Video Tutorial #14 My 8 Secrets To Improving Walking and Running Efficiency Through Maximizing The Human Spring

My 8 Secrets To Improving Walking and Running Efficiency Through Maximizing The Human Spring Tips For Better Health Ask the doctor, Dr James Stoxen DC There are many causes of fatigue symptoms and reduced walking and running efficiency… During walking and running we burn most of our energy from muscle fatigue. So, if inefficiency in walking […]

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My 8 Secrets To Improving Walking and Running Efficiency Through Maximizing The Human Spring

Tips For Better Health

Ask the doctor, Dr James Stoxen DC

There are many causes of fatigue symptoms and reduced walking and running efficiency…

During walking and running we burn most of our energy from muscle fatigue.

So, if inefficiency in walking and running is an important cause of fatigue, then a logical first step to diagnosis fatigue would be to evaluate the reason why we could be burning too much energy so that we could arrive at a more precise fatigue diagnosis.

When you go to the doctor complaining that you are always tired with muscle pain, fatigue and body aches, most doctors just do blood tests as the only fatigue test. When they come out negative, they wonder why they cannot find the cause of your fatigue and exhaustion.

This article is important for you if you seem to be always tired but:

  • want to increase your fatigue limit and have more natural energy.
  • want more energy in the performance of activities of daily living such as simple walking.
  • want improved efficiency and to reduce weakness and fatigue in distance running and other sports.
  • want to reduce the fatigue weakness that causes fatigue failure during impacts called overuse injuries like plantar fasciists, shin splints, leg, hip and back spasms or herniated discs.

This is the key!

Muscles fatigue faster when you use your body as a lever mechanism instead of the more efficient spring mechanism.

By releasing and strengthening your human spring as well as learning how to best use your spring mechanism,  you may be able to increase your fatigue limit.  

In this post I will answer questions such as:

  1. How do I improve walking and running efficiency?
  2. How do I protect myself from impacts that lead to fatigue strain and overuse injuries?
  3. Why am I so tired and how do I prevent extreme fatigue like chronic fatigue syndrome?

In the walking or running game, many athletes, coaches and trainers site muscle fatigue as one of the leading causes of poor performance.

Muscle fatigue will leave the joints to fall out of the most efficient alignment leading to fatigue strain that increases the risk of painful walking conditions and running related injuries.

Muscle fatigue and connective tissue weakness of the spring suspension system muscles or locking of the human spring, effects proper walking form, running technique and fatigue in sports, leading to poor performance in competitions that are chalked up to having a “bad day”.

With extreme or chronic fatigue, those battling fatigue every day without relief in sight can slide into fatigue depression, which will serve to exacerbate the problem, immensely.

Understanding how your human spring uses FREE elastic spring energy from the elastic tissues instead of muscle will allow you to improve efficiency of movement.

This article will teach you my 8 secrets to improving walking and running efficiency through maximizing human spring as a fatigue fighter…

What is muscle fatigue and what are the causes of muscle fatigue?

You will definitely fatigue faster if your body relies on muscles to push you as a lever mechanism during walking and running instead of of your human spring mechanism, springing you.

The two main functions of your human spring mechanism are:

ENERGY RECYCLING – Whether you run, jog, walk, use running for weight loss, barefoot run or running for your life, the spring suspension system muscle group recycles energy, making ambulation more efficient. If left undetected, a weakness in the suspension system can lead to acute or chronic fatigue.   The Human Spring Model and Approach is a very simple, common sense model to study how the body stores, releases, and recycles energy for maximum efficiency.

PROTECTION FROM IMPACTS – The spring suspension system muscles (AKA landing muscles) protect you from the impacts of walking, running and sports.  So, any amount of muscle fatigue or preload tension on the spring suspension system can cause a potential injury.

Muscle fatigue can contribute to low energy levels and even extreme fatigue.  This can lead to pain and fatigue which can cause reduced performance and sport related injuries.

Chronically exhausted muscles fail to maintain the spring in the optimum alignment leaving the connective tissue in constant fatigue strain during simple movement causing constant daily damage to the bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Because we impact the earth 200,000 times by our 60th birthday this constant fatigue strain on the joints is what I feel is the primary cause of Degenerative Joint Disease (D.J.D) of the knee and hip that leads to preventable knee and hip replacements.

Sports related, overuse, impact injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, stress fractures,  knee injuries, hip injuries and of course herniated discs could be attributed to this breakdown in the spring mechanism.

If you have unexplained poor performance in sports and leisure activities and any of these conditions above, odds are you MAY have an inefficient spring mechanism.

In this article I am going to focus on improving your walking and running efficiency

WALKING EFFICIENCY – We will review what walking form and technique will allow you to walk with natural spring in your step.

RUNNING EFFICIENCY – Which conditioning or running program will allow you to maximize human spring potential so you can run fast, run faster and with improved running efficiency.

The best way to maximize walking and running efficiency is to learn how your human spring mechanism works and maximize its potential!  Understanding the engineering of the spring impact resistance mechanism can give you more detailed answers for your acute or chronic fatigue diagnosis. Dr James Stoxen DC

How does the human spring work to improve efficiency?

When you walk or run, the most efficient way to move is to load the forces of impacts into the elastic deforming tissues such as tendons and connective tissue structures and the least amount of loading forces into the muscles.

The way to understand how the human spring  functions best, is to first look at the laws of physics and second to look at the scientific studies. 

The key to understating how the body resists impacts and recycles energy is to apply the accepted laws of physics to the human body.  I believe that when there are discrepancies between what is predicted by the laws of physics and the results of studies, then the laws of physics trumps the results of studies. If the variances cannot be explained by these laws then I assume there is a flaw in the study or the results and or conclusions are misinterpreted.

Hooke’s Law of Spring Mechanics 

Hooke’s Law applies to spring mechanics.

It does not apply to lever mechanics.

Does a lever ever completely spring back to its original shape?

The body is not a lever. It is a spring

Hooke’s law of elasticity is an approximation that states that the extension of a spring is in direct proportion with the forces added to it as long as this load does not exceed the elastic limit or yield point.

The bottom line is that the more deformable or elastic your body becomes the more it can dissipate shocks as well as store, release and therefore recycle free elastic energy.

This is the key to improving the efficiency of your performance.  

In other words the more the body spring is stretched (extension springs) or compressed (compression springs) the more energy we get from the spring.

For more information on how Hooke’s Law applies to the human spring read these articles:

  • Video Tutorial #9  Hooke’s Law Of Physics, click here
  • Video Tutorial# 143 What I Learned From Javier Sotomeyer , click here
  • Video Tutorial #28 Reduce Over Pronation and Over Supination, click here
  • Video Tutorial #12 Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts?, click here

Force Of Impact/Energy Stored And Released

The human body abides by the ‘Hooke’s Law of Physics’

This loading of spring energy into the elastic components saves or recycles energy and therefore it increases muscle efficiency and overall efficiency of movement. For a clearer understanding, see picture above.

The muscles that power vertebrate locomotion are associated with springy tissues, both within muscle and in connective tissue elements such as tendons. These springs share in common the same simple action: they stretch and store elastic strain energy when force is applied to them and recoil to release energy when force decays. Although this elastic action is simple, it serves a diverse set of functions, including metabolic energy conservation, amplification of muscle power output, attenuation of muscle power input, and rapid mechanical feedback that may aid in stability. Flexible mechanisms: the diverse roles of biological springs in vertebrate movement, Thomas J. Roberts and Emanuel Azizi 

This tensioning or rewinding of the tendon fibers burned largely isometric muscle contractions is achieved with very little change in the length of the muscle fibers themselves. Supertraining Yuri Verkhoshansky Mel C. Siff

The muscles contract to one length.  The tendons stretch to allow the movement of the joints. This elastic recoil of your elastic tissue is the most efficient method of ambulation. This is spring action and not lever action.  Therefore developing better spring strength is the key to maximum efficiency.  Dr James Stoxen DC

Essentially what this research found was that muscle contraction was not the primary mode of propulsion during running.  This explains the efficiency in running long-distance through the spring action or elastic recoil action of tendons and connective tissue fibers versus muscle contractions.

So how can you increase walking and running efficiency to reduce fatigue?

Here ya go….

Increase maximal “safe” loading of the force of impact into the elastic tissues by:

  • Maximize Spring Loading by Releasing the Protective Reflex Muscle Spasms that Preload and Compress the Human Spring.
  • Maximize Spring Loading by Increasing Flexibility of the Elastic Tissues. 
  • Maximize Spring Loading by Maximizing Joint Play of all joints of the Human Spring.
  • Maximize Lever Strength of Spring Suspension System Muscles and Tendons.
  • Maximize Spring Strength of the Spring Suspension Muscles and Tendons. 
  • Increase the Aerobic Endurance Strength of the Spring Suspension. 
  • Reduce Mental Stress that may cause a Preload Compressive Force on the Human Spring.

The first important step is to understand the anatomy and function of the human spring.

supportive cuff muscles

This is what I call the spring suspension system also known as the landing muscles or the pronator supinator cuff muscles (pictured above)

When you look at the structure of these muscles (above) they are primarily tendons with some muscle structure closer to the origin. The obvious long tendon length engineering tells you these muscles are more suited for elastic recoil or spring rather than muscle contraction or lever push activities as opposed to the gluteus maximus which is mostly muscle and less tendon.

My 8 Secrets To Improving Walking and Running Efficiency through Maximizing Human Spring

1.  Maximize spring loading by releasing the tonic protective reflex spasms that preload the spring

If you don’t do this before every walk or run, you could develop a locked spring.  What I’m finding during clinical diagnosis of patients who walk or run with a locked spring and have impact related injuries such as;

  • an inefficient or defective spring
  • plantar fasciitis
  • heal pain
  • shin splints
  • knee pain
  • hip pain and
  • low back pain
  • herniated discs that don’t heal  (they do heal you know)

How To Release Spasms from your Human Spring

2.  Maximize spring loading by increasing flexibility of the Elastic Tissues 

Sometimes when I see runners warm-up I see them stretching their foot while standing in an attempt to flex the knee until the heel approximates the gluteal muscles. Have you ever kicked your own ass with your heel when running?  NOOOOOO Why would you think you need to stretch your quad this far?

Meanwhile your foot takes up the majority of the impact forces and it is the only body part that is locked in a binding device all day.  You MUST stretch your bare foot in all directions AND separate the toes with the scissors stretch and my Mortons neuroma stretch.(see lower in this post for links)

The main impact force is primarily absorbed and stored and recycled through the connective tissue structures of the arch of the foot and the suspension system that is represented by the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, peroneus longus and peroneus brevis muscles.  Along with all the other muscles you stretch you must stretch the foot and ankle in the directions of inversion, eversion, adduction abduction, pronation, supination,

How to Stretch your Human Spring

I have evaluated a lot of top athletes and celebrities feet, as a doctor who has worked with Dancing With The Stars Tour, So You Think You Can Dance Tour, Michael Flatley’s Celtic Tiger Tour along with many more.  I have found that the elite level professional dancers’ feet, have had some of the strongest impact resistant and lower extremities of any athlete that I’ve ever examined!

I see a lot of people stretching and holding the stretch for long durations thinking that this provides better flexibility. It certainly seems like you’ll get increased flexibility by taking your time to stretch the structures, however this is definitely not the case when performing the drills to increase dynamic flexibility and strength within the ranges.

Where did I learn a lot about flexibility and strength?

My close friend and former girlfriend, Irena Vdovets, USA National Team Coach USA Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Team, taught me a lot about flexibility and strength.

Irina Vdovets is Founder and Owner of  Illinois Rhythmic Gymnastics Training Center.

Irina Vdovets

Irina Vdovets, the only two-time U.S. Olympic rhythmic gymnastics coach (1988, 1992), was the coach for Olympians Michele Berube, Jenifer Lovell and Diane Simpson-Bundy. She coached the U.S. World Championships Team four times (1985, 1987, 1989 and 1991) and was a U.S. national team coach from 1985-95. In 1986-87, Vdovets was honored as the U.S. Rhythmic Coach of the Year. Vdovets currently lives in Chicago and is the program director at Illinois Rhythmics.

