Are you “Silly Running”?

Ben Dearman

KDR Fitness


I hate running, but I do love to locomote.  At KDR we define locomoting (not to be confused with motor boating…totally different topic.) as doing any activity that moves you from point A to point B.  Basic examples are – jogging, skipping, side shuffling, etc.  Basically all the movements you used to do when you were younger that put a smile on your face!

MotorboatingyourdoingitwrongNot to be confused with Locomoting.

I first started using locomotion training when I worked with the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS with Gary Gray.  In fact, during our Operator Physical Evaluation Courses we would take the SEALS and have them do what I called at the time “silly runs”.  They would line up across from each other, one pair would start with a movement, maybe forward running while throwing punches, skipping, etc. then every one would file in after them in pairs doing the same thing they did.  Then the next pair goes and so on and so forth.

ranger group picSide Note –  It looked ridiculous to have these trained men who had millions of dollars invested in them moving down a line side shuffling playing patty cake.

BUT!  As someone who has worked with this population can attest to – they are beat up.  Some of them couldn’t run with out pain.  They were “operationally functional” but in pain.  And when you’re the top of the top military bad ass, you need to be able to run with out pain…or at least suck it up enough to get the hell out of dodge!  NO ONE commented on ANY pain during these 30-minute work outs we did with the guys.  And they were “running” the entire time, but not in a straight line and not in a traditional run pattern.  We managed to fix their injuries and still work on their cardio in a fairly specific way as it related to what gave them pain while getting these guys to do something that would cause some of them pain, but didn’t during the actual activity.  IT WAS CRAZY! favorite loco drill was side shuffles “lightly” tapping your partner in the face.  With an open hand.

That’s when I knew that the average population could benefit from doing the simple things that we did with America’s Elite.  If it’s good enough for Army Rangers and Navy SEALS – then it’s good enough for you!

We often get told “I don’t like to run” or, “I feel silly doing this!”.  Well first off all, this isn’t running, this is locomoting!  And…you should feel silly doing this, after all “feeling silly” usually makes you laugh, and laugher is the best medicine.  So stop being such a Grinch and do something that makes you feel silly.

Why do we force our members to move around for a few minutes after their warm up?  Locomoting accomplishes a few HUGE goals in a very short amount of time.

  1. Basic Agility and fall prevention – we can also refer to basic agility as balance work.  We define balance as your ability to keep your center of mass controlled while moving.  And if your doing 360 degree skips, believe me – your balance improves a lot!

Carioca-1If you can do this with out falling over, changes are, your balance is probably pretty good.

Over the age of 60 and concerned about falling?  Then you better be skipping!  According to world renowned physical therapist Gary Gray, any kind of locomotion is a controlled fall.  So what better way to get better at controlling your balance and preventing falls then practicing a controlled fall in a lot of different directions.

  1. Slow aging, specifically as it relates to the brain– as we age we lose brain cells which is reflected in our cognitive decline. Science is now showing something that we in the fitness world have known for a long time – doing physical activities, specifically new physical activities or challenging physical activities forces your brain to build new motor pathways and ultimately slows the loss of brain cells.  The brain and body are just one big feed back loop, most of the brain is wired to control movement and interact with our outside environment.  When movement starts to decline – so does gray matter.
  1. Light plyometrics – plyometrics, or “plyo’s” are just a fancy way of saying moving. Every time you move, your muscles store and release kinetic/elastic energy.  This process is called the “stretch-shortening cycle”.  Working on plyo’s are essentially done to help to improve that cycle.  By improving that cycle, we are able to produce more force, control more force and ultimately help prevent tears/strains in our muscles, ligaments and tendons, among other benefits.
  1. Coordination – we operate in a contra-lateral fashion. All that means is that when our right leg moves forward, our left arm moves forward (contra = opposite, lateral = side).  Every person does this.  But, through disuse we lose that ability as we age, not so much with walking or running, but with any task outside of those two activities.  Don’t believe me?  Get on the ground and crawl like a baby.  Do you go left leg and right arm, or do you go left leg and left arm?  Crawling is part of locomoting.  Most people can perform contra-laterally when they only have their feet on the ground, but when they go hands and feet, it’s a different story.  Also, performing a 360 jog requires you to know where your feet are and where your center of mass is (balance) but also requires you to get your own feet out of the way of each other (coordination!).

bear crawlingCrawling is also a form of locomoting!

  1. It’s silly- and silly equals fun. Stop taking your self so serious!


  1. Weight loss! Any activity that encourages movement is good for weight loss.  Don’t like to run?  Probably not the best kind of thing for you to do to lose weight.  Don’t like to lift weights…ditto.  But, if you are having fun doing an activity then you are more likely to repeat that activity.  Plus, locomoting or “silly running” is a great way to get some activity in with your kids.

Parents-playing-with-kidsNow get out there and locomote like you did when you were 10!