The glutes medius is playing target practice.

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We think about the gluteus medius often, mostly, during stance phases of locomotion. But, do not forget about the absolutely necessary function of the gluteus medius on the swing limb. Foot placement of that swing leg is in part dictated by how well the pendulum leg receives gluteus medius control to abduct the leg. When it fails to abduct adequately, a more adducted/medial foot placement occurs (think deeply about our long posts and podcast rants on the cross over gait, the narrow based walking and running gait style).
An agreeable balance between the abductors and adductors affords a more pure forward saggital pendulum of the hinging leg. When imbalanced, from insufficient gmedius and the rest of the abductory team, the foot and leg can target a more medial pendulum swing and thus a more medial foot target placement. Thus, the gluteus medius is important in both the stance and swing phases of gait. Failure to develop the skill, endurance and strength of the gluteus medius and related complex of muscles during stance AND swing phases will often result in frontal plane pelvis drift on the stance limb, and adduction targeting of the foot (narrow step width). What is this called ? We call it the Cross Over gait and we have written oodles of articles about this gait phenomenon, more than anyone else. It is real, it has economical advantages and similar liabilities. Want to learn more, type it into the SEARCH box on our website-blog. Many people thinkn this is a normal gait, how we should all walk and run. And they are wrong, in part. Like most things, it has a place, but not a permanent place. We think like most things in this world, there is a benefit and a drawback to things, and it is how you use it, as long as you read the instructions. Sadly, we were never given a "users manual" when we were born, so we all did what felt natural and safe. It doesn't mean it was right.

-Dr. Shawn Allen

For our Patreon patrons:
read and digest this post again before i film a video of a critical exercise we use to train the gluteus medius in BOTH PHASES ! All to often people just train the glute medius in the stance phase, and that is critical, but the swing phase is just as critical ! And this exercise i will film and post up on Patreon in the next 24 hours or so will help with this swing phase, but stance phase too. Be sure, when you study the video, that you do not get bogged down in what the exercise looks like. That is the easy part. For you to train yourself and your client, there MUST be a deep understanding of the specifics of the exercise. You have likely seen versions of this exercise other places, but it is the how and the why, and not getting sloppy with it, that is the key factor.

Photo: this came in an old box of Altra shoes, a brochure. We love Altras, they aren't for everyone, but if you are looking for a lower heel drop shoes with a wide toe box, try out a pair !

Podcast 87: Podcast 87: The Kenyan's Running Brain & "The" Anterior Compartment.

Plus, Some unknown facts about going minimalism and barefoot. We POUND anterior compartment strength today gang ! Hope you enjoy !

Show sponsors:

A. Link to our server:

Direct Download:

Other Gait Guys stuff

B. iTunes link:

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

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

Show notes:

On high heels and short muscles: A multiscale model for sarcomere loss in the gastrocnemius muscle

The Brain Needs Oxygen

Maintained cerebral oxygenation during maximal self-paced exercise in elite Kenyan runners.
J Appl Physiol (1985). 2014 Nov 20:jap.00909.2014. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00909.2014. [Epub ahead of print]

The texting lane in China

Dialogue on endurance training,
NeuroRehabilitation. 2006;21(1):43-50.

Effects of dorsiflexor endurance exercises on foot drop secondary to multiple sclerosis.  Mount J1, Dacko S.

APOS Therapy
we were asked out opinion on this

Foot instrinsic dialogue
Motor Control. 2014 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Quantifying the Contributions of a Flexor Digitorum Brevis Muscle on Postural Stability.
Okai LA1, Kohn AF.

There are many factors in adults that impair gait. It is not all biomechanical. This is part of our ongoing dialogue on the aging population and why gait impairments and falls are so prevalent.
Acta Bioeng Biomech. 2014;16(1):3-9.
Differences in gait pattern between the elderly and the young during level walking under low illumination.
Choi JS, Kang DW, Shin YH, Tack GR.

Podcast 77: Gait analysis, Forefoot Running & more.

Plus, the 5 neurologic gait compensation expressions.

