  Updates and Sponsor talk:

A-  more lectures available  on   Go there and look up our lectures

B- In January we will be taking on sponsors for our podcast.  We have had some interest already but we wanted to work out the quality control issues first. Early in means savings.

Contact us if you would like to be a sponsor……If we believe your product has value to this listener community we will give you a professional and personalized company or product plug and advertisment.  From our lips to our listeners ears ! 
We will basically expose your product to our international fan base.
The sponsors will help make our mission possible, defray costs and time to put out this podcast and blog. These things take is away from our practices a little.  Each week we will have 2 center-Stage sponsors . Your sponsorship can run as long as you want.

5-  Mail from an International Follower of our Blog:

Hi Dr’s,
Im here again. Just a quick question about functional LLD’s again. As you said before, most people who have a LLD are functional, but what causes such an apparent problem? What muscles are affected? Also, what exercises do you do to start to fix a functional LLD?

Thanks again for your reply and the attachment. It would be great if you could put it on a future podcast, I am keeping up with them. I’m a little sad as the first thing I check on facebook each day is what you guys have put on. The seminar over here is still a possibility, I was thinking about coming out to you guys first if that’s a possibility to learn direct? Have you thought about trying to do the fitness conventions? Experts like paul chek, Charles Poliquin, Gary Gray amongst others have been very successful and made a lot of money doing this. Gary Gray has done a huge dvd educational series and offers an internship out of his house, which he does once per year and is always full. I personally know 12 people from this country that have done it. Regarding your comment on facebook, I find the case studies more educational than anything else you put on there as it directly relates to my clients, but I have to keep watching them to fully appreciate what your saying. I can imagine most trainers just want quick fixes and new exercises they can give their clients as they are easy to understand. What are your sales of case studies on the onlice CEC compared to your performance downloads?  I can imagine not as many?   Kind Regards,   Luke

6- EMAIL FROM A Blog follower: 
Dear GaitGuys, on the video “Doing Squats, Lunges as well as Walking and Running using the Big Toe Ineffectively.”, I would like your opinion on the participation of the intrinsic (lumbricals) muscles, in stabilizing the proximal phalanx when we activate the FHL. I would consider it important, would be pleased to hear your opinion on it. Thanks, keep up the good work! Regards,  – Claudio

 field100 asked you:
Hi I wondered whether you could point me to the best exercises to increase strength and arch in the foot – I am flat footed. Also would you recommend the use of vivobarefoot shoes or the like to increase overall strength in the foot and ankle. thanks

 8- Blog post we liked recently
Minimalism: Is there a formula?
On one of our many forays into cyberspace, we ran across this easy to understand formula, from one of our friends Blaise Dubois. After we contacted him, he allowed us to reprint it here, for your enjoyment. Thank You Blaise!

Today, we propose a new formula so that you can rate your running shoes on a scale from 1 to 100 (100 being “extremely minimalist” -bare feet- and 1 “extremely maximalist”). The range of variation of your final rating will be more or less 5 points regardless of the comfort criteria, which is subjective. The only thing you need to do is to choose a language, then select the tab of your country at the bottom of the formula page, rate your shoes on the 6 criteria set out and there you go! Please note that we have used average values for criteria to which you don’t have the information. The multiple formats of the formula for every country are represented in accordance with their measuring system, currency and the average selling price of a running shoe for each of these countries.

As for health professionals and scientists, you will see that weighting factors have been applied to all criteria as a function of their importance, which is their effect on the body (biomechanics, tissue adaptation, etc.)
You can now rate your running shoes based upon The Running Clinic’s “TRC Rating” methodology!

12 – Email from a Blog Reader

hoblingoblin asked you:
I have a very strange gait problem that has caused me a great deal of problems in my everyday life. I get a painful, loud snap somewhere in my tarsal tunnel (Post tib, FDL, or something) as I try to control my foot descent from heel strike to midstance and also sometimes as I try to plantar flex at toe off. My ankle also feels kinda loose. I’ve seen multiple ankle specialists who don’t really have answers for me. Any thoughts?        


What do you think of when you watch Zsa Zsa Gabor walk , or a woman like “Madeline” describes in this post?

Hip swing.

Yup, like it or leave it. It is here to stay. And evidently. It makes women more attractive to men (or more likely to attract a mate, click here to read our post on that).

So the question is, Why?

Besides the aesthetically pleasing aspect of this, it is most likely biomechanics. Women (generally) have

a. wider hips,

b. more femoral anteversion (or ante torsion) and

c. an increased Q angle.

This means more:

a. lateral displacement of the pelvis,

b. more internal and less external hip rotation available and

c. more lateral displacement again, with increased demand on the gluteus medius, due to the anatomical attachments.

Yup, there usually is a reason and it is often biomechanical, not aesthetics.

The Gait Guys. Ivo and Shawn. Gait Geeks to the core!

Gait Differences between men and women

J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2002 Jun;11(5):453-8. Gender differences in pelvic motions and center of mass displacement during walking: stereotypes quantified. Smith LK, Lelas JL, Kerrigan DC. Source

Center for Rehabilitation Science, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


A general perception that women and men walk differently has yet to be supported by quantitative walking (gait) studies, which have found more similarities than differences. Never previously examined, however, are pelvic and center of mass (COM) motions. We hypothesize the presence of gender differences in both pelvic obliquity (motion of the pelvis in the coronal plane) and vertical COM displacement. Quantifiable differences may have clinical as well as biomechanical importance.


We tested 120 subjects separated into four groups by age and gender. Pelvic motions and COM displacements were recorded using a 3-D motion analysis system and averaged over three walking trials at comfortable walking speed. Data were plotted, and temporal values, pelvic angle ranges, and COM displacements normalized for leg length were quantitatively compared among groups.


