The Cheetah man, PART 2: “Bird Dog”, again.

In last week Wednesday’s blog post (link) we discussed the video of this man running amazingly on all 4 limbs at an incredible speed. He was doing it beautifully, most people would have fallen flat on their face after the first leap forward. 

As we discussed on that day, and these 2 screenshot photos will prove, there is ipsilateral interference between the foot and hand in this quadrupedal gait. This is diagonal quadrupedal locomotion (QL); the forward moving lower limb is impaired from further forward progression by the posting up (contact) hand of the same side.  However, in his case, there is such quick removal of the leading hand/limb that he can advance the ipsilateral foot/leg as far forward as he is able without impediment from the same side hand contact. 

As we mentioned in the Bird Dog post last week, (see photo of lady on yoga mat above) the contralateral upper limb will be in the opposite phase of the contralateral lower limb. ie when the left lower limb is in extension, the right upper limb will be in flexion (this is the classic Bird Dog position).

In last weeks blog post (see photos above), the opposite is clearly happening. One can see in the first photo that bird dog is clearly not helping to train a gait pattern, and that is ok, it has other values at times. Rather, in this first photo we see left hip extension and right shoulder extension, just as we see in the baby photo. This contradicts Bird Dog but this does support bipedal gait patterns.  Think about gait. Your right leg and left arm flex until about midstance, when they start to transition into extension; the left leg and right arm are doing the opposite. At no point are the arm and opposite leg opposing one another as in Bird Dog.

As Ivo would say , “if you look at it neurologically, it is a crossed extensor reflex.  It is very similar to a protective reflex called the “flexor reflex” or “flexor reflex afferent”.

The principles remain intact.

More critical thinking today. Hope you enjoyed.

Shawn and Ivo,

The gait guys

Podcast 56: Crawling, Neurodevel. & Foot Strike

A. Link to our server:

Direct Download:


B. iTunes link:

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

D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”


* Today’s show notes:


Human quadrupedalism is not an epiphenomenon caused by neurodevelopmental malformation and ataxia.  

” a re-emergence of the ancestral diagonal QL, and (3) it may spontaneously emerge in humans with entirely normal brains, by taking advantage of neural networks such as central pattern generators that have been preserved for about 400 million years.”


Front Neurol. 2012 Oct 25;3:154. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2012.00154. eCollection 2012. Karaca S1, Tan MTan U. Human quadrupedalism is not an epiphenomenon caused by neurodevelopmental malformation and ataxia.
2)  selectively removing torsions ? bunions ?  
FDA Panel Mulls Technique That Creates Babies Using DNA of 3 People
3) A Crazy Oculus Rift Hack Lets Men and Women Swap Bodies

“Minimum effective dose: Why less is more” – via Farnam Street blog. True for manual therapy, for sure. Lighten up, hack nervous system instead of trying to force structure to comply.
6) Unpowered Treadmills

Podcast 33: Heart Beats, Toe walking & Crawling

podcast link:

iTunes link:

Gait Guys online /download store:

other web based Gait Guys lectures:   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen  Biomechanics

Today’s show notes:

Neuroscience Pieces:

1.Superhuman sight and hearing.

2. Kickstart device

Kickstart from Cadence Biomedical is designed to help improve the gait of people who have difficulty walking and help them regain their mobility and independence. But unlike its robotic cousins that are powered by weighty rechargeable batteries, the Kickstart is able to ditch the batteries altogether because it has no motors to power. Instead, it is purely mechanical and provides assistance by storing and releasing kinetic energy generated by a person when walking.

3. Bionic ear
Scientists have created a 3D-printed cartilage ear with an antenna that extends hearing far beyond the normal human range.
In general, there are mechanical and thermal challenges with interfacing electronic materials with biological materials,” said Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton and the lead researcher. “Previously, researchers have suggested some strategies to tailor the electronics so that this merger is less awkward. That typically happens between a 2D sheet of electronics and a surface of the tissue. However, our work suggests a new approach — to build and grow the biology up with the electronics synergistically and in a 3D interwoven format.”

4. Blog reader asks:
I recently came across “The solitary externally rotated foot”, as well as the Cross Over Gait, and Applied Gait Hip Mechanics videos. First of all, your material very insightful, so thank you! I am an amateur runner that exhibits external foot rotation and cross over running, which I suspect causes my hip pain (where the GMed joins the femur) over long distances. Curiously, this pain completely disappears when running up hill. Is this an anomaly, or does the slope correct my gait somehow?

5. FACEBOOK readers asks:

  • HI: Can you tell us what role the gluteus medius plays in foot pronation. What if they are weak or tight? And how about the QL, too? Would a foot supinator have weakened QLs (they don’t get to work much) and a foot overpronator have over-worked/loaded QLs (controlling spin)? And hey, if I toss in functional scoliosis in the lumbar region to this mix, well, what a tight mess I have, eh? Any insights on how to become unscrewed?

6. Karis

  • Hi there, I’m sure you get 100,000 messages so thank you for your time for reading this! Today I had a revelation that I have external tibial torsion. After much googling about my knees turning in quite a lot when my feet are straight I finally found it! Then I found your blog on Tumblr and read all about it and watched the videos. I just wondered if you had any advice on running, I am keen to start running but I didn’t know whether to run with my feet sticking out as my natural position or anything else I should be doing? I also wondered if it can be corrected marginally by doing any strength exercises? Thank you for your help in advance! Karis


Some of the signs of overtraining may include an unexplained decrease in performance, changes in mood state, excessive fatigue, the need for additional sleep, frequent infections, continued muscle soreness and loss of training/competitive drive.