*Show sponsor:

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:

Google X acquires ‘tremor-canceling spoon’ startup

The 5 expressions of neurologic gait decomposition,
Last week we did an online teleseminar … . .
An acoustic startle alters knee joint stiffness and neuromuscular control
Effectiveness of Off-the-Shelf, Extra-Depth Footwear in Reducing Foot Pain in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial
I really appreciate learning from you!! I have a bit of a loaded question that I will try to explain clearly to the best of my ability. About 2 years ago, I broke my left shin (hairline-fibula) in a MMA fight. After it healed, a few things have been happening that I assume are connected but can’t quite put my finger on. My ankle mobility on my left ankle is worse than my left. I seem to have permanent turf toe as well. My right glute, ham, and erector are hyperactive.
Additionally, many times when sprinting, pushing a sled, etc, my right quad will become fatigued much more than my left. I believe it’s because I’m not fully extending my left ankle, and relying on my right leg more. Whenever I squat or deadlift, I feel similar too. The right glute and erectors get much more of a “pump” than my left. With all of this, is there anything you would recommend? I truly appreciate it!! It is very frustrating. Thank you again!

Running Ugly Sometimes Wins Marathons.

There are many running gurus out there. There are numerous running form clinics out there.  Everyone knows someone that can tell you how to run better and show you things you should be doing to improve your running.  But should you listen ?  That is the problem, should we listen ?  There is the old adage that “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”.  Sometimes that is true as well. But lets face a fact, most people that come into our offices do not come in with the request to make them a better runner, rather they come in asking us to help them resolve a problem or injury that is stopping them from becoming a better runner.  

In this video, the two elite runners are clearly not made from the same mold.  There is no question, even to the uneducated eye, as to who is the more comfortably appearing and “cleaner” runner.  The fella in the orange represents much of what we are all told a runner should look like posturally.  But, it is clear that the fella in the blue is having no problems keeping a comfortable stride with the guy in the orange even though is form looks labored from a postural stand point.  But remember what we always say, what you see in someone’s gait is quite often not their problem, it is their compensation to cope with a problem.  And compensations are needed because we are all never 100% clean and biomechanically efficient. Back to our point, telling Mr. Blue to retract his head and lift his chest may not be what the run doctor ordered.  Changing this one glaring fact could be the thing that injures him or reduces his efficiency amongst other things.  Just because you don’t like what you see doesn’t mean it is wrong for that person or that it needs to be changed. This is why a clinical examination along with a gait analysis is imperative for solid advice. For example, what if this guy has a scoliosis or some other structural problem that has made his thoracic spine more kyphotic  thus producing a more accentuated cervical lordosis and an extended and protracted head carriage ?  Changing in this case that posturing may not be possible for him or may create problems elsewhere.  AGain, just because you do not like it doesn’t mean you should change it.  

So the next time you are at your local store or some marathon event tent and getting form running advice from an “expert”, take it with a grain of salt because there are so many pieces of the puzzle that they are not seeing or understanding.  This is the big problem with the internet and all of its guru’s and their advice.  The next time someone says, here is our go to video for resolving shin splints, take it with a grain of salt. Even if it is us giving the advice on one of our podcasts, because without the examination probably 90% ?? of the information is absent.  If you make a change in someones form, there must be a reason and a goal and you must be prepared to catch any fall out from those changes and know what to do with them.  This is where clinical experience comes in.  So the next time your favorite running site or running magazine gives what appears to be sound advice for chronically tight IT bands, think it over, take it with a grain of salt, and make a sound judgement based on what your body is doing with its unique limitations and pay attention to the results and possible positive and negative outcomes.  Change is inevitable, but is it good for you ?  That is the question.

Oh, and by the way,these were the marathon’s leaders, Benjamin Bitok and Nixon Machichin, both of Kenya. Bitok (in blue) went on to win in 2:13:21, 46 seconds up on Machichin.  

It just goes to prove that what good running looks like ,and should be better in our perfect little world, and of what the websites and magazines tell us about what is right, doesn’t always lead to improved performance.  However, we wouldn’t suggest you start running with Bitok’s form because he is awesome (even though some kids in his home land may do just that because modeling is the greatest form of compliment.)  But, what do we know ? We are just two more self-proclaimed guru’s trying to set the record strait, from our experience and perspective. 

Shawn and Ivo, 

the gait guys

Podcast #16: Monkeys, Newton Shoes & Gait Vision

Gait, running, Newton Shoes, Forefoot Strike, Gait Software, limb torsion problems, foot tripod and lots more !


Join us today for the following topic list and show note links:

Links to DVD’s & e-downloads:

1- scars of evolution:

Bigfoot blog post:

Why gait must be taught slowly. Even running gait must be taught slowly.