Right to left, Edwin Vdovets, Irina Vdovets, Dr. James Stoxen DC and dancers from the Ricky Martin Tour

Being educated in achieving the level of master of sports and of course the incidental fact that she was the national team coach for the US Olympic team in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, she understood how strength training should be performed at maximum flexibility ranges of motion.

I remember how she had long elastic bands attached to the feet, specifically the arches of the feet of the gymnasts and had them go through incredibly flexible positions where the band was fully stretched at this maximum flexibility point, adding maximum strength at maximum ranges of motion.

Irina Vdovets two-time U.S. Olympic rhythmic gymnastics coach (1988, 1992)

This kind of strength training at the maximum range of motion is something usually only seen at the Olympic level. That is why they become champions and others do not.

Not only must you have maximum flexibility within the range of motion you are training at, but you must have maximum impact spring strength in the end range. You will also need maximum impact training at end ranges of motion of inversion, eversion, adduction, abduction, pronation, supination, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion within the spring suspension system to insure you:

  1. have maximum protection from impact forces in all ranges these muscles work.
  2. have maximum recycling of energy and efficiency from impact forces in all ranges these muscles work.

I do the same release stretch and dynamic flexibility training that I am recommending to you in this article.

Is there a difference between how long muscles take to strengthen vs tendons?

Before I run barefoot and before my athletes run, I spend 20 minutes stretching these muscles with these techniques:

3.  Maximize Elastic Spring Loading by Maximizing Joint Play of all the Joints of the Human Spring 

The spring loading happens in the foot. You must make sure all the 33 joints of the foot are released so the spring energy can be loaded and unloaded into the arch of the foot to maximize the slingshot effect of the suspension system muscle “snap” at toe off. So this could be considered a treatment of fatigue.

Muscles and tendons that connect to the 33 joints of the foot such as the tibialis posterior, attached to bones that must be able to move in the full range of motion of their design. If the muscle–tended complex can’t move the bones in the full ranges of motion of plantar flexion, dorsi flexion, eversion, inversion, abduction, adduction, pronation and supination than it’s impossible for the muscle–tendon to get maximum strength.

How does a locked spring feel?  

In some cases the foot feels like a piece of frozen steak that you just took out of the freezer. It’s not cold it’s just a rigid lever versus a springy wiggly spring mechanism.

The primary joints that I find that lock are the metatarsal cuneiform joints of the second and third digits (toes). It’s also interesting that these tendons of your spring suspension system muscles attach directly in these areas.  The area is around the blue tendon click here

4. & 5. Maximize Lever Strength and Spring Strength of the Spring Suspension Muscles.

In order to get maximum strength of the spring suspension system connective tissue structures, the ultimate training to:

  1. MUSCLE CONTRACTILE TISSUE STRENGTH –  This can happen in as early as 2 to 3 weeks - do resistance training which I call lever training of all the muscles of the spring suspension system.
  2. TENDON AND ELASTIC CONNECTIVE TISSUE STRENGTH – It takes approximately 20 weeks to strengthen tendons and ligaments. More importantly, do impact or spring training of of all the muscles of the spring suspension system to strengthen these elastic structures.

Over pronation and over supination are a result of a weakness in the muscles and tendons that maintain the foot within the safe range.

The majority of injuries are related to some inability to absorb the impact forces of the landings.

What that means is that when the impact force becomes absorbed into this pre-loaded structure there is no place for the impact force to go because it’s at maximum capacity. Therefore there is no other place but into the connective tissues or joint structures.

The result is, plantar fasciitis, heel pain injuries, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and of course the most common pre-load force overload on the compression springs of the spine called the herniated, bulged or slipped vertebral discs.

Science has determined the optimum way to build tendon and connective tissue strength and muscle power is by minimum contact time on the ground during plyometric jumps etc

The ability to store elastic energy depends on the magnitude of the stretching, the loading of the mechanism and the transition time between the termination of the eccentric component which is the loading of the spring at foot plant and the concentric component or the unloading of the spring at toe off.  

If there is a delay between the loading and the unloading then there is less stored elastic energy because a more prolonged delay will allow fewer cross bridges to remain attached after the stretch (Edman Et Al 1976).

The ability to store elastic energy depends on the magnitude of the stretching, the loading of the mechanism and the transition time between the termination of the loading or the eccentric component and the toe off or the concentric phase of the movement.

This means that the longer the contact time the more plastic deformity happens.  

It has been noted that the greater the velocity of stretching during the eccentric loading of the force of the impact into the mechanism the greater the storage of elastic energy (Rack & Westbury 1974)

This means that movements must be quick to develop maximum spring strength.

Footwear with cushions slows the loading time.

What this also means is that your landing with no binding devices or cushions on the foot ie; barefoot during dynamic stretching drills may be optimum for developing maximum spring strengthen and optimum efficiency.

What is interesting is that scientists have found that the longer the contact time the more plastic deformity happens.  This allows for maximum elastic deformity with minimal plastic deformities.  

It also means that a job where an athlete is standing on his feet for a sustained period of time is not the optimum job if you want to maximize performance efficiency and reduce risk of injuries from a locked spring.  

I stand on my feet 12 – 16 hours a day sometimes 7 days a week for weeks on end doing pain exorcisms to release chronically ill patients from physical lockdown of the spring mechanisms.  You would think that I should always be tired or in some myalgic state from fatigue of connective tissue structures or in a state of exhaustion, but Im not.

So how do I accomplish barefoot running 5-6 miles on solid concrete 3 days a week without injuries or conditions?

I prepare all my athletes and myself for barefoot training with the steps listed in this article. 

We cannot just do high impact, quick spring movements on a cold, stiff, or locked human spring.  

What has been recommended by many top strength coaches is that we do a combination of tendons stretching during the dynamic movements of the warm-up before this high impact spring training (plyometrics).

Dynamic Stretching – Performing the movements of running while stretching at the same time.

This points to a training or running style that is common amongst barefoot runners. The stride length is shorter and the foot, ankle, and the rest of the lower extremities remains completely relaxed at impact. This achieves maximum depth of the loading of the force of the impact into the spring and allowing the momentum and the force of gravity pulling the athlete to fall forward to create the SnapBack or elastic recoil release of energy in the toe off.

Essentially what the theory says is that by getting maximum eccentric loading of energy into the elastic recoil mechanism of the muscle tendon unit you are also developing a stronger muscle tendon unit with primary action occurring in the elastic components versus the muscular components. The more a runner relies on the elastic recoil or spring energy the more efficient the runner will become.

 Examples of this connective tissue strengthening drills are:

  1. zigzag runs
  2. side shuffles
  3. carioca drills and
  4. one other interesting training method is freestyle or structured barefoot dance activities.

Watch above as Dr. James Stoxen DC trains 2 time USA Taekwondo Champion Christian Medina Barefoot Running with Zig Zag  Drills

For more articles on Human Spring Strengthening drills,

To better understand how the body springs your body off the ground and how to improve your ability to do this efficiently I highly recommend you read these two posts:

6. Increase the Aerobic Endurance Strength of the Spring Suspension 

I find clinically that patients with a chronically locked spring are always tired.

You can have a stiff or released aerobically weak human spring and still have injuries.  The injuries happen after the spring suspension system muscles get tired through overuse or great strain or stress over distances leading to muscle pain fatigue and a high risk for injuries.

The other reason why we have injuries during impacts especially when adding miles is from the fatigue weakness of the elastic recoil mechanisms of the spring suspension system muscles.

When the spring suspension system muscles are over worked, fatigued during long runs or extended runs, the muscles fatigue faster and are more apt to lose control of the loading forces causing injury to the tissues.

This could manifest itself as foot pain from long walks or running.  This body fatigue might feel like pain in the bottom of the foot, pain in the calf muscle, tendinitis of the foot, sprained foot, tenderness in the foot tendons, a bruised heel, bone spurs in the foot or calcaneus spurs and general foot pain and swelling.

By training in zig zag patterns during long walks and runs you can can increase the fatigue scale therefore reducing the time when you experience muscle weakness and fatigue of the spring suspension system muscles.
This could help to reduce the fatigue strain that makes your muscles tired leading to some kind of myalgic state that lead to injuries.

7.  Increased Mental Stress Reduces Efficiency By Locking The Spring

One of the effects of fatigue related to mental stress that leads to poor performance in activities of daily life and even injuries is what I call stress fatigue, brain fatigue, anxiety fatigue and the worst one, fatigue depression.

The bottom line is that people walk and run differently when they are tired, anxious, depressed or angry.  You can see they are not themselves in their walk.

This is when we are stressed or angry during our running program, leading to a tension of the lower extremities that puts a pre-load tension on the spring suspension system mechanism that causes our spring suspension system to reach a fatigue limit causing muscle aches and fatigue and what I call arthritis fatigue.

When you have stress and fatigue combined this can make you wonder, why am I so tired?

The body is moving in an inefficient way as your mental state overrides the spring mechanisms ability to maintain efficient impact spring action thus switching to more of a muscle lever action, which is ineffectual causing you to become fatigued to0 quickly.

8. Remove The Binding Device. SHOES!

When we bind the foot with shoes all day it inhibits maximum foot movements such as abduction, adduction, inversion, eversion, supination and pronation.  (see illustration above) That is why we cannot wait to get our shoes off at night.


The bottom line is that the more deformable or elastic your body becomes the more it can dissipate shocks and in addition to that the more it can store elastic energy to improve efficiency of your performance.  Dr James Stoxen DC

So, as you can see, the spring is the thing when it comes to improving walking and running efficiency.

 If there was an owners manual that taught you that:

  • your body was a lever and a spring.
  • using the body as a spring vs a lever would allow you to improve performance, be more efficient and reduce risk of injuries
  • how to use your body as a spring vs a lever
  • how to fine tune your human spring so it doesn’t get broken or reduce performance over time
  • how to maintain your human spring so you can have it for a lifetime

This would be an important chapter in that human spring owners manual.

This video tutorial was taken from the lecture:

Title: Run For Life! Barefoot
Presented by Dr. James Stoxen DC
The Second World Anti-Aging Medical Conference
February 4th-6th 2011
Mexico City, Mexico

Thank you for your interest in my article!

Check out the Barefoot Runners Society and find a chapter near you. Here.. 


What Songs Do You Listen To When Running?

    What are the top three songs you listen to when running? When you run barefoot, part of the analysis of form and technique is to hear the sound your foot makes on impact. By listening very carefully and making adjustments to the tension of your landing gear you can soften up your landing […]

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What are the top three songs you listen to when running?

When you run barefoot, part of the analysis of form and technique is to hear the sound your foot makes on impact. By listening very carefully and making adjustments to the tension of your landing gear you can soften up your landing from a bang and a twist to a spring….

When it comes to running efficiency and reduction of injurious conditions…


As a reporter I met from the ‘Malaysia Star’, Jaya J says, “Footwear is comparable to mothers who smother. You know, you have all good intention of protecting and giving your feet the best care, but what you’re actually doing is smother those feet by binding them in that cushion so much that they lose their natural sustainability, which is the Human Spring.” To here more of what Jaya J says on her blog, click here 

So protecting them from the impacts you can no longer tell if you are impacting with spring or bang because the cushion fools you into thinking your spring is working when its really a cushioned, bang and twist.

Then you further isolate youself from hearing how hard your foot impacts with music you make it more difficult to fine tune your landing as a spring and not a bang.

The next music you will here will be coming from the reception area of Team Doctors, Treatment and Training Center or worse the hospital.

Im sure some sweet lady is going to flip out on me with a comment. :)

I like to listen to music to relax or I use the beat of the music 180/min to pace my run cadence!


Im cool with that. Dont break a nail!

I listen to the pitter patter of springy bare feet.

Its a new song I hope to be a big hit!

Seriously, feel free to post comments below on what music you like.

Barefoot Running Doctor

Video Tutorial #175 Barefoot Running? What If I Step On Something? part 2

  As you can see in the video when I was barefoot running on the trail I was meandering around the rocks.  This adds another dimension to the barefoot running. When you are running barefoot you have to watch where you step. This adds an extra dynamic to the ‘running training’ What that means is […]

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As you can see in the video when I was barefoot running on the trail I was meandering around the rocks.  This adds another dimension to the barefoot running.

