Olympics-How not to walk

If you watched any of the Olympic Race Walking, please don’t take your walking lessons from them.  While they may be able to walk fast, they are not walking with whole body wellness in mind.  They do have some great hip mobility, but most of the motion is restricted to side-to-side movement, and not in all three planes of motion.  Their knees all seem to be buckling, and almost every single one of them was only using the outside part of the feet.

However, the biggest tell-tale that their walking styles are not free flowing, natural, easy walks is their torsos.  You may ask yourself, who cares about the torso in walking?  Well, quite frankly, you should.  Your spine should be able to respond to your walking by compressing and lengthening pike a spiralled spring.  This action allows the stress of walking to transmit through your body, and it also activates all of the various pairing of muscles to allow efficient walking.  If you spine can’t or isn’t allowed to handle the motion, other parts of the body have to take over.  That is why most of the race walkers were pumping their arms like no tomorrow and their heads were sliding side to side.  Plus, from the Rolfing perspective, it seemed like most of their motion was coming from their sleeve and not from their core–lots of motion with not so much stability.

If you see any of the race walking events, just watch the participant’s torso.  If you look around at about their sternum or breast bone, if there any motion there, or it just seem like a quiet place with everything else in their body moving around it?

I think it would also be interesting to see these athletes walking around normally.  Do they still have traces of the “race walking” gait, or it entirely just a motion they do for events.  I’d guess that they at least bear the trace of their race walking in their everyday walking as well.

Posted by Jon Grossart

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