2- email from a reader

wondering if you had any internal femoral torsion videos? I have been looking online and noticed most of the articles were on children with IFT. I have internal femoral rotation, a “winking patella” and I believe an externally rotated tibia? I am a runner and I am trying to find some more info on my awesome gait:) As you can imagine, I have had my fair share of injuries from running (hip, knee, and foot) and I have tried foam rolling but I am hoping you have some other recommendations

3- The Almighty Foot Tripod exercise - good for pronation of the foot

4- DISCLAIMER: 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

5- Blog post we liked recently:  Perception/vision and Gait analysis software.

2 blog posts here…….review them before the pod

The Observation Effect:

6- SHOE TALK:   Skora Shoes
7- Our dvd’s and efile downloads
Are all on payloadz. Link is in the show notes.

Midfoot strike 5 year old running barefoot in grass.

So, heel strike you say ?  Have  a closer look.  This is a near perfect midfoot strike. What you cannot see is his torso progression. As long as the torso has enough forward lean heel strike cannot occur. Heel contact can occur, but not heel strike or impact.

We have talked about this on many occasions here on The Gait Guys Blog. No one else is talking about this fine line difference between heel strike and heel contact.  Everyone still seems hell bent on talking about forefoot strike. Forefoot strike in distance running is not normal, midfoot strike like you see here in this young child is natural and normal. This 5 year old was likely just asked to run barefoot, he was not likely coached. This is because midfoot strike is natural and normal.  As we said, as long as the torso is directly above or in front of the foot contact position there is no way that heel STRIKE can occur, rather heel CONTACT can only occur (unless you have hamstrings like cirque du soleil acrobats and do not mind going into a posterior tilted pelvis at contact). 

We tell our runners to:

  • lift the chest and lean
  • raise the toes and dorsiflex the ankle  (engage the anterior lower leg compartment) so that the arch is maximally prepared
  • a heel KISS of the ground is fine, just no impact
  • you do not need to forefoot strike to run naturally
  • * and, here is one more reason why we like a midfoot strike over a forefoot strike…. because a midfoot strike means that the body continues forward whereas a forefoot strike that then allows into a heel kiss/touchdown means that there is a posterior progression and eccentric lengthening of the posterior chain (hamstrings and calf muscles). This posterior directed motions is not exactly wise when forward progression is the goal of running !

This little fella is doing it right. Largely because he has not been in shoes long enough to corrupt the natural tissues and mechanisms (both the body parts and the natural neuromotor patterns).

* Addendum: after a really productive FAcebook dialogue with some readers we felt we needed to be more clear on some of our unspoken assumptions here.  If the heel hits first, it will be a STRIKE and not a KISS and the load will be high. The only way the heel can kiss the ground like we mention above is if the heel is absolutely contacting at the same time as the forefoot, one could say that there is a more dominant load on the mid-forefoot but the heel can still strike at this same time.  Striking clearly on the forefoot and then touching down the heel is satisfactory but there is still a retrograde movement which we believe is not as economical yet certainly better than heel impact/strike.  To get the perfect midfoot strike with barely a subtle heel CONTACT (not impact or strike) requires greater skill and more mastery as a runner.  And if you are wearing a shoe that is not minimalist or zero drop developing this skill will be a challenge and you will be misleading yourself.    This ammendment added 1 hour post blog post launch.

Shawn and Ivo…….. the Devil is in the Details. 

Dear Dr. Lieberman : Some vital facts on forefoot running are not being discussed.

A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. -Mildred Wite Stouven.

Today’s blog article is likely to bring flames to our feet, but we are not afraid of the heat.  At the very least we will settle for the heat this article may bring so that our work can get the recognition we feel it deserves and so the truth can be brought to light for the good of all mankind.

“Forefoot strike causes less impact force on the body,” says co-author Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard and scribe of a popular barefoot running manifesto in 2010. “People forget that running is a skill, and if you don’t run properly, you’ll get injured.”

Amen to that; we have been saying that for years before this all became popular talk …

We recently read this article in Men’s Health, yet another one supportive of minimalism running. And once again some of the most important facts are being left out. We just cannot sit here and watch the inaccuracies of minimalism and forefoot running continue to root themselves without policing. So, let us once again set foot into the raging battle.

According to the article (LINK) Sturtz says, “Landing on your forefoot, the way humans have run for thousands of years, produces almost zero impact on joints and bones, according to Lieberman’s 2010 study. But 75 percent of us now land heel first—cushioned running shoes made that possible (and comfortable)—which slams up to 3 times the body’s weight in impact force on your knees and legs.”

Our question is, “ Why is no one paying attention to foot types?” In every lecture we do, to clinicians or everyday runners, about “forefoot type” variants (valgus and varus to be precise) we comment that this is something that should be talked about during Running Form Clinics where forefoot landing is promoted. 