When you are running barefoot you have to watch where you step. This adds an extra dynamic to the ‘running training’

What that means is if you have shoes on you don’t pay much where you are stepping or the environment. Just running perhaps listening to your ipod and the latest music.

I try to get into the training aspect of barefoot running. Where I can increase my coordination, balance and agility.

Dr. James Stoxen steps around the rocks

When I am meandering around the rocks I have to place my foot around the rock and it might be placed in the position above.

tibialis anterior muscle

My next step I might need to use my balance to go around as you can see in the picture above. (notice the tibialis anterior muscle) I use my balance to keep my body mass over my foot and avoid the rocks.

I don’t ever think of running barefoot on rocks as a negative. I look at it as a positive as an added dimension, variable to improve:

  • Agility
  • Balance
  • and Coordination



Video Tutorial #157a What Is Foot Pronation And Foot Supination? Is It Good Or Bad?

Over Pronation ICD-9 781.99 What Is Foot Pronation And Foot Supination? Is It Good Or Bad? Tips For Better Health Ask the doctor, Dr. James Stoxen DC You go to your doctor and they say, “Your feet pronate too much or over pronate.” Im sure that is what someone said to you which prompted you to […]

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10,000 shares Dr James Stoxen DC Team Doctors

Over Pronation ICD-9 781.99

What Is Foot Pronation And Foot Supination? Is It Good Or Bad?

Tips For Better Health

Ask the doctor, Dr. James Stoxen DC

You go to your doctor and they say,

Your feet pronate too much or over pronate.

Im sure that is what someone said to you which prompted you to google this article.

There are many ways to describe over pronation but the way I describe it is when the foot rolls outside a range I call the safe range between rolling from the outside of the foot to the inside of the foot.

This is what many call over pronation, excessive pronation, hyper pronation or sometimes called fallen arches.

Have you been told by your doctor that you have flat feet? Or do your feet supinate too much which is called over supination or excessive supination?

Pronation vs supination, which one is good or bad for you? and Why?

If you look at the biomechanical functions of the foot, during the normal gait cycle (walking cycle) the foot can pronate in many different ways based on rearfoot function (how the heel of the foot reacts) and forefoot function (how the front of the foot or toes react to the landing).

Both pronation and supination are natural, normal motions of the foot.

Pronation is a normal part of the gait cycle (walking/running) which helps to provide shock absorption at the foot. Normal pronation is the movement of the subtalar joint (between the talus and calcaneus) into foot eversion (turning the sole outwards), foot dorsiflexion (pointing the toes upwards) and finally foot abduction (pointing the toes out to the side).

The problem tends to be when someone pronates too much or supinates too much. This places extra stress on the foot and can result in running injuries, walking injuries, serious foot injuries and lower body injuries such as iliotibial band syndrome of the knee, heel spurs, ball of foot pain (metatarsalgia) Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), shin splints, cracking knees (chondromalacia), illiotibial band syndrome, hip pain, lower back pain and muscle weakness.

Safe and Unsafe Zone

EXCESSIVE PRONATION, Also referred to as overpronation is a biomechanical problem when the foot lands, rolls from the outside to the inside too far outside the safe range.

When it rolls too far outside the “safe range”, most of the person’s body weight is placed on the inner side of the foot while he’s walking, running or performing sports.

Pronation is a normal occurrence in the walking cycle.

The rolling is one of the ways the body safely lands the bodyweight when earths gravity pulls it to the ground.  First it rolls the weight across from the outside (supination) to the inside (pronation). Second it loads the weight into the foot with the spring down and spring up of the arch and the spring suspension system muscles.

For more information on how the body absorbs impacts safely and how to improve your ability to absorb these impacts safely read these two posts.  They are longer articles with graphics and videos to help you to better understand this so you can help yourself.

Video Tutorial #12 Is Running Bad For Your Knees? How Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts Of Running and Walking?

Video Tutorial #28 Self-Tests & Exercises To Reduce Over Pronation and Over Supination From Impacts During Walking and Running

When the arch mechanism, specifically its suspension system consisting of the muscles and tendons I call the landing muscles, spring suspension system muscles cannot handle the force of the rolling inward.  This is when a person’s arch collapses upon weight bearing.

The rolling of your foot to best absorb the force of impacts from walking or running is part of the normal gait cycle, allowing the foot to absorb shock and adjust to uneven surfaces.

Over Pronated Foot

However, too much of this motion (excessive pronation, over-pronation) can cause stress or chronic inflammation on the planter fascia ligament (plantar fasciitis), and lead to numerous other foot and ankle injury related conditions.

The Human Spring Model and Approach I developed has a simple explanation for why we get plantar fasciitis, shin splints and other impact related conditions.

The body has a natural spring mechanism to absorb the forces of the landings.  If your natural spring mechanism is weak or locked then it cannot absorb the total force of the impacts from walking and running which means some of the force is absorbed by your plantar fascia, shin bone and muscles and other weight bearing structures like your knees, hips and spine.

Over time, the force of the impact is absorbed into the tissues which can lead to conditions such as Achilles tendinitis, bunions, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis (heel and arch pain), post-tib tendinitis, shin splints, tarsal tunnel syndrome, as well as knee pain (chondromalacia, iliotibial band syndrome), hip pain and lower back discomfort. Related conditions include corns, calluses and hammertoes.

When standing too long, your heels and/or kneecaps may lean or turn inward, and you may abnormally wear out the soles and heels of your shoes very quickly. This is very common in people with flexible, flat feet. Flat feet may be hereditary or caused by obesity or pregnancy. Arches can also fall from trauma (from sports, repeated stress) and wearing shoes that bind the natural spring mechanism for long periods not allowing it to spring during walking.  Use it or loose it is the key and if you cannot use it because it is tied up by a shoe it will weaken.

Moderate to Sever Foot/Ankle Alignment

Our feet are the foundation of our body. So poorly aligned feet can have a profound effect on our legs, knees, hips and lower back. A person with pronation of the foot generally walks abnormally, on the inner edge of the foot.

Acquired flat foot syndrome or over pronation are conditions which are related to weakness in these muscles or over working these muscles.  These muscles are overworked most commonly when you are standing in one position for a long time with sustained muscle contraction of these suspension system muscles.  For more information on this read this post….

Video Tutorial # 159 – Foot Lock! What You Get From Standing Too Long And How To Prevent It

Undiagnosed and untreated, excessive pronation may lead to serious foot injuries and lower body injuries. Among the most common injuries are flat feet, weak arches, bunions, corns, calluses, plantar Facsitus (heel pain), Achilles Tendonitis (tendon pain), frequent ankle sprains, shin splints and knee, hip and back pains.

Are you a pronator of the foot or a supinator of the foot? Do you pronate too much, which is called over pronation or do you supinate too much which is called over supination? What is Supination of the foot? Is foot pronation and supination good or bad?

Both foot pronation and foot supination are natural, normal motions of the foot. Foot pronation occurs as the foot strikes the ground to allow for better shock absorption. The foot rolling inward absorbing the impact is the foot going through a pronation motion. Foot Supination occurs as the foot prepares to toe-off to provide a rigid platform for leverage.

You can do a foot pronation test by looking at the biomechanics of the foot, during a gait cycle analysis, which is a method used to assess the way we walk or run to highlight biomechanical abnormalities.

This causes a chain reaction of damage called a cascade.

 If you have over pronation:

It is impossible to get complete healing to maximum medical improvement of an ankle, knee, hip, lower back disc conditions without correcting the weakness in the suspension system or a properly fit extended medial counter support shoe.

for more in helpful information go to Video Tutorial #97 On Your Feet All Day? Fatigued? Achy? Over Pronation? I Recommend Footwear with Extended Medial Counters, click here

The negative cascade is predictable and looks something like this.  

  • Weakness in the foot spring suspension system muscles leads to excessive over rolling of the foot outside the safe range (over pronation)
  • This over rolling leads to abnormal movement patterns in the entire chain of bones above to the head.
  • The brain recognizes this abnormal movement but does not know how to fix it.  It reacts with muscle spasms that contract to try to prevent the abnormal movement but they cannot.  These spasms bring the bones together compressing the entire human spring mechanism.  This pattern of spasm is predicted according to how the person compensates for the over pronation and what footwear they have on.
  • Simple walking causes stress and strain and with the compressive force from the spams leads to wear and tear of the joints.
  • This leads to the release of inflammation.
  • Inflammation begins silent or non painful up the predicted pattern of muscle spasm.
  • Some of the joints that get more wear and tear, stress and strain start to hurt when the concentration of the inflammation exceeds what the brain can pick up as pain.
  • Since the left leg moves an average of 5000 rotations and the right leg moves and average of 5000 rotations together the lower back and spine moves 10000 rotations.  This is why the lower back tends to hurt before the feet, ankles, knees and hips.  This is more than likely the reason why most doctors are thrown off to the true cause of lower back pain in patients.  They don’t see the connection with the over pronation on the side of the back pain.
  • Inflammation, if left unchecked is a risk for conditions like depression.  For more information read this post and watch the video of my lecture, The Empathy Deficit in the Treatment of Depressed Patients and The Inflammation-Depression Connection Approach, I presented at the 4th Anti-Aging And Regenerative Medicine Conference, Bangkok, Thailand 2012 September 7-9, 2012
  • Chronic levels of inflammation is also linked to other diseases of aging such as heart disease, some cancers, Parkonsins, Alzheimers and many others.  For more information read this post, Video Tutorial #37 Aches, Pains, Allergies, Fatigue, Brain Fog, Diseases of Aging Have One Common Thread… INFLAMMATION
That is the likely cascade from walking 10,000 steps a day which amounts to around 3,650,000 abnormal impacts where the foot over rolls into over probation.

Also, for you athletes, this misalignment brings about muscular inefficiency, reducing speed and endurance while walking or running.

At first, excessive pronation (hyper-pronation) or over supination may cause fatigue. However problems may get worse, strain on the tendons, muscles and ligaments of the foot and lower leg can cause permanent damage over millions of impacts.  They are called plastic deformities.  For more information on what elastic deformities (good) vs plastic deformities (bad) are read this post:  The Human Spring, A Logical Way to Look At the Way The Body Works?

Conditions which can result are Hallux Abducto Valgus (bunions), having a painful heel (plantar Facsitus), Hallux Rigidus (stiff 1st toe),  Anterior compartment syndrome of the lower leg, Metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain), Shin Splints, Arch Pain, Achilles Tendonitis, Ankle Sprains, Osteochondrosis, Corns & Calluses, Knee Pain, (Illotibial band syndrome of the knee) Flat Feet, Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and Hammer Toes.

In this article I will explain in detail what is foot pronation and foot supination. As well as ways to prevent over supination of the foot and over pronation of the foot. I will also share exercises to prevent excessive pronation as well as what kind of shoes to look for to prevent foot overpronation.

The body’s weight is absorbed In two very interesting ways:

1. Foot Roll 

Supination to Pronation, Safe and Unsafe Range

When the foot first lands, it rolls, distributing the weight across the foot over a time so it is absorbed gradually in a healthy way without causing shock to the skeleton. The foot rolls from supination (the outside) to pronation (the inside). This is called ‘the Foot Roll.’

Stay within the safe range:

In order for the foot to land safely without damaging the body, it must roll within a safe range. That means if the foot starts rolling too far on the outside or rolls too far to the inside, it causes the twisting of the lower leg limb. This twisting force will cause abnormal stress and strain through the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the knee, hip, ankle, lower back, lower spine and up through the head which can cause damage.

The chief characteristic of this arch is its elasticity, due to its height and to the number of small joints between its component parts. Henry Gray (1821–1865).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.

When we have a weakness in the core of our body that leads to stress on the spine, we don’t brace the spine and tell the patient that they must be in this brace for the rest of your life, we mobilize the area and prescribe exercises that will keep the area moving in all directions that support the area ranges of motion plus we tell them that they must do these exercises for the rest of their life.

It’s the only thing you know…..

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is the most common cause of acquired flatfoot deformity in adults. The arch is further supported by the plantar aponeurosis, by the small muscles in the sole of the foot, by the tendons of the Tibialis anterior and posterior and Peronæus longus, and by the ligaments of all the articulations involved.  Henry Gray (1821–1865).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.

The Peronæus longus also everts the sole of the foot, and from the oblique direction of the tendon across the sole of the foot is an important agent in the maintenance of the arch. Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.

Primary care physicians often see patients who have foot pain. Although foot disorders may have many diagnostic possibilities, the majority can be explained via the pathologic biomechanics of hyperpronation and the resulting changes in the kinetic chain.

Four common problems often associated with hyperpronation are

  1. Bunions – Hallux Valgus
  2. Metatarsalgia – Pain in Ball of Foot
  3. Foot Pain – Plantar Fasciitis
  4. Calf Cramps – Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
  5. Shin Splints – Read this article…
  6. Cracking Painful Knees – Chondromalacia – Read this article…
  7. Hip Pain
  8. Lower Back Pain

Interventions that seek to reduce hyperpronation and strengthen foot muscles are often recommended for treating foot pain.

The muscles that assist in the negative or eccentric loading the force of impacts during walking running or the performance of sports or leisure activities are sometimes forgotten by doctors and trainers.

supportive cuff muscles

Why hasn’t my doctor or trainer talked about these muscles? (see above)

What are the muscles of the Pronation Supination Cuff, which I also refer to as the Landing Muscles or the Spring Suspension System Muscles?

We have to begin by learning about the muscles that we need to strengthen.  

The muscles of the spring suspension system of the foot and ankle consist of the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and peroneus brevis.

The Tibialis Posterior Muscle (blue tendon)

The tibialis posterior (blue tendon) is the most central of all the leg muscles, and is located in the posterior compartment of the leg.

It is the key stabilizing muscle of the lower leg.

You can also see the tibialis posterior (blue tendon) which attaches at the mid-arch  at the first second and third metatarsal cuneiform joints where the spring action happens on impact.

If this joint area is stiff or locked then the tibialis posterior cannot contract maximally against this joint. It’s impossible if the joint is locked. I find this muscle to be the weakest of the cuff.

They even have a syndrome named for it:

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is the most common cause of acquired flat foot deformity in adults. Although this term suggests pathology involving only the posterior tibial tendon, the disorder includes a spectrum of pathologic changes involving associated tendon, ligament, and joint structures of the ankle, hindfoot, and midfoot.

Early recognition and treatment is the key to prevention of the debilitating, long-termconsequences of this disorder. Conservative care is possible in the earliest stages, whereas surgical reconstruction and eventually arthrodeses become necessary in the latter stages. The purpose of this article is to review the symptoms, physical examination, radiological examination, classification, and treatment of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. / Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2000;30:68- 77. 

The Peroneus Longus and Brevis

As you can see (pictured above) the peroneus longus (pink tendon) comes from the lateral aspect of the foot cross over to add some support to the first ray.

The Peronæus longus also everts the sole of the foot, and from the oblique direction of the tendon across the sole of the foot is an important agent in the maintenance of the arch.

In human anatomy, the peroneus longus (also known as fibularis longus) is a superficial muscle in the lateral compartment of the leg, and acts to evert and plantar flex the ankle. The muscle, the longest and most superficial of the three peroneus muscles, is attached proximally to the head of the fibula and its ‘belly’ runs down most of this bone. It becomes a tendon that goes posteriorly around the lateral malleolus of the ankle, then continues under the foot to attach to the medial cuneiform and first metatarsal.

The peroneus brevis muscle (or fibularis brevis) lies under cover of the peroneus longus, and is a shorter and smaller muscle. It is also innervated by the superficial fibular (peroneal) nerve. The muscle acts in plantarflexion and eversion of the foot.

2. Foot Spring

The other way the foot absorbs the body weight is to spring down and spring up. We call this spring load, and spring unload. When the foot lands, it springs down and it stores energy. This spring down creates shock absorption and allows the foot to absorb the body weight over time which prevents shock to the skeleton.

This shock absorption also creates an absorption of energy or potential kinetic energy into the spring. Think of pushing down on the spring of a ballpoint pen. This is called potential energy.  When you let go, it snaps backward.

This spring energy is located in a three arch configuration which for all our purposes of simplicity is in the arch itself. The spring energy also comes from the muscles and the tendons that stretch when the foot descends.

You have to have the strength of 1.25 x bodyweight in your suspension system muscles to safely absorb forces from walking speeds, 3x bodyweight to absorb forces from running and everything in-between can be estimated.

So if you look in the mirror while standing and you observe an excessive over pronation at 50% of bodyweight – half your weight on each foot that your spring suspension system can absorb 2-3 times your bodyweight for thousands of impacts during jogging or running.  I don’t care if you have an artificial spring (cushioned shoe) or not.  The forces of impacts are not that much different with a cushion.

The only footwear design that may temporarily help you is the counter support mechanism.  Read this article for more information on the shoe design I recommend when you HAVE TO wear shoes for training.

Was My Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia Cured with a Pair Of Shoes? NO!

Video Tutorial #97 On Your Feet All Day? Fatigued? Achy? Over Pronation? I Recommend Footwear with Extended Medial Counters

Video Tutorial #86 Dr James Stoxen DC Recommends The Best Shoes To Prevent The Foot From Deforming

If you have over pronation while you are standing you have no business running.  Your suspension system cannot handle these forces.  Would you attempt to lift 200 pounds when your body can lift only 150?  Of course not.  The difference is the effects of the stress and strain with each impact accumulate so for many of you it confuses you where the pain is coming from.

You MUST train barefoot to completely develop your NATURAL spring mechanism for the long term.

Read this article on why I run barefoot to see why I am adamant about this!

Training the Muscles of the Pronation Supination Cuff/The Spring Suspension System Muscles/The Landing Muscles:

There are two training methods that must be employed to develop these muscle groups:

  1. The first way is training the suspension system muscles as a lever mechanism, with resistance exercises.
  2. The second phase of exercises involve training the body as a spring mechanism with impact exercises.

First of all these exercises must be done barefoot or in socks.  Any binding device such as a shoe and even those minimalist shoes will inhibit the movements of adduction, abduction, inversion, eversion, pronation and supination.

When doctors and scientists claim that footwear doesn’t inhibit the movement, they are defending footwear.  They quickly ask for research that claims that it inhibits movement. Certainly, anyone can do a study that determines what range of motion a healthy human being can get without footwear or barefoot. As well as a study with certain types of footwear that are wrapped around the foot and tied around the foot.

The focus of movements which they base these studies are usually plantar flexion and dorsi flexion. They do not focus on the movements that are vital to the strengthening of the suspension systems such as inversion, eversion, adduction and abduction.

In order to get the maximum range of motion (inversion, eversion, adduction and abduction),  you must train barefoot!

Phase I – release all the spasms and locking of the joints that are interfering with the natural stress and strain free loading of the force of the landings.  

I have all the deep tissue self massage treatments that you can do on the floor of your living room here.

Look at the videos below where I show you how to release the human spring with my deep tissue release tips:

Be sure to start on Video Tutorial # 78 and go through Video Tutorial #89:

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Self-Help, Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Knee Popliteus Muscle

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Self-Help, Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Gluteus Medius Muscle of the Hip.  This can be helpful for hip conditions.

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates How To Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Ankle (Subtalar Joint Inside).  This can be helpful for heel pain.

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates How To Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Ankle (Subtalar Joint Outside)  This can be helpful for heel pain.

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Under The Big Toe And Second Toe

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Above The Big Toe And Second Toe

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Scissor Stretching Of The Feet

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Stretching. This can be helpful for Mortons Neuromas

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Recommends The Best Shoes To Prevent The Foot From Deforming

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Self-Help Deep Tissue Of The Ankle Mortise.

This can be helpful for ankle conditions

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Stretching Of The Foot While Sitting At Your Chair

Watch above as Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates A Stretch To Increase The Flexibility Of The Arch Of Your Foot

Phase II- Training the suspension system muscles as a lever mechanism, with resistance exercises.

One might think that’s it’s impossible to train the feet just like we do our upper body because we can’t grab a weight with our foot like we can with our hands.

It did take some ingenuity to be able to develop a way of strengthening the foot and ankle muscles like we do muscles of our arms etc.

Currently, to my knowledge there are no machines specifically designed for this purpose.

Resistance Band Training  - Of course you can attach rubber bands to the feet and exercise them that way.  (I have never found this to be so effective, as the band tension changes the further we stretch it).

I prefer to use the cuff with the low pulley mechanism to do these exercises.
I have some other really effective ways to train this area listed at the end of this article that you may like.

I developed a novel way to strap the weights to the foot, ankle and other body parts with cuffs made from Velcro or with belt buckle types of connections to the foot.

The number one priority is to exercise the muscles which support and strengthen the human spring first.

You will find from reading this post that even if we are exercising according to the current guidelines set by accredited fitness organizations and professionals that these programs are incomplete.

I have researched the top 20 books published on fitness training and found that not one of them adequately addresses the spring suspension system or the spring support system of the remaining 7 floors.

Remember, You must do these exercises barefoot!

Also over reliance on ergogenic devices such as lifting belts, hand grips bandages for the joints special shoe inserts wedges for squatting, elastic training shirts can modify the neuromuscular system to such an extent that efficient or safe training without them becomes difficult. Professor Yuri Verhkoshansky

Book:  SupertrainingDr Mel Siff Professor Yuri Verhkoshansky

I really can’t understand how people think that they can put a binding device on their foot and tie it tight and then think they’re going to be able to get full range of motion in the foot during motions outside of just running straight ahead. It’s ridiculous to think that it’s possible because it absolutely is not possible to get full development of these muscles with a shoe on.

For those of you who are required to wear workout shoes at your fitness center, I suggest that you bring this blog post or send this post to the manager of your fitness center.  Then ask them if they can have an area specifically for training with bare feet or with socks.

This builds floors 1 – 3, however many train with their shoes on and the exercises are not as effective as the ones we teach in the Human Spring Approach. We don’t see this as part of the core routine yet. That is something that definitely needs to change.

I am about to explain to you the spring suspension system training routine that will fill the gap to the exercises that are missing from the training routine for running and bodybuilding. This is the area that is missing from your fitness routine as you are only training the muscles from floor three through seven.

Smart people train the spring suspension system muscles if they’re looking to have long-term fitness results rather than short-term and to prevent a high risk of physical breakdown of the spring suspension system.

You are doing the right thing for your future.

Cuff  With Rope and Weight Method:

You can get a cuff from from any fitness store that will wrap around your foot and has a hook for attaching low pulleys, resistance bands or just a rope.

You can attach the cuff around your foot and then tie a rope to the couch and at the other end of the rope tie a free weight, a gallon of milk in a plastic container full of sand under one fourth of the way full, one half full or full of sand, or anything that provides various resistance.

What you do next is either drag this object across the ground either in the sand, in the grass, on your carpet, on the street, or through the snow by isolating the pulley through your foot and ankle in the motions of inversion, eversion, abduction, adduction, plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, and combined movements of pronation and supination.

examples of this kind of exercise are below:

Video Tutorial #105 Foot Eversion Exercise, click here to view
Video Tutorial #106 Foot Inversion Exercise, click here to view

Cuff With Resistance Bands Method

There are many companies that will sell you resistance bands of variable resistance. These are popular with hard-core trainers who know the value of training these body parts that are not considered the Hollywood beauty muscles but more for function.

What I like about these bands is that they’re portable so you can put them in your suitcase or your bag and bring them with you anywhere in the world. What I don’t like about them is that the resistance increases as the band is stretched further rather than a constant resistance of dragging weight or lifting a weight.

I still think this method is a fantastic approach to develop the muscles of the feet and worth every minute of time in this method for long-term goals.

You train the exact same way as other resistance exercises doing either sets of 15, 12, 10, eight, six, four’s, threes or triples depending on if you want to build strength or power or both.

You train this area 3 days a week for fitness or 2 days a week with a light day and a heavy day for power and speed.

Video Tutorial #148 Bosu Ball Foot Training, click here
Video Tutorial #76 Bosu Ball Lateral Step, click here
Video Tutorial #177 Side Lunge With Cable, click here
Video Tutorial #105 Foot Eversion Exercise, click here
Video Tutorial #106 Foot Inversion Exercise, click here
Video Tutorial #107 Ankle Exercise Training, click here
Video Tutorial # 108 Cable Hip Adduction And Foot Inversion, click here
Video Tutorial #109 Hip Adduction Exercise by Miguel Macho Hernandez,  click here
Video Tutorial #109 Hip Abduction Exercise by Miguel Macho Hernandez,  click here
Video Tutorial #111 Rectus Abdominal Cable Crunch Pull Downs, click here
Video Tutorial #112 Abdominal Oblique Exercise, click here
Video Tutorial #176 Half Foam Roll Exercises, click here

Spring Suspension Muscles

The muscles of the foot, called the spring suspension muscles, must be strong in order to prevent over rolling or supination or pronation to maintain the foot in a safe range. Many of you may not have strong enough spring suspension system muscles to be able to overcome over supination or over pronation. As I stated above, this can cause damage.

Bio Mechanic Spring Load

Phase III – Do spring training exercises which are multidirectional drills and or plyometrics.

We don’t only walk or run straight ahead but we also change our direction. We MUST do exercises such as side shuffles or Zig Zag runs as well as other movements besides walking straight ahead.  That is because these muscles are stimulated during zig zag, side to side and circular running.

Watch Video Tutorial #133 Circle Walk, Jog, Run, click here

Read Video Tutorial #179, 45 Degree Zig-Zag Hop, Jump Or Run, click here

The foot and ankle are three-dimensional objects which requires them to have balance and strength in all ranges of motion for the structure to work according to way we were designed.

Many Doctors and scientists think the body moves only in four directions claim that the body uses a stiff lever system to push off.

This is simply not possible when the mechanism is functioning the way it was intended.   Doctors admit that during impact, the foot rolls from supination to pronation as and at the same time, it loads energy from the top to the bottom of the arch mechanism.

This combination of movements; rolling in and loading, makes it impossible for the foot to  go into a stiff lever position at any given time. This is because it is a dynamic structure that is moving with what we call it elastic deformity, storing energy within the deformation of the foot shape as well as deformation of the tendons making them longer then snapping back to their original length. Dr James Stoxen DC

When impact involves a changing of length of the tendon as it stretches to load the arch then snaps back to unload the arch we have to say that this is not a lever system as is normally described in current literature.

As the foot, ankle and its tendons returns back to their exact original shape they are releasing FREE energy by recycling energy within the spring mechanism.

Do you need a shoe when performing impact drills?  

Then doctors who claim the body as a lever system and defend footwear is binding as non-consequential to the health of the human foot quickly contradict themselves by saying that shoes are required to support the foot during impacts.

If something is claimed to be supporting the structures of the foot then it has to apply a force against it to maintain it in the position of support.

So claiming that a shoe cannot be inhibiting motion and at the same time claiming that it inhibits motion by supporting it is a contradictory statement.

Individually, each person who reads this has different fears or concerns regarding doing impact drills without support.  Gymnasts certainly impact the ground in multiple directions when doing tumbling exercises.

In my opinion, if we can do impact drills without supports interfering with normal adaptation then we should do these multi directional impact drills without external supports.

Do I do zig-zag runs, circle runs, shuffle runs, ricochet and cariocca drills barefoot?  Of course I do!

Anyone that tells you this has not thought this out carefully both theoretically and considering simple common sense.

Can you get hurt doing these drills barefoot?

Of course you can:

  • if you have a preload compressive force in the spring mechanism prohibiting the maximum force of impact to load safely into the spring
  • If your running form and technique does not provide for a safe loading the forced of the landing into the spring
  • If you do not run in a safe environment.

I train my spring suspension system 100% of the time when running barefoot by running in multiple angles. 

I do my barefoot running as a training exercise by running the entire 5 to 6 miles in zigzag patterns of approximately 2 to 3 feet on either side of the imaginary straight line, highway divider line or line in the sidewalk or street.

Normal force = perpendicular to the ground and the spring

Forces must land with the center of gravity perpendicular to the spring for maximum protection. If the part is symmetrical then distribution of forces over the human spring center of gravity are more efficient.

Pronator Supinator Cuff AKA Arch Sling, Arch Spring Cuff; The Spring Cuff Or The Spring Suspension System

When we are training with impact drills we are primarily strengthening the tendons and connective tissue structures that increase true spring strength.

For example it has been found that much of the most selective in running is associated with tensioning of the tendons, which thereby store energy for successful cycles of movement (Cavagna 1977).  

This tensioning or rewinding of the tendon fibers burned largely isometric muscle contractions is achieved with very little change in the length of the muscle fibers themselves.

The fact that the forces involved are derived mainly from isometric contractions means a decreased energy expenditure because isometric and attractions are mode dynamically are considerably less expensive than dynamic contractions.  Supertraining Yuri Verkhoshansky Mel C. Siff

I call these muscles the pronator supinator cuff, another word for them could be the arch spring cuff; the spring cuff or the arch spring suspension system like a car. These muscles perform movements that you may not be aware of called foot inversion, foot eversion, foot abduction and foot adduction, the combined movements of foot pronation and foot supination.

These muscles are not well known by trainers and doctors because they are somewhat complicated, but I will make it easy on you. These muscles are like interlocking fingers of your hands that keep the foot safe from rolling too far into supination and pronation. They keep the foot in the safe range.

The most important muscles in this area are called the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, and the peroneal muscles.  These muscles are more important to understand than the quads, glutes, hamstrings or abbs because they maintain the human spring and without health in the human spring or the foundation of your body your entire body will collapse.


Inflammation Patterns / External Forces



To summarize, everyone is guilty of foot supination and foot pronation. If not, we’d have a difficult time walking or running. The problem tends to be when someone pronates too much  or supinates too much . Too much pronation is called overpronation. This occurs when the arch collapses either at too much of an angle or it stays collapsed too long through the gait cycle. If the foot overpronates during the gait cycle analysis, there is a distinctive inward collapse of the arch. It’s hard to see with the untrained, naked eye at full speed, but on video it’s very apparent. That is why I recommend doing a gait analysis.

Develop your spring suspension system muscles and spring suspension system with impacts.  It is best for your long term health and an anti-aging lifestyle!  

“Champions will do what others don’t want or can’t do and that’s why they are champions!”

Dr James Stoxen 


This video excerpt was taken from the lecture Presentation: 
Abnormal Biomechanics And The Aging Process
At The 1st Anti-Aging International Symposium And Exposition
Tokyo, Japan
June 16-18, 2006

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Why Do I Run Barefoot…

  Dr Stoxen, How Did You Discover the Human Spring Model and Why Do You Run Barefoot? When I first opened my practice, I wanted to be able to heal people and, at the same time, train sports champions. I went on a personal and professional mission not to only build a complete knowledge of […]

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Dr Stoxen, How Did You Discover the Human Spring Model and Why Do You Run Barefoot?

When I first opened my practice, I wanted to be able to heal people and, at the same time, train sports champions.

I went on a personal and professional mission not to only build a complete knowledge of the human body – the way we move and why – but to uncover the secrets of elite performance.

My first decade in practice, I volunteered to treat athletes at every possible sports event, including 50 national and international championships. I traveled to the former Soviet Union to study plyometrics and plyometric training (high impact training drills that enhance the effects of traditional resistance exercises). I also observed elite track and road training as well as competitions around the world. The athletes benefited from the on – site treatments and at the same time I was learning the secrets of how to achieve elite level performance from the best doctors, coaches and athletes in the world.

There is a large gap between what coaches require for athletes to perform at the elite level and what most doctors are recommending.

Many doctors tell us that high impacts are bad for us


When you ask a top coach what to do to achieve in sports they recommend plyometrics.

Plyometrics involves high impact drills.

Who is Correct?

This misunderstanding is easily cleared up with this statement.

If your body can resist the impacts then impacts are good for the body.  The whole complex design of the human body that allows you to absorb impacts is somewhat complex so I just call this an intact impact resistance or “spring mechanism”

When we discuss this impact resistance or “spring mechanism” (or Human Spring model) Looking at the body as a spring rather than the lever it makes it easy to understand better why in some cases impacts are bad and in other cases why impacts improve health and human performance.

Here are the important questions that needed answers:

  • If high impact training like running, plyometrics or spring training develops a stronger spring, giving athletes more speed, quickness, balance, coordination, agility and efficiency then – are reduced performance levels, loss of balance, poor coordination, less agility and an overall weakened performance the result of weakened human spring strength?
  • If the spring mechanism serves as a buffer between joints, protecting the body from injuries and allowing for stress – and strain – free motion, then could it be that the reason some patients have injuries that won’t heal is because they have a locked spring mechanism?
  • If spring strength is the secret to optimum performance then is the loss of human spring the secret to the decline of health?
  • If spring defines our youth then does a loss of spring in the step define aging?

The impact resistance or “spring mechanism” (or Human Spring model) can perhaps help to better understand or explain many mysteries about human suffering for us.

If we look at the body is like a giant spring composed of millions of springs which are muscles, ligaments, tendons and even spring mechanisms (the feet) that absorb shock and recycle energy through the elastic recoil mechanism. This elastic recoil spring mechanism allows sports to be more efficient in movement.  If we think of walking or running as a spring off the ground rather than banging into the ground then we can see how come plyometrics work for some and others it causes injuries.  For that matter we can see how even simple walking can cause joint pain as well.  The mechanism can’t even handle these light impacts.

Human Spring Model, click to enlarge

These studies, my observations and my hands-on work have led me to develop a new way of looking at the human body that I feel could help us understand why it breaks down, doesn’t heal and degenerates.

Simply put, every movement we make has assisted by elastic recoil mechanisms.  If two objects collide millions of times like the human body and the earth they should damage each other.  The ground is damaged.  We call that a path.  The body should be damaged but it somehow stays in tact even after 100 million impacts.  This is common to have this many impacts by your 30th birthday.

(The American Podiatry Association says the average person takes 5000 – 15000 steps a day x 365 days a year x 30 years is 54M – 150M impacts in 30 years)

How does it do that?  The footwear industry says we need a cushion or a shock absorber between us and the ground to absorb the impacts however there are people in third world countries that live their entire life barefoot or with no shock absorption.  So how do we absorb so many millions of impacts safely?

I theorized that one of the most logical explanations is that the entire body is engineered as a giant spring mechanism.  A human spring mechanism that runs from toe (the master spring is in the arch of the foot) to head.

How do you explain why we cannot run barefoot as easy as an adult as we can as a child.  When the supportive mechanism weakens it stiffens.  The stiffened spring mechanism is not so springy.  We need it to be springy so it can flex with forces of the landings.  If it cannot flex with the landings it makes sense that stress and strain free running is impossible.  Also a stiff abrupt landing causes a shock to the skeleton and stress and strain can interfere with the healing process.

By releasing this stiffness, and by strengthening and plyometrically training the impact resistance (spring) mechanism of  the body, we may be able to restore the ability to take impacts better.

What do I feel makes our body weak at resisting impacts.  I feel that there are many causes but I feel the main culprit is unnatural movement while we are walking and running. What causes unnatural movement? One cause could be ill fitting footwear which act as binding or restrictive devices on the body.

If you understand that the body is a giant spring like I suggest you do, you will now see the cause of some very common unexplained conditions and afflictions in a different light

  1. When we look at the body as a impact resistant (spring) mechanism rather than a (push) lever mechanism it allows us to understand why I recommend barefoot running vs shod or restricted spring running (shod running).
  2. What is even more exciting is it allows us to have a rationale explanation for why many have unexplained chronic pain as it relates to a break down of the spring protective mechanism that protects us from the landings not allowing our bodies to heal. The abnormal foot landing with the different arrays of footwear styles start to take their toll on the muscles and joints leading to stress and strain, wear and tear, the release of inflammation and pain.  Lets face it, we seldom select shoes based on their ability to provide us with a precise foot plant to maintain stress free walking.  In my opinion so many people have misdiagnosed fibromyalgia because the doctors don’t do gait studies on you while you barefoot walk.  I recommend you get a second opinion on conditions that do not heal after 2-3 weeks of progressive therapy and especially on a quick diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
  3. The human spring model could provide a rational for why so many have chronic fatigue.  If it is true that we are a giant spring then we know springs recycle energy when the impact force is loaded.  The spring deforms its shape, stores energy then reforms back to its exact original shape releasing the energy.  That storing and releasing recycling of energy with every step happens with some allowing them to have energy and with those who have a stiff, weak or locked spring they don’t recycle energy.

If your blood work and all other tests are normal and the doctor cannot find a reason for your chronic pain go to an expert on gait and have them do a gait study on you.  Your doctors have to watch you walk to see if you bounce off the ground or bang into the ground.  This is an oversimplified explanation.  This is called a gait analysis.  Not all doctors have expertise in this area so maybe it is best to seek out a specialist for this study.

The elite level sports training world changed their protocols back in the 70′s with the advent of plyometric training.  This involves training with high impacts to bolster the ability to spring off the ground better.

Plyometrics, in my opinion, is training the human body as a spring mechanism.  This method of training invented by famed Russian sports scientist, Yuri Verkhoshansky involves high impacts into the human spring to bolster human performance by creating a positive adaptation of the spring mechanisms in the joints, ligaments and tendons.  I met and studied his ideology directly with him during with several trips to Moscow back in 1987-89.   This human spring training is currently the most widely accepted approach to high level training in the world.

The founder of this approach to training Verkhoshansky talk about Hookes Law of physics when referencing the training approach.  This is a law of physics related to the function of a spring.  

Dr James Stoxen DC at the 1988 All African Track and Field Championships

In 1988 I was invited to work at the fifth All African Track and Field Championships in Annaba, Algeria. The most extreme difference between the African athletes and my patients back home, I found was the spring in their feet and legs.

Their tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles (I call the landing or spring suspension system muscles) I noticed were highly developed. What I discovered was that some of these athletes trained at high speeds in shoes that were more like slippers with no cushion and many trained barefoot.

That fueled my desire to change my approach to care for patients suffering from a wide variety of ailments. I believe the reason for why my patients were not performing at optimum potential and why their bodies were not injury resistant was attributable to a weakness in these musles. Lets face it, how many training programs involve specific training of the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles without shoes on?  You cannot even go to a fitness center and take off your shoes without getting kicked out.

After reading every piece of relevant scientific literature I could find and years of clinical studies with thousands of patients, I hypothesized that walking and running with footwear without balanced training the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles without shoes on was one of the main causes of the acceleration of the aging process in the musculoskeletal system.  It is the foundation of the body from which all movement is determined as it is interconnected. 

Invitations to lecture

I was invited to address the Tenth International Congress on Anti-Aging &. Biomedical Technologies, in Las Vegas entitled Faulty Biomechanics of the Lower Extremities, A Presentation of how Simple Biomechanics Dysfunction Accelerates the Aging Process. This same lecture went through an evolutionary process through my clinical experiences and scientific studies, while preparing for lectures such as “walking biomechanics, how abnormal movement patterns accelerate the aging process” at the Royal College of Physicians in London England, medical conferences in Bali Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,Tokyo Japan, Hangzhou, China, Cape Town, South Africa, Monte Carlo, Principality of Monaco, and Guang Zhou, China.

Dr James Stoxen DC lectures at the World Congress of Anti-Aging Medicine and Regenerative Biomedical Technologies in Chicago 2007

This evolution of my theory and approach compelled me to submit an abstract for a lecture entitled Elastic Recoil Mechanisms – How Footwear Accelerates Aging Process. In August 2007, the medical commission of the 15th Annual World Congress of Anti-Aging Medicine and Regenerative Biomedical Technologies in Chicago approved the abstract.

Close to 2000 doctors and scientists heard the scientific rational argument for why walking and other forms of exercise, including running, should be performed barefoot. To my knowledge, this was the first time the concept of ‘shoe-less’ exercise including barefoot running had been presented to an international audience of physicians. (Pre-dating Born To Run and the Harvard Barefoot study published in Nature).

If you could run barefoot as a child but cannot do it now, is this the first sign of aging?

Some doctors advise against striving for a barefoot lifestyle.  Why do they hold you back from striving to do the activities you could easily do as a youth?

That lecture evolved through preparations in 2007 for lectures in Florida, Columbia, Germany and Japan. Certainly, at the time, it seemed as though I was the only one telling the medical establishment that footwear should not be worn during walking or running and the body should be trained while barefoot.

In 2008-2009, it gained speed when I switched the focus of the biomechanics from walking to running speeds with the lecture series Run For Life! New Innovative Examining Procedures to Determine the Effects on the HUMAN SPRING from Variable Forces on Lower Extremities during Multiple Speed Ambulation for lectures in Beijing, Dubai, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Cambridge (SENS), Frankfurt and in Mexico City (2010)

In spring of 2010 I took the next logical step in developing my theory – I prepared my body for the cardio workout that was optimal for my health, barefoot running.

I released, strengthened and trained my body like a spring mechanism in preparation for the experience. My first run was a route on concrete pavement on the Chicago lake front – and because I had prepared my body for the impacts, studied and practiced the proper form and technique, I eased into running 5 – 7 miles, 3 days a week with no complications whatsoever.

I finished off 2010 barefoot running in the AIDS Walk Run 10K and the Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure in honor of my mother, Lydia Stoxen, who died of breast cancer in 1995.

By the end of the year I had run 350 miles and experienced all the predicted improvements in my health. . My goal is to compete in a half marathon and possibly a marathon for 2012.

In September, 2010, I launched my next lecture series around the world, Run for Life, Barefoot at the 2nd annual Bangkok Congress on Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.

Dr James Stoxen DC Running Barefoot

The following day I ran barefoot in the 14th Annual Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s Minimarathon (10K) held on the streets of the Ministry of Health in the Thai capital.

This lecture was also presented in Mexico City in February and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I have been invited to discuss the Human Spring Approach to preventive medicine in Shanghai, China in 2012.

I am honored to have been able to spread the word regarding the benefits of barefoot running to medical physicians and scientists at ACME medical conferences as part of detailing my theories and practices.

How I Got My Wiggle Back

In February 2012, Anthony Field from the famed ‘Wiggles’ children’s group released the book, ‘How I Got My Wiggle Back’, A Memoir of Healing. Chapter Seven is entitled Barefoot and Lovin’ It.  In the book Anthony discusses the barefoot lifestyle that I recommended for him in 2007.

Shoe companies say we need an artificial spring between these two colliding objects, our human spring bodies and the earth.

In reality, all we really need to do is find a way to absorb the impact into our human spring that the cushion represents and we can do away with these artificial supports and protective devices and run barefoot for life.

Thank God I found a way to do this for myself at age 50.  I don’t want to be on the path from barefoot to bedridden by constantly adding additional supports to my body to help it to function.

There is no challenge to that!

Challenge your doctor and trainer to help you reestablish the human spring you had in your youth.

Raising Awareness Of Barefoot Training and Running

I plan on giving away all my knowledge, advice and self – help tips here in this blog site. I look forward to addressing visitors questions to the best of my ability. If I cannot provide the appropriate answer I will find the leading experts in the world who can.

I know some people live to run. We all should be running, barefoot – to live a long healthy, active and fulfilling life.

Dr James Stoxen DC

INTERVIEW: Dr James Stoxen DC, Human Spring and Barefoot Running, on “Second Opinion with Dr Ron Klatz”

Interview of Dr. James Stoxen Dc by Dr. Ron Klatz on Second Opinion, November 21, 2010 The Spring in Your Step: The Role of Foot Biomechanics in Overall Health  With show host Dr. Klatz, guest Dr. Stoxen explains the physics and engineering of foot biomechanics. Dr. Stoxen presents the concept of “The Human Spring,” and discusses its […]

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Interview of Dr. James Stoxen Dc by Dr. Ron Klatz
on Second Opinion, November 21, 2010
The Spring in Your Step: The Role of Foot Biomechanics in Overall Health 
With show host Dr. Klatz, guest Dr. Stoxen explains the physics and engineering of foot biomechanics. Dr. Stoxen presents the concept of “The Human Spring,” and discusses its specific implications in overall health. Find out how shoes can cause damage to the foot and why “barefoot is best”
You’re listening to health radio. Health at the speed of sound.

It’s time now for Second Opinion, with your host Dr. Ronald Klatz, president and physician founder of the A4M, American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine.

Second opinion with Dr. Ronald Klatz shares the latest breaking ideas in advanced preventive health.

This show is not designed or intended to prevent, diagnose or cure any illness, consequently Dr Klatz is not in a position to respond to requests for medical advice.

Instead please consult with a qualified physician.  You may find one on the World Health’s directory online at

And now, here is Dr. Ronald Klatz

Dr Klatz:  This is Dr Ronald Klatz with another addition of Second Opinion and I am very pleased to have another fine interesting and exciting guest for you today.  His name is Dr James Stoxen DC.  Dr Stoxen is an internationally renown and respected doctor of chiropractic. He’s the director of Team Doctors, Treatment and Training Center. Team Doctors is one of the premiere health and training centers of the world combining chiropractic care with active rehabilitation and training for world-class athletes. It is a private rehab-training center for national and international competitors.

Dr Stoxen also provides on-site chiropractic care and anti-aging consultation and care to numerous top celebrity entertainers all over the world, and serves as the meet and team chiropractor to over 70 national and world championships. In 2008 Dr Stoxen was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame.  Welcome to the show Dr Stoxen.

Dr Stoxen:  Thank you for inviting me Dr Klatz.

Dr Klatz:  It’s really my pleasure. Today we are going to talk about many things  on second opinion we will discuss spinal disease, herniated discs, back pain, longevity, lower limb rehabilitation and new discoveries when it comes to running.  We are also going to talk about traction and what I feel is really exciting is your new book on the spring mechanism of the lower limb.  What everyone wants to know about Dr. Stoxen is about your celebrities.

Dr Stoxen:  Well I have received this new moniker, which is the Celebrity Chiropractor.  I wasn’t seeking to be a celebrity doctor. It just happened. In 2003 I received a call to go to the theater and take care of a tour of a named celebrity entertainer.

Some of the people you may know might be the American Idols Tour, Dancing with the Stars Tour, So You Think You Can Dance Tour, the Mariah Carey tour, the Beyonce Tour, the Alicia Keys tour, Cirque’ du Soleil maybe some of you know Aerosmith tour.

Dr Klatz:  We know Aerosmith

Dr Stoxen:  And the Wiggles

Dr Klatz:  The Wiggles.  Okay! Tell us about the Wiggles.

Dr Stoxen:  Well the Wiggles are a fine group you know, in fact they were one of my first clients, back in 2004.  It was a pleasure to meet them. At that time most of their act was singing and some light dancing but now they are tearing up the stage with this circus act that has advanced tumbling, acrobatics and it’s almost like they’ve transformed into athletes and circus performers.

Dr Klatz:  So in essence your team doctor for many of these professional tours but are you are also a team physician for Olympic athletes, professional boxers, mixed martial artists and people of that nature, isn’t that true?

Dr Stoxen:  Right. What people are drawn to is this concept of the human spring mechanism approach. I developed this and it’s worked so well with developing natural sources of energy through the human spring mechanism during movements.

Dr Klatz:  Now you talk about the human spring. what are you talking about?  Are you  talking about the lower extremity?

Dr Stoxen:  Well what we are talking about is that the entire human spring is developed and designed with a spring mechanism to allow the body to protect itself from the landings. In other words, simple walking or running involves collisions with the ground. So the body has developed a protective mechanism in the foot that integrates with the entire body to protect it from those collisions.

We have approximately 3.6 million collisions or steps per year and if you weigh 150 pounds, simple walking is a 200-pound collision with every step. Running creates forces during the collisions that could add up to 750 pounds of collisions forced with each step. So the body has a built in spring mechanism to bounce it off the ground rather than bang and twist it into the ground. So it protects you.

The second most important function the human spring does is that it serves as a recycling mechanism to recycle energy through the human spring. The bodyweight lowers into the human foot through this force that descends or loads the spring. The human foot stores energy and releases the energy when the foot releases or when it takes off that recycled energy.  So this allows us to walk further and run further without getting tired.  Doctors are having a lot of problems diagnosing the cause of chronic fatigue.  It is when patients have problems with being tired then they reach for those energy drinks and other forms of pick-me-ups when they actually have a breakdown in the spring mechanism that they are unaware of.

Dr Klatz:   If I can understand this correctly.  The body has a natural spring mechanism that conserves energy when we walk or we move or essentially anytime that we are up and about. And there’s something that happened to us early in life certainly before the age of 30 where we lose this natural spring mechanism which acts as a shock absorber to conserve energy and because of that we lose energy and we become more tired more fatigued etc.   Am I missing anything?

