Bend the Knees!

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Barefoot Gentile, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    1. Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    20,259
    Likes Received:
    6,405
    That's what I've been trying

    That's what I've been trying to say, Jason, but I don't think anyone is buying it. I find that overbending my knees puts too much load on my calves and leaves me with calf tightness the next day, whereas if I find the right balance, I don't have that problem. (When I run in huaraches--like 5 or 6 times since ever--I always find myself bending my knees more so than when I am running barefoot. The next day, I'm feeling it.) That's why it's so important to bend the knees in moderation, a little at a time, until you can work up to bending them more, and even then, I don't think we need to go crazy about it. Just bend them enough to keep your heels from striking, run gently, and not push off.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  2. Matt M

    Matt M
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. South Dakota

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    34
    I think I initially had

    I think I initially had problems with bending my knees too. This summer, I could never run more than 3/4 of a mile barefoot before my pads started burning (had to supplement with VFFs). My last couple of runs, I've been able to go 1.25 miles barefoot and my feet felt 100% fine. I've been making a conscious effort to bend my knees more. So I'm thining more knee bend=less foot friction?
     
  3. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    1. Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    20,259
    Likes Received:
    6,405
    Definitely.  Bend the knees

    Definitely. Bend the knees to avoid pushing off. Also, I find thinking "lift before land" (Ken Bob's) helps a lot to prevent the pads from wearing out, as well as keeping a quick cadence with (very) short steps. (My very may not be the same as your very.)
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  4. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Michigan

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    944
    Likes Received:
    320
    FWIW- I think the shortened

    FWIW- I think the shortened stride/faster cadence is more useful for more people than bending the knees. Not that bending the knees isn't important, but overstriding tends to be a much more common problem. Get that right and the knees tend to take care of themselves.
     

  5. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    1. Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    20,259
    Likes Received:
    6,405
    So, true.  How can you push

    So, true. How can you push off if you have little bitty steps? Ha!
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  6. Abide

    Abide
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Nederland -...

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Barefoot TJ wrote:That's what

    I agree with you TJ and Jason too. I think most of the time if you are running barefoot you will automatically correct to right amount of knee bend.
     
  7. Matt M

    Matt M
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. South Dakota

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    34
    Last Place Jason wrote:FWIW-



    This is probably a big problem of mine as well. I'm 6'4" tall so I tend to have a long stride. Must. Remember. Shorter. Stride!!



    p.s. I read your book this summer Jason. Great information there. Thanks for writing!
     
  8. The Ramzev

    The Ramzev
    Expand Collapse
    Chapter Presidents
    1. Delaware

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    599
      I have found that bending

    I have found that bending my knees just a bit helps me relax my upper body, but bending too much is jut too uncomfortable. Also, as times get faster it gets harder to bend the knees too much. I think "relax, relax" is the best advise, if you over think it too much you'll get tense.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  9. NickW

    NickW
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    I agree Ram.  Bend the knees

    I agree Ram. Bend the knees enough to be fluid and springy but not so much that you cause yourself undue stress and pain. If I go to far my knees tell me. They scream actually and say this hurts and is incorrect.
     
  10. DB

    DB
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Washington

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    7
    For those trying to get the

    For those trying to get the idea of what it really means to "bend the knees", the best thing to do is get Ken Bob's book. There are a number of exercises described in there (with pictures) that help a lot.

    Gordon Pirie, a great British runner in the 1950s and 1960s, talked about how he "sat" as he ran. He was a tall guy (taller than most of his competitors), but said that when he ran, he was half a foot shorter than everyone else. This is the mental image that helps me most -- to "sit" down as much as I can while running, and while maintaining a vertical back and staying relaxed.

    I think our ability to run low/bend the knees may grow over time. Ten months ago I thought I was really bending my knees when I ran, yet I still suffered from raw feet after many runs on surfaces that weren't very smooth. I know that I bend much more now, but I still have to focus on it at times. And I bet in another ten months I'll probably be able to bend more.

    One way to test yourself how well you are bending your knees is to see how much better you can tolerate rougher surfaces. If you're not able to tolerate rough surfaces just a little bit more, then maybe you're not bending them correctly. As Ken Bob says, keep experimenting! It's easy to get discouraged and frustrated -- I felt this at times in the beginning. But just keep trying, you'll find something that works.

    Over the last 5-6 months, I've gradually improved in terms of the roughness of surfaces I can handle and the length and speed I can run on them. I haven't mastered the worst of the gravel yet, but I no longer feel like there are areas I can't run because the surfaces are too rough. I still expect to be able to run on anything eventually -- maybe within a year or so. Sometimes I am amazed at the surfaces I can run on that I couldn't imagine running on several months ago. And I attribute that improvement primarily to bending my knees more.

    One more thing -- in my case at least, the more I bend my knees, the shorter my stride becomes. With shorter strides, it makes it easier to have a faster cadence. In my experience, merely having short strides, without other form changes, doesn't help much on rough surfaces. And another benefit of "sitting down" is that running feels more like simply lifting the feet, as if just running in place. This is again the concept that Ken Bob has pushed. So bending the knees, if it's the only thing we do, might automatically lead to some of the other form improvements we talk so much about.
     
  11. miker

    miker
    Expand Collapse
    Chapter Presidents
    1. Oklahoma
    2. California...
    3. Canada

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    370
    Likes Received:
    3
    Something I just heard the

    Something I just heard the other day that helps me "lean from the ankles" is to:



    1)Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart (approx.)

    2)Lean forward

    3)When your heels leave the ground, you are leaning the correct amount



    This may not be perfect for everyone, but I think it kind of gives you a "feel" for the amount of lean when we talk about leaning forward from the ankles, not the hips.



    Cheers!
     
  12. lparker

    lparker
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. New York

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    70
  13. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    1. Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    20,259
    Likes Received:
    6,405
    Cool!  Ken Bob's on Kindle

    Cool! Ken Bob's on Kindle too now. It was just a matter of time, right?
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  14. lparker

    lparker
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. New York

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    70
    Yup, I like to think I put it

    Yup, I like to think I put it there. I clicked the link to tell the publisher to make it available on Kindle and a month later...there it was!
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  15. HobbitFeet

    HobbitFeet
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Texas - Dallas

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been reading this thread

    I've been reading this thread with great interest, and I've done two runs now with my knees much more bent. I can report that for me, my calf soreness was greatly reduced, but I could really feel the burn in my thighs. The last few runs I did before now I developed a small ache in my ankle and at the top of my calf where it connects to the back of the knee. Those are both gone now after two runs with my more knee bend. I've had to reduce my distance a bit though, as my thighs just can't take it more. So that makes me feel like it's a good thing, it makes sense that my thighs take some of the burden from my calves, as they are the most monstrous muscle in the leg. Hopefully they will get up to speed quickly.



    I also played around a bit with the bend while I was running, and was able to really identify the "sweet spot" as it were, atleast for me. So I'd recommend trying that out for anyone. I'd say being able to identify the wrong form is just as helpful, as I started getting tired I found myself straightening out my legs and was able to notice that and correct it.
     

Share This Page