“… forefoot running is not the whole answer to injury prevention, just a component”, says Lieberman. “This is not a simple solution to a complex problem—you can’t change one thing and have everything be fine. You can still forefoot strike with poor form.”

And we would add to that quote that “you can get a resultant compensatory running form if you forefoot strike with a forefoot varus or forefoot valgus”. Not everyone has that pristine neutral forefoot bipod architecture that the internet articles are assuming exists in everyone, and thus there is no way that everyone has fully competent pristine forefoot biomechanics that will not eventually trigger injury. This is a fact, not our opinion. 

Dr Lieberman then goes on to say: “ If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

We respectfully disagree. We do this on a daily basis (as do many of you).  If the check engine light on your dashboard is flashing at you every day for a week you would be remiss not to consider the repercussions.  “The car ain’t broken… YET” is a more precise comment. You would be wise not to go on a long distance car trip knowing this fact.  Translating this to forefoot load/strike running, ignoring a potential injury because of flawed forefoot anatomy and biomechanics is a recipe for injury.  Just because it isn’t broken YET doesn’t mean ignoring the issues will make them go away or make you immune. A few hundred or thousand miles on a forefoot variant can be an issue clinically and injury wise.

Just because the body isn’t broken YET doesn’t mean it cannot work better and prevent a problem down the road. Dr Lieberman then goes on to quote, “Remember, almost every distance runner gets injured".  Why is he batting from both sides of the plate here? If “Landing on your forefoot, the way humans have run for thousands of years, produces almost zero impact on joints and bones”, according to Lieberman’s 2010 study then why would he go on to say “Almost every distance runner gets injured”?  There has to be a reason !  Forefoot running is either the answer or it isn’t.  Our valid and ignored proposal above, and our repeated comments throughout our 500+ blog posts on this topic on foot types, is a valid answer to his injury assumption.  It is quite possible that these inevitable injuries occur because people take the advice of “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”.  It is also most likely that ignorance of the deeper facts is bliss for most people. .Had they spent the time to find out about their forefoot type and learn to modify subtle biomechanical flaws of forefoot loading strategies of their foot type, perhaps we wouldn’t hear “Remember, almost every distance runner gets injured".   Maybe that is why you SHOULD look into fixing things that are not YET broken and at the very least learn about foot types, particularly which one you have and the potential risks it exposes you to. Our blog here has done this in depth over the last year. 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” -Benjamin Franklin.  Anyone is medicine knows this is true (or should).

We prefer midfoot strike when possible, for many reasons but mainly because it takes into account a tripod contact loading response.  A tripod load is more stable than a rear foot unipod load and more stable than a forefoot bipod load, particularly when there are rear or forefoot variants (rearfoot valgus, rearfoot varus, forefoot valgus, forefoot varus) from the pristine normal that is always assumed in many articles.   A tripod loading response (midfoot strike) can dampen some of the mechanical flaws of either heel or forefoot strike patterns and of the foot type variants that are the norm, not the exception.

We see this stuff everyday in our practices. We are the guys that get the injury cases that are driven by the inaccuracies, or better put “overlooked facts”, of articles on the internet. To be fair, we have also written a fair number of articles for magazines and we know how they can get so chopped down that truth, honesty and full disclosure can be lost for the sake of publication limitations. None the less, our strong opinion, this article could have been far more complete had it talked about the issues we have brought to light here.  We love and respect the work of Lieberman and his colleagues.  He and his colleagues have done a huge service to the runners of the world and we have learned from them. Learning is a lifelong journey for us all and we just think that there is a huge information gap that is being missed and we feel it is time that the runners of the world hear the whole truth. We believe our work is filling that gap.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

For the past year, we have been feeling a bit like Gandhi must have felt. We realize that some of our work is complicated, difficult to understand, and tough to digest. We know we are laughed at by some who prefer to seek the safety of ignorance. And yes, despite 600 blog posts on these very topics (yes, we have one of the most informative blogs and YouTube Channels on the web for runners and athletes looking for answers) we feel somewhat ignored. None the less, we continue to stick our necks out far and long to set the record straight to make sure that everyone knows the facts they deserve to know.   We hope you will forward, link, Facebook and tweet the hell out of our blog post today, for the good of every runner and athlete you know and for the whole of mankind.  We are in this for the long haul. Stick and stones … .       - Drs. Shawn and Ivo …  The Gait Guys

here is the article that spurred our post: