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What's the Difference Between ChiRunning And Barefoot Running?

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Published on Jul 4, 2010

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The simple answer to the question is, "well, not a lot." Both running techniques use the natural mechanics of the body, and have many other remarkable similarities.

But if you're looking for a little more detail, here's a rundown of both the similarities and the differences between the two running methods:

Main Similarities:

• Body alignment. In both types of running practices, the body should be aligned vertically, with the spine straight but relaxed.

• Use of gravity rather than force. In ChiRunning the idea is to lean forward slightly (while maintaining spinal alignment) to allow gravity to "pull" the runner forward, rather than using force from the muscles to push off or propel the body forwards. The same is true of barefoot running.

• Importance of relaxation. ChiRunning places a lot of importance on maintaining a relaxed state of the body, especially the lower limbs, when running. This also happens to be optimal for barefoot running as well.

• Mid-foot strike. When running barefoot you want to land not with a heel-strike, as is common in shoe-runners, nor with a fore-foot landing, but you want to land on your mid-foot. ChiRunning also requires a mid-foot strike for optimal benefit.


Main Differences:

• No shoes. The first and most obvious difference between the two is that ChiRunning normally uses shoes, while (most) barefoot running does not. However, because of the importance of the mid-foot strike and natural body mechanics in ChiRunning, a new type of shoe was being developed to allow for this ease of movement. And some barefoot runners actually use a minimal, very flexible shoe as well. So, "no shoes" may be a relative term and not such a big difference as you might suppose.

• Thousands of years. ChiRunning was developed by Danny Dreyer in the last decade or so; barefoot running has existed since people first walked (and ran) upright. Thus, barefoot running has been practiced pretty much the same for thousands and thousands of years, while Chi Running has been around for the last 20 years at most.

• However, since barefoot running incorporates so many of the same elements, you could say that ChiRunning has been around much longer than 20 years - just without a name, and without shoes.

It should also be noted that the two methods have much in common when it comes to the benefits often cited by those who practice them. Fewer injuries, less impact on joints, and even the ability to begin running again after previously being injured by running are some of the benefits commonly noted by those who practice either.

And, since the two methods are really so close to one another in practice, you might do well to look at both when considering changing your running style - and possibly even combining the two.

You can learn more by looking up Danny Dreyer or ChiRunning online; and you can get more information (including a complete course) on barefoot running simply by clicking the link below.


Resource Box:
Important! Before you start either ChiRunning or barefoot running: You will want to know exactly how to change your stride, as well as the ancient secret "supplement" used by Aztec runners. Get your complete instructions for barefoot running today at: http://www.howtorunbarefoot.com

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