Comparing all women to all men, women exhibited significantly more pelvic obliquity range (mean ISD): 9.4 +/- 3.5 degrees for women and 7.4 +/- 3.4 degrees for men (p = 0.0024), and less vertical COM displacement: 3.7 +/- 0.8% of leg length for women and 3.3 +/- 0.9% for men (p = 0.0056).


Stereotypically based gender differences were documented with greater pelvic obliquity and less vertical COM displacement in women compared with men. It is unclear if these differences are the intrinsic result of gender vs. social or cultural effects. It is possible that women use greater pelvic motion in the coronal plane to reduce their vertical COM displacement and, thus, conserve energy during walking. An increase in pelvic obliquity motion may be advantageous from an energy standpoint, but it is also associated with increased lumbosacral motion, which may be maladaptive with respect to the etiology and progression of low back pain.

The Gait Guys Podcast #9: The Essex Swagger & The City Walkers

Podcast #9 is Live !

*Call to action ! If you like this podcast, think of some friends and colleagues who might enjoy it…… and consider sending it their way !

This link will get you a nicely laid out “show notes” and pod player.

This one will get you to the show player of ALL of our podcasts.

Here are the show liner notes:


People walk differently all around the world. We talked about this in our  blog piece “Essex Swagger” and you can find that here at  
Did you know that you can predict how much crime is in a city from how people walk ? How many libraries in a city from how you walk ? A cities economy ? Income, wages, number of patents, restaurants, number of colleges ? 
So, when we heard this episode at Radiolab we had to call them up and ask if we could play for you a part of their piece “Cities”.  Give this a listen and enjoy the beauty of this great episode of Radiolab.  Thanks to Jennifer and Nadia, Jad and Richard at Radiolab for giving us permission to play this piece for you !  Enjoy !
“Cities” on RADIOLAB. You can find it at  . Click on PODCASTS and look for “Cities” from Season 8 in their Archives section to enjoy the entire excellent podcast.
2- Email from a Reader: I’m a 2nd year graduate Physiotherapist in New Zealand who has a great amount of interest in lower limb bio-mechanics. I have done some advanced clinical pilates training but I am struggling to find any good learning resources or courses in this country on biomechanics. I’ve seen all your youtube videos and I am aware you have a few DVD’s out.

I’m looking for a good base level DVD that cover foot types, strategies and adaptations, ankle rocker and a few case studies. Would you be able to point me toward one or two of yours as ive found your videos very helpful and I’m keen to learn much more from the gait guys.
Cheers, Sam
(as well as the doc from the UK who had the same question)

We are not your doctors so anything you hear here should not be taken as medical advice. For that you need to visit YOUR doctors and ask them the questions. We have not examined you, we do not know you, we know very little about your medical status. So, do not hold us responsible for taking our advice when we have just told you not to !  Again, we are NOT your doctors !

4- Morton’s toe: the chicken or the egg ? 

5-  Mail from an International Follower of our Blog
Hi Gait Guys, My problems are in both knees (valgum) and also neck and spine (i have neck surgery of herniated disc), my whole structure body is really flexible, hypermobility, with really high arches i grew up with really tight shoes, but my arch goes down and up, deppending surface or shoe or orthotics, i know they told me my problem comes from my feet, but i haven´t found the correct orthotic devices or shoes to wear, and be suppinating, i have my bones x-rays and magnetic ressonance of both knees…

I dream to  run again or play soccer. i am sending you some videos and pictures about my feet, they are really flexible and were grown in very tight shoes, so now every shoe and orthotic or combination of both give me really different postures, sometimes my knees get fixed but not my spine, and sometimes the other way. But i haven´t found the correct combination, my knees became operated because the outside cartilage of femur was smashed (grade 4 in left), on right knee less but the same, because knees in X form (valgum), also my neck has a surgery with fusion of two vertebras, often with pain in neck and also in arms. Whatever you tell me, i will fix how to do it, i want to try everything before giving up, because is not life for me at the age of 34.

Eduardo, Guadalajara
what does it say about shoe companies, and us for that matter when shoe reps start calling us to ask us questions about their companies product !!!!!

Hi Guys,  I’ve been watching your videos and attempting to correct issues with
my gait.  Thanks to your videos and blog, I’ve learned that the
cross-over gait is horribly wrong and inefficient and I’ve been
working to correct that.

My email to you today is about muscle tightness.  I watched this video
but would like more information on how to correct my tightness.  Like
the example in the video, my hamstrings are tight.  So are my calves.
 As a result, I can not touch my toes, and I’m experiencing top of
foot pain on my left foot that seems to be related to tightness in my
calves.   I had an xray and MRI that show no signs of stress fracture
or other cause for concern in my foot.  When I take extra time to
stretch my calves (by dropping my heels off a step) or by rolling them
with The Stick, the symptoms subside.   If I go a few days without
doing these stretches/rolls, then it comes back.
Is this a sign of weakness on the complementary muscles?  Or do I
really need to work on stretching these muscles 20-30 minutes at a
time? Thanks for your help, – Craig


Hi guys,  Greetings from Malaysia. I’m a second year Chiropractic student and watched some of your video clips..they are very informative. Do you have plans to run workshops in this side of the world perhaps (Aust/NZ/UK)?
By the way, have you met any Rolfers? I am a bit confused as they claim to do gait analysis and be able to spot areas of tension, etc.
 Thank you for your time.
 Kind regards, Ben

Mountain Chang…….Primal Professional, barefoot dress shoe.

How’s it going guys? Metal toe taps and heel caps just came on my radar as an accessory used to extend to life of fancy dress shoe soles. What’s your opinion on and/or experience with these? Thanks in advance!
– Mountain