Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

The 100-up Challenge: Week 1


So it’s been about a week that I’ve been doing 100-ups. For this week I decided to only perform “minors.” I guess I figured I’d go slow with something, for once. The first couple of days I stopped as soon as I caught my back bending slightly to compensate for tired legs. By the third day I was up to 100, no problem.

What I learned this week:

  • If nothing else, the 100-up is an excellent workout for the hip muscles. I recently learned that I have some hip weakness that may be causing kinks in my form (or vice versa), so the tired hips I get from this exercise is welcomed.
  • I theorize that the 100-up exercise is helping build some muscle memory in my back, which is the first thing that decides to give up the ghost when I’m tired. I won’t say it’s any kind of miracle difference, but I did notice on my last two runs that I sit up a tad more, and that my back was still straight at the end of my miles.
  • During this week, my friend Christian (the Maple Grove Barefoot Guy) threw some darts at my 100-up Challenge (but I think he was aimed more at Justin Owings’s, because he has more than 12 readers), proposing that squats may be an even better way to train your body to run well. I say he is right and wrong, and only wrong because I think both exercises may be only equally good. Both exercises expose your body to some of the actions of good-form running, but neither of them is anything like running (although, one could argue that at least the 100-up involves leaving the ground).
Conclusion? This week I may include squats in my regimen, and see if there is any added benefit to my form. Anybody else have some good conclusions? I’d love to hear them. And as always thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “The 100-up Challenge: Week 1

  1. Hi! Thanks for your great blog. I just started forefoot running about a week ago (my knee started hurting, and I continued on the forefoot to avoid it, and after 20 steps I thought “wow!!”). But my muscles hurt in the moment, because “of course” I didn’t start slow enough, I just tried to run my usual distance…. So… I read a lot about barefoot/forefoot running the last couple of days, and I started the 100-up….
    I have a question! What do you think is the single best video showing the proper forefoot running style? (I just started to run in the vivobarefoot neos).

  2. How funny that you’re running in Neos – I am currently writing a review on mine (as in, right this second…to be published later tonight or tomorrow, stay tuned!). I liked McDougall’s video on the 100-up in his original article because he explains the process while he’s demonstrating, but then again I have been watching videos on good form for a long time now and I can probably fill in the blanks of what he leaves out. Chances are, if you’re at all confused you’re probably thinking about it too much. But if you have any questions about what to do, let me know.

  3. From my experience and reading so far, I think barefoot/minimalist/forefoot running is above all about re-learning to listen to your body, to recognize whether your current running style feels good, balanced, effortless. And about avoiding knee and hip and back injuries by using technique and muscles. And you are right, its also about stopping the thinking, just trying to get into the “forefoot-flow”. Thanks for your reply! I’m looking forward to doing my next run in the Neos tomorrow morning.

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