If power in a run is developed by the ankles can anyone suggest any specific exercises?
Ostensibly I feel the articles truth in the way I walk after a workout of tough kettle bell swings
It doesn't change my opinion.
I'd suggest jumping rope, calf raises of various sorts, any kind of plyometric exercises (box jumps, etc).
Basically anything that'll cause your calves to be sore.
Another great one: running barefoot/minimalist ;-)
This article has no impact on my opinion of barefoot/minimalist shoes. We evolved essentially barefoot, clad typically in a thin leather shoe to protect our feet from sharp thorny things and parasites. To me, what part of the body works hardest in different gates is useful information, but it doesn't impact whether I do or don't wear minimalist shoes to run or walk.
I agree with Kent Cowgill, run in minimalist shoes will definitely strengthen calves. My calves were super sore when I first started running in five fingers. Calf raises on steps is another good one.
I think to get strong, or maybe the better word is stable, ankles, you need stabilizer muscles. I think (opinion, I'm no doctor or scientist) that people with "weak ankles" actually have weak stabilizer muscles. I danced from 3 to 14 and I think this is the main reason I've never sprained my ankle despite lots missteps while hiking and turning my ankle sideways in very high heels. I think dance (jumping, leaping, landing, walking running, all barefoot or essentially barefoot) gave me those stabilizers that protected my ankle. At least that's my theory.
Not at all. So the ankles are the primary movers in a run...that's fine...I don't care. I train raw. No straps, no belts, no assistance devices when I lift so that my body uses the right part in the right way to make me develop more functional strength.
I apply the same principal when I run. I sprint barefoot, in the grass...and if it's my ankles getting stronger from that...I'm happy that the right body parts are getting worked.
Remember the body is a unit, a whole, not a collection of individual isolated parts. And it should be trained as such without assistive devices when possible...including when we run.
My opinion is not changed. The article seems to support the barefoot form; with big clunky shoes I don't use my ankles the way I do barefoot. With traditional running shoes (TRS), I'm a bit slower and tire out sooner. With minimal shoes (Vibram KSO currentlly), I have more power and can run a lot longer before tiring. I always felt like I was tipping too far forward in TRS. I've never been a heel pounder, so barefoot style feels so much better and natural to me. Plus, there's nothing like having the sensitive nerves in your feet give your brain information about your environment. Totally changed my perception and I feel that I concentrate better now when running.
If anything, that seems to justify barefoot running even more. With a heel strike gait, you ankles are fairly disengaged from the motion until you get back on your forefoot. Therefore, the midfoot/forefoot strike common with barefoot running would be keeping the power center engaged through more of the range of motion. Anyone that went from a classic gait to a barefoot runnign can tell how torched their claves were the first few times.
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