Dr Stoxen:  The other thing to understand is that we know if we ask 100 doctors, how many kids they’ve seen with herniated discs they would say “I have never seen one in my life.”

We know from children that if we check their feet they are very pliable and springy opposed to adults feet that become stiffer as we age. As long as we can understand this we can fight back. We understand babies and children are always kicking their shoes off it’s kind of crazy. When we get home we can’t wait to get our shoes off.  We love to walk around without shoes.

The reason why is footwear by nature are a binding device that binds the human foot and restricts the movement. It doesn’t allow the spring mechanism to go through its full engineering cycle.

Dr Klatz: We aren’t just talking about the foot.  We are talking about the whole musculoskeletal system as part of that spring, yes?

Dr Stoxen:  Right, what we are forgetting is that when we exercise or run then we are told to exercise without binding or devices so that we can get the full extent of the natural positive stress on the joints to make them go to the positive adaptation process which makes them stronger the next day. The only place on the region of the body that does that is in the human foot.

Instead we put on a shoe that binds the spring mechanism which doesn’t allow it to go through its full natural motion. When we exercise with this same binding advice we wonder why our feet hurt and why our body breaks down from the floor. That’s where we lose, because we have lost the ability to absorb the shock and recycle the energy

You know people have asked me are you an anti-aging doctor?  Yes I am.  Are you an anti-shoe doctor?   Yes I am anti-shoe.

This year in June I recalled as a child, that I was able to run barefoot without any problems and felt great.  So instead of going from barefoot to shoes, to orthopedic shoes to bedridden, I have reversed the process and decided to go barefoot again.

Dr Klatz:  You know that is really fascinating.  We are going to break right now and we will be back with Dr James Stoxen DC


We want to thank the sponsor, the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine. The worlds largest preventive medicine society for underwriting this program.  The academy represents 22,000 physicians and scientists dedicated to finding answers to disorders we call human aging.  Log on to A4M’s web site, to sign up for the longevity e-journal and find an A4M trained physician specialist near you.

Dr Klatz:  And we are back.  This is Dr Ron Klatz.

We’re here with Dr. James Stoxen.  Dr. Stoxen is the director of Team Doctors in Chicago and we are talking about spinal disease, herniated discs, back pain and longevity.  We are going to talk about lower limb rehabilitation, new discoveries in running, running technologies and the new exciting concept that Dr. Stoxen invented called the human spring mechanism.

Now the last time we left off we were talking about how the spring is related to energy recycling, fatigue and how the breakdown in the human spring mechanism is possibly responsible for a lot of complaints that we hear so much about today.   Tell me what sort of problems specifically do you see that are present when you see a breakdown of the spring mechanism?

Dr Stoxen:  First of all we have to understand what the spring mechanism is.  The way we describe it is this;

When the foot lands on the ground, the load of the weight of the body enters the foot and normally it spreads the load of that force across the foot through these 33 different joints. Those joints bend and spreads that force so the force of the landing does not come as a bang and twist to the body.   So we are not getting a lot of shock to the body.

Dr Klatz:  Now just to be clear..   Let’s say an individual weighs 180 pounds.  What kind of force of impact does that translate to when they are running?

Dr Stoxen:  When you are running at full speed it is about 900 pounds of impact force on the foot with every step.

Dr Klatz:  With every step?

Dr Stoxen:  Yes with every step

Dr Klatz:  Go on…

Dr Stoxen:  And there’s 1000 steps per mile. So if you’re talking about 10K its 6.2 miles or 6200 collisions with 900 pounds of force per collision into the human foot and human spring mechanism.  So that is 5,580,000 pounds of force that the body is resisting in one hour more or less.

Dr Klatz:  That’s a lot of force on the human body.  So if you are overweight then you are just multiplying that?

Dr Stoxen:  Yes, an additional 10 pounds on the human body is an additional 50 pounds of force on the human spring.

Dr Klatz:  Wowsers. Very interesting so how do we maintain our human spring? how do we protect it and how do we repair it?

Dr Stoxen:  The first thing we have to do is find out whether you have a breakdown on the human spring and that is done by checking how the human spring interacts to impacts with the ground.

The first thing we can do is to stand up in front of a mirror with our shoes and socks off and look to see if our ankle bones line up with our foot. In other words, do we have the appearance of weak ankles or does our second toe line up straight?  Does the limb look aligned when your standing?

If it doesn’t and let’s say we weigh 180 pounds and if there’s some deviation of the second toe ankle foot and limb we know right off the bat that you’re one leg force on standing is 90 pounds.  Your spring mechanism is not capable of holding up 90 pounds of gradual force. This is because your 180 pounds is spread between two feet.

So the patient comes in and says, “I want it take up running activity to lose weight”.  We stand them up in front of the mirror and their ankles bow with the 90 pounds.  That means the spring suspension muscles aren’t even strong enough to hold up that weight.  Therefore they cannot resist 90 pounds.

Running is 180 x 4-5 times body weight, which is 700 – 900 pounds of force.  They have no business running. It’s ridiculous.

That’s like taking a person who cannot quite do a 30 pound curl and asking them to a 90 pound curl.

What if someone says, “you cant run barefoot because you have over pronation so you need a stronger or supportive shoe to be able to run”.

That is like telling someone who can’t do a 50 pound bench press that we can get them to be able to do a 250 pound bench press is we developed some sort of super bench press shirt that increases elasticity and allows them to load 250 pounds. The bench press shirt does the lifting instead of their muscles.

These people don’t have the strength to withstand the impact forces of the landings they have no business running.  But the footwear manufacturers say,  “lets put some cushion in there and a support and you can go ahead and run”.

That is how so many people get injured.

Dr Klatz:  Ok, there are injuries… what about the symptoms?  Tell me what the symptoms are?  How would I know if my human spring is not working or protecting me?

Dr Stoxen:  We could check for abnormal gait or walking patterns.  While the normal path of the human foot has the second toe pointing towards the target. If the big toe is pointing inside the center then your pigeon toed.  The normal gait or walking pattern allows the thickness of the foot to plant square and the calf is contracting up the center for maximum spring off and pumping action for increased circulation.

If your foot is deviated laterally or you are walking like a duck or penguin then there is a good chance that your human spring is locked. The reason why I say that is because when the human spring locks it cant go through the same movement pattern as when it’s springy. It has to move outside the normal pattern in a path of least resistance.

So when that foot moves outside the normal path it creates abnormal wear and tear, stress and strain leading to the cause of inflammation which is what is causing the pain. So conceivably any pain anywhere along the kinematic chain of weight bearing joints could be a sign of a locked spring mechanism.

Foot pain, heel spurs, shin splints, calf cramps, knee pain, hip pain, back pain, herniated discs that don’t heal, pain between the shoulder blades or even headaches and any combination of these symptoms could be a sign of a locked spring.

Dr Klatz:  You mentioned those super shoes.  What about those super shoes and those padded shoes and all of the fancy footwear that’s out there. Tell us about those rocker shoes that are popular and now want to change the balance.  Those are the ones that have the moon-like sole so your body is out of balance. Does this mean you are always out of balance?   What does that do to you?

Dr Stoxen:  The first thing we have to understand is the only natural way to run or walk is barefoot.   Anytime you put any binding device on the body it makes it weaker. Anytime we put any device that is designed by man to change the normal pathway of the human foot it causes deformities and weaknesses.  All shoes cause weakness in the body. It’s crazy that the shoe itself actually causes the weakness that forces us to wear an orthopedic or supportive shoe.  So it creates its own problem.

What you have are two choices.  Either you are going to get out of your shoes and strengthen your spring suspension system and become barefoot again or you go backwards and age earlier by listening to doctors that tell you to wear stiff supportive or orthopedic shoes then eventually you can’t walk and  eventually you are bedridden.

When you are talking about these rockers shoes, they present evidence that it eventually works your body more because it exercises the muscles more.  We need to build muscles that actually support the spring mechanism, not develop muscles that actually don’t support the spring mechanism and not just any muscles. We need to De-age and protect our body.

We don’t have any exercises in the gym that will strengthen our spring mechanism at the floor of the foot.  Name one exercise machine that develops the foot in inversion, eversion, abduction and adduction of the foot.  There aren’t any.   We aren’t even allowed to exercise the human foot because the health club wont allow us to take our shoes off at the gym.  So how can we build a spring mechanism that supports the entire spring protective and spring recycling system of the entire body?

The best way is actually to take the shoe off and not put a shoe on that completely alters the normal path of human body. This creates abnormal aging. Take your shoe off and release all 33 joints by working your foot with deep tissue treatments, stretching it to get the spring back to it. Then work the muscles that develop a strong spring mechanism doing drills barefoot.  That is a better idea than wearing Rocker or toning shoes.

Dr. Klatz: Thank you Dr Stoxen. I’m Dr. Ron Klatz for Second Opinion.

Second Opinion is sponsored by the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine. The Academy represents 22,000 physicians in 110 countries around the world. We are very pleased to have Dr. James Stoxen as one of our instructors and a speaker at the Academy. He is here with us on Second Opinion and we will return in just a moment.


Dr Klatz: We are back talking with Dr. James Stoxen from Team Doctors in Chicago, Illinois.  I’m Dr. Ron Klatz for Second Opinion and we are talking about spinal disease, herniated disc, running disorders, footwear, lower limb rehabilitation and longevity. Thank you Dr. Stoxen.

Tell us about insoles. Gel insoles and special insoles that a Podiatrist would custom make for a patient. How does that affect the spring mechanism?

Dr. Stoxen: In order for the spring mechanism to work, first it has to reform it’s shape. It  reforms it’s shape when the force loads the energy into the spring mechanism. When it reforms it’s shape it stores energy then reforms back to it’s exact original shape releasing the energy.  If it does not do this it deforms and can’t produce as much energy because it’s deformed from it’s original engineering. That’s how we end up with chronic fatigue as well as degenerative joint diseases of the foot and throughout the body by the abnormal movement patterns. It’s interesting that instead of re building the elastic mechanism back into the human spring to allow it to load better we look at the standard of current care.  The standard of current care says to put something under the human spring like an arch support. This won’t allow the body to re form or absorb the force of the landing. It won’t absorb and recycle the energy. It’s not really a good method.

It requires a lot of work to restore the human spring. Releasing the 33 joints in the human foot to allow it to spring again. This can take hours to do. Not many doctors are interested in standing above a patient and releasing the locking of the human spring.

Dr. Klatz let me give you an idea of what it’s like for me to release the human spring in a patient that has been in footwear for 25 to 30 years. It’s like taking a steak out of the freezer and thawing it out with your bare hands. Many people have stiff feet. The constant walking is a bang and a twist causing the body to degenerate with every step. It takes time to release the human spring. This quick fix to put something under the arch may seem like a good idea but it’s not.

I’m anti orthotic.

Dr. Klatz:  Okay, I understand that. Are there any orthotics that you like?

Dr. Stoxen:  No, there is only one thing you can do with a shoe that will help a patient out that has pain. When the foot lands on the outside and rolls to the inside it’s called supination to pronation. This natural rolling affect allows the body weight to be absorbed slowly across the foot, without a bang. If the foot over rolls either too much outside or inside it twists or torts the limb. This causes strain in the body and the outcome is inflammation and pain. The only thing I would recommend if a person has very bad weakness is that they get a shoe with a strong counter support along the back of the heel to keep the foot from rolling out of the safe range between supination to pronation which will stop the twisting of the body. Leave the arch alone. Work on it to loosen so it can load energy to absorb the force. Let it go through it’s natural spring process because that is the way it was designed to work.

Dr. Klatz: What about people with fallen arches or who have feet that are not very pliable. What can people do train their own feet and to improve their own spring mechanism?

Dr. Stoxen: They say that statistics show that we spend 2-3 hours sitting watching TV.  While your sitting you can take your shoe off and grab your foot and start stretching it out, looking for tender spots with your thumb. Apply deep tissue treatment with your own hand. In other words, give your foot a hand. Take your arch and look for the tender spots with your thumb. You can apply direct pressure to muscle spasms down to the bone. It can hurt quite a bit in some areas. It you keep that pressure you will find out that the brain will get confused that this pressure is releasing the spasm and the brain will release it. Your spring will become a little looser. Go through the foot and take your time.