We have included an article that puts it into simple light for the athlete:

J Nov Physiother. 2013 Feb 16;3(125). pii: 11717.
8. Toe walking in children
In most cases no etiology of toe walking is found. The medical literature considers it abnormal if it persists after 3 years of age. Idiopathic Toe Walking (ITW) is considered a diagnosis of exclusion and is employed only when all other possibilities have been eliminated with a meticulous clinical examination and various investigations. If any etiology is found, the treatment should be first non operative
The differential diagnosis in children who walk on their toes includes mild spastic diplegia, congenital short achilles,  and idiopathic toe walking (ITW).  A reduced ankle range of motion is common……one just needs to find the source of the reduction…….meaning funcitonal,  ablative (structural). Reported treatments have included serial casting, Botulinum toxin type A or surgery to improve the ankle range of motion.  Is there an immediate impact of footwear, footwear with orthotics and whole body vibration on ITW to determine if any one intervention improves heel contact and spatial-temporal gait measures.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Mar 21;12:61. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-61.

9. Idiopathic toe-walking in children, adolescents and young adults: a matter of local or generalised stiffness?

Engelbert R


10. J Foot Ankle Res. 2010 Aug 16;3:16. doi: 10.1186/1757-1146-3-16.

Idiopathic toe walking and sensory processing dysfunction.

11. Crawling May Be Unnecessary for Normal Child Development?

An Alternate View of Crawling and Quadrupedal Motor Patterns: A Correlation to Free Solo Mountain Climbers ?

Quadruped Patterns: Part 1

In the last 3 years, if you have been with us here at The Gait Guys that long, you will have read some articles where we discuss quadrupedal gait (link: Uner Tan Syndrome) and also heard us talk about CPG’s (Central Pattern Generators) which are neural networks that produce rhythmic patterned outputs without sensory feedback. You will have also read many of our articles on arm swing and how they are coordinated with the legs and opposite limb in a strategic fashion during gait and running gaits. Through these articles, we have also eluded to some of the fruitless aspects of focusing solely on retraining arm swing in runners because of the deep neurologic interconnectedness to the lower limbs and to the CPG’s. 
IF you are interested in any of these articles we have written please feel free to visit our blog and type in the appropriate words (Uner Tan Syndrome, arm swing, cerebellum, cross over gait) into the Search box on the blog.

Here we briefly look at interconnected arm and leg function in crawling mechanics in a high functioning human (as compared to the Uner Tan Syndrome) in arguably the best solo free climber in the world, Alex Honnold. Here we will talk about the possible neurologic differences in climbers such as Alex as compared to other quadruped species. Primarily, there is suspect of an existing shift in the central pattern generators because of the extraordinary demand on pseudo-quadrupedal gait of climbing because of the demand on the upper limbs and their motorneuron pools to mobilize the organism up the mountain. The interlimb coordination in climbing and crawling biomechanics shares similar features to other quadrupeds, both primate and non-primate, because of similarities in our central pattern generators (CPG’s). New research has however determined that the spaciotemportal patterns of spinal cord activity that  helps to mediate and coordinate arm and leg function both centrally, and on a cord mediated level, significantly differ between the quadruped and bipedal gaits. In correlation to climbers such as Alex however, we need to keep it mind that the quadrupedal demands of a climber (vertical) vastly differ in some respects to those of a non-vertical quadrupedal gait such as in primates and those with Uner Tan Syndrome. This is obvious to the observer not only in the difference in quadrupedal “push-pull” that a climber uses and the center-of-mass (COM) differences.  To be more specific, a climber keeps the COM within the 4 limbs and close to the same surface plane as the hands and feet (mountain) while a primate,  human or Uner Tan person will “tent up” the pelvis and spine from the surface of contact.

What some of the research has determined is that in quadrupeds the lower limbs displayed reduced orientation yet increased ranges of kinematic coordination in alternative patterns such as diagonal and lateral coordination.  This was clearly different to the typical kinematics that are employed in upright bipedal locomotion. Furthermore, in skilled mountain climbers, these lateral and diagonal patterns are clearly more developed than in study controls largely due to repeated challenges and subsequent adaptive changes to these lateral and diagonal patterns.  What this seems to suggest is that there is a different demand and tax on the CPG’s and cord mediated neuromechanics moving from bipedal to quadrupedal locomotion. There seemed to be both advantages and disadvantages to both locomotion styles. Moving towards a more upright bipedal style of locomotion shows an increase in the lower spine (sacral motor pool) activity because of the increased and different demands on the musculature however at the potential cost to losing some of the skills and advantages of the lateral and diagonal quadrupedal skills.  Naturally, different CPG reorganization is necessary moving towards bipedalism because of these different weight bearing demands on the lower limbs but also due to the change from weight bearing upper limbs to more mobile upper limbs free to not only optimize the speed of bipedalism but also to enable the function of carrying objects during locomotion.

The take home seems to suggest that gait retraining is necessary as is the development of proper early crawling and quadruped locomotor patterns. Both will tax different motor pools within the spine and thus different central pattern generators (CPG). A orchestration of both seems to possibly offer the highest rewards and thus not only should crawling be a part of rehab and training but so should forward, lateral and diagonal pattern quadrupedal movements, on varying inclines for optimal benefits.  Certainly we need to do more work on this topic, the research is out there, but correlating the quad and bipedal is limited. We will keep you posted. Next week we will follow up on this quadrupedal topic with a video that will blow your mind ! So stay tuned !

Shawn and Ivo
The Gait Guys

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Oct;21(5):688-99. Idiosyncratic control of the center of mass in expert climbers. Zampagni ML, Brigadoi S, Schena F, Tosi P, Ivanenko YP.

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jan;107(1):114-25. Features of hand-foot crawling behavior in human adults. Maclellan MJ, Ivanenko YP, Cappellini G, Sylos Labini F, Lacquaniti F.