Dr. Klatz:  I thought pain was bad for you? Are you saying that pain is good for you?

Dr. Stoxen: If your not doing any work where the pain is then your not doing anything for the patient. My patients know when a muscle is strained it’s inflamed and when you press down on it then the inflammation gets closer to the nerve endings which triggers the pain. Dr. Klatz it hurts but nobody is hurting you. It just hurts but you will find out that when you apply that pressure the pain will slowly dissipate until it becomes only pressure. When only feel pressure then you move one inch only and go to the next spot slowly working your way throughout the foot. Work out all of the tender spots and spasms. The more you do this the more pliable and springy you will become. You will be able to absorb more shock and recycle more energy. You will have more natural energy. Soon the human spring can be restored with your own efforts.

Dr Klatz:  You talk about inflammation. Is it a good idea for a patient with tender feet to be on anti-inflammatory medicine? For example: non-steroidals?

Dr. Stoxen: The cause of what is producing the inflammation is the locking and the stiffness as well as the abnormal movement pattern. If your trying to help yourself to release the human foot and the chain of bones up through your back and your on an artificial pain reliever or anti-inflammatory then you won’t have an idea where you are with your progress. It confuses you and your body into thinking everything is ok when in fact it’s not. I think pain is a good warning signal. It tells us what is wrong with us and where we stand. Just like if the heat light goes on in your car. You wouldn’t take a piece of tape and cover it up so you don’t see it. Is the problem gone so you keep driving? No, you would pull over take care of the problem until it runs properly. That is the same way you should take care of your body.

Dr. Klatz: Dr. Stoxen before we forget what is the website where people can learn more about your innovative ways of practice and what you do at Team Doctors?

Dr. Stoxen: You can visit my website at . You can also visit my blog page which has many video and transcribed interviews and lectures by going to

Dr. Klatz: Thank you Dr. Stoxen. This is Dr. Ronald Klatz bringing you Second Opinion here on You can learn more about our show and about our guest by visiting you can also email the show at We will be back in just a moment.


Dr. Klatz: We are back with my guest Dr. James Stoxen and we are talking about the human spring mechanism. Dr. Stoxen this is our last segment and I have to ask you this question. Why at age 48 did you decide to take up barefoot running?

Dr. Stoxen: Dr. Klatz as a child I can remember we used to live on a hill and we had a gravel road that led to a pond where we used to swim and fish and just have fun. I remember I did not want to wear shoes and in the beginning I would walk across the gravel road gingerly. Slowly after a month or two into the summer my bare feet adapted to the gravel and I was able to run across the gravel road without any pain. I remember I felt great. I noticed children don’t get many injuries and are without chronic pain. I decided not to go the other route, which would be getting supported shoes, orthopedic shoes, not being able to walk and finally becoming bedridden.  I wanted to go the other direction and reclaim my youth and so I decided to go barefoot.  It made a lot of sense to me. footwear binds the foot and does not let it go through its natural process of adaptation. I studied the engineering and mechanism and I decided one day that I was going to use the technique that I know is right according to the laws of physics and common sense and I started running barefoot and have never turned back.

Dr. Klatz: Your not alone in this opinion now. This is very interesting. I remember there was an article in Nature Journal in January 2010. Can you tell us about that?

Dr. Stoxen: In the Nature Journal January 2010 there was an article written about a study conducted by Harvard University. Dr. Lieberman and other scientists looked at people that ran barefoot or with minimalist footwear. They were found to avoid heel striking and instead landed on the ball or middle of their foot. These runners therefore used the architecture of the foot and leg and some clever Newtonian physics to avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts. The study was done comparing barefoot runners and shod (with shoes) runners from Kenya. They found that the runners who ran barefoot had minimal or no stress to the body as opposed to shod runners who had a lot more damage to the body when running with shoes.

Dr. Klatz:  Are you saying that people who run with shoes tend to heel strike verses striking with the ball of their foot?

Dr. Stoxen: Yes. If you wear a shoe you tend to over stride. If you are barefoot you won’t over stride because you will feel it quickly and make adjustments to land on your forefoot or your midfoot.

Let’s look at the body as a human spring.  If the foot is ahead of your body that means when you land your foot ahead of your body the spring loads energy in and it kicks it back against you. If you load the weight over the top of the spring it bounces. If you load the weight ahead of the spring it accelerates. It’s very basic. If you take a spring and you play with it you would be able to understand it.

Dr. Klatz: So essentially you are saying with have slinkys in our feet?

Dr. Stoxen: Exactly.

Dr Klatz: I can relate to a slinky toy. I had one until just a few years ago.  I miss that toy.

Dr. Stoxen: It’s an ingenious toy and our bodies are springs. It’s the Hookes law of elasticity in physics. This dates back to the 1700s and is still valid today.  It states that the deeper the spring is loaded the more energy it can return and the more forces it can absorb. The stronger the spring, the healthier we are at absorbing these stresses.

This was a presentation I gave at the Academy Of Anti-Aging World Congress in 2007.  Elastic recoil mechanism and how footwear accelerates the aging process. I remember there were almost 2,500 physicians in the audience and when I walked off the podium a hundred doctors surrounded me and said “This just makes sense”. They wanted more information and were eager to learn how to develop the body without footwear. Then in 2010 came the study from Harvard University that I just spoke about that supported us through the running industry from the backside. Now what do we do? More and more people are looking at running and working out barefoot because it just makes sense. Look at Marshal Arts athletes they are training barefoot and they throw themselves down hard on the ground and they get up and they are not injured. The risk for injury is very low. As for us we bend over to pick up a penny and throw our back out and three weeks later we are getting joint replacement.

Dr. Klatz: Is it really that dramatic? Is it simply wearing shoes that leads us to develop back injuries simply by bending over whereas if we were to go barefoot or walk in our socks all day we would be so much more elastic throughout our body. Yes or No?

Dr. Stoxen: Let me put it this way. Let’s do the math. If you do 6.3 million steps in a year. In 30 years that’s over 100 million steps.  In 60 years it’s 200 million steps. Dr. Klatz even subtle abnormal mechanics in the human body over 200 million steps adds up to a lot of degeneration. With 750,000 people each year getting joint replacement surgeries.  We have to look at new ways of preventive medicine. What makes sense according to the laws of nature,physics,engineering and just common sense to be able to tell the patient in their 30s and 40s what they can do to prevent them from getting these life changing joint replacement surgeries.

Dr. Klatz: Is it safe to run barefoot on a treadmill?

Dr. Stoxen: What we have to understand is that if the body is a human spring then it rebounds or recoils off of a harder surface. The idea is like if you want to develop the shoulder then you develop the shoulder in all different directions. The foot moves in six or more different directions. Running on a treadmill moves the foot in only one or two directions. What I do is run in a zig zag pattern so I can accentuate the development of the spring suspension system muscles. They are the peroneus longus bravis, tibialis posterior and the tibialis anterior. Not many people know about these muscles because they are not listed in the body building magazine because they are hidden under the gastroc consolius muscles.  They are the utmost important muscles in preserving the human spring. More information has to get out on how to develop these muscles. Bodybuilding and fitness have ignored these muscles for decades. It’s time we take a careful look at this area.

Dr. Klatz: We have about one minute Dr. Stoxen. Tell us what do you do for yourself for your own anti aging medicine program? What have you found successful in your own life that has made a difference that has helped in your own personal rejuvenation?

Dr. Stoxen: One principle I want to mention is the human body does not like sustained contraction. If your lifting a weight at 10 repetitions that’s healthy. But if you hold the weight with an outstretched arm at a 90 degree angle and just hold it there for 30 minutes the muscle gets sore and weak and the joint gets damaged. If we are standing on our feet for a long period of time the spring suspension system will fatigue and then the foot will weaken, drop and lock creating the locked spring. What I do is wear a very good counter support all day long. At the end of the day I take my shoe off and stretch and get the spring back and I do strength training with my shoes off.

Dr. Klatz:  You have a new book coming out soon don’t you?

Dr. Stoxen: Yes it’s called The Human Spring Breakthrough.

Dr. Klatz: That sounds like a very innovative title. Thank You.

Dr Stoxen: It encompasses so many different life style changes and different approaches to exercise. I had to keep it general.  Anything that changes the dynamics of any form of medicine or exercise is considered a breakthrough so that is an appropriate title.

Dr. Klatz: Well thank you for being with us Dr. James Stoxen from Team Doctors in Chicago. I’m Dr. Ronald Klatz from Second Opinion. Live long and well and we will be back next week. Thank you

RACE RESULTS: Dr. James Stoxen DC Runs Barefoot in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer

Dr. James Stoxen DC ran barefoot in the Susan G Komen 10K Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer. He placed 13th in his age bracket and 133rd overall. He was the only barefoot runner in this race. His mother, Lydia Stoxen, died of breast cancer in 1995. Race results can be found here.

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Dr. James Stoxen DC ran barefoot in the Susan G Komen 10K Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer. He placed 13th in his age bracket and 133rd overall. He was the only barefoot runner in this race.

His mother, Lydia Stoxen, died of breast cancer in 1995.

Race results can be found here.

African Track Athletes Have More Spring – Lessons Learned from the 5th All African Track and Field Championships

In 1988 I was invited to work at the fifth All African Track and Field Championships in Annaba, Algeria. I found that the most extreme difference between the African athletes and my patients back home, was the spring in their feet and legs. In the African Track and Field Athletes, their tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior […]

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In 1988 I was invited to work at the fifth All African Track and Field Championships in Annaba, Algeria. I found that the most extreme difference between the African athletes and my patients back home, was the spring in their feet and legs.

In the African Track and Field Athletes, their tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles (I call the landing  muscles or spring suspension system muscles) were highly developed. What I discovered was that many of these African athletes trained at high running speeds in minimal shoes that were more like barefoot training shoes or barefoot running footwear and many were training barefoot. Running barefoot and walking barefoot is natural

In my opinion a walking shoe or running shoe is a binding device that reduces the potential of the natural human spring you were born with that allows you to easily absorb impacts. The cushions, shock absorbers and other high tech imperfect padded devices meant to help you absorb impacts are what footwear companies give you to help you absorb these impacts because they took away the natural spring mechanism that you were born with that performed this function perfectly for you.


Dr James Stoxen DC at the 1988 All African Track and Field Championships

My colleagues, Dr David Pierson, Dr Scott Calzaretta, Dr Noel Patterson, Dr Stephen Press, Dr Gordon Lawson and others were looking to network with athletes and coaches these countries.  Many were hopeful of getting placement on the Olympic Medical committees by representing one of these African countries at the Seoul Olympics 1988.

Dr James Stoxen DC Dr Daniele Bertamini, PT, DC, Dr Steven Press

Many of them succeeded to become doctors at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.  That was not my mission.

I wanted to watch and interact with the fastest track athletes in the world to learn the secrets of elite level training.

So I set up my treatment table in the middle of the track in the blistering hot African sun.  It was there that I witnessed plyometrics in action and where I was able to closely examine the feet and legs of the most amazing athletes in the world.

The most extreme difference between the African athletes and my patients back home, I found, was the spring in their feet and legs.

Many of them had little to no arch yet broke records in speed and endurance. Their spring suspension muscles were highly developed.

The other thing I discovered was that these athletes trained at high speeds in shoes that were more like slippers with no cushion. Many trained barefoot.

I took volumes of notes on their stretches and routines and upon returning to Chicago I added them to my arsenal of human spring release techniques.

That fueled my desire to change my approach to care for patients suffering from a wide variety of ailments. I believe the reason for why my patients were not performing at optimum potential and why their bodies were not injury resistant was attributable to a weakness in these musles. Lets face it, how many training programs involve specific training of the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles without shoes on?  You cannot even go to a fitness center and take off your shoes without getting kicked out.

I combined these lessons with stretches I learned from, Irina Vdovets, US Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team Coach at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games.

Its obvious that consulting an Olympic coach for 3 years you certainly can learn a lot about how to more effectively the improve the flexibility of athletes.

Lesson learned?

The spring is the thing.  A more flexible spring that is not bound adapts to impacts better than one that is.

Train barefoot or in racing flats.


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