Exercises for being more light-footed?

FireSnake

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Although I'm quite pleased with my progress in learning the basics, I'm still coming up against a limitation: being a bit heavy-footed. As footwork is so foundational, I wanted to tap the experts here on what exercises I could do on my own to be a little less like a human slab of lead and more nimble in footwork. I'm a bit top-heavy from weightlifting, but that is not an excuse since I've seen people with much bigger muscles than me really move. I've got the flexibility and good upper body speed, but it still feels like I've got weights tied to my darn feet!

Would others recommend jumping exercises? I'm just at a loss for how to improve upon this (I mean, apart from piping helium into my body - lol!). My thanks in advance for everyone's help!
 

WaterGal

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Agility ladder drills can help with this. You can buy an agility ladder on Amazon or at a sporting-goods store for around $30, and there are lots of videos on Youtube of people demonstrating different drills you can do with it.

Jumping rope, while it might seem childish, can also be a good way to practice being light on your feet.

Also: plyometrics.
 
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FireSnake

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Thank you! I have developed a strange love/hate relationship with the agility ladder whenever it comes out - but I'll keep at it. I am going to run with the jump rope idea.
 

Dong xiao hu

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Try the Capoeira ginga it's a simple movement but it will help.

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Buka

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Top heavy - might have focused more on upper body than lower. Long term outlook for quick feet - start working your calves, making sure to stretch calf and Achilles as part of your routine.

Working those calves as part of your Martial routine for light feet - get up on your toes and start shadow boxing, (in whichever way your style punches) but try it in a particular way - pretend you're hiding out in a second floor apartment, and the cops looking for you are sleeping below. And they are light sleepers.

You can't stay on your toes the whole time, your heels will come down as you move in certain ways, that's okay, it's called peddling, but get back up on toes quickly. Throw in feints while you do this drill, too.

Ever see someone cross county skiing? Bounce up and switch your stance, using as little height as possible, land as light as possible - again, the cops are sleeping below. Stay on your toes - and don't wake them.

As mentioned, the agility ladder works really well. But, usually, the faster you go you start really banging against the floor. Maybe not if there's someone watching you to help, but more than likely on you own. Try the same thing, pretend the floor is made of lightweight plastic, and there's angry wasps right below it. If you crack that plastic floor - your screwed. Concentrate a little less on speed and a little more on them wasps.

Jumping rope, in my opinion, might be the best of all. But you really need someone who can teach you how, otherwise it can be very frustrating and counter productive to staying light. But, it's great footwork, and you have to stay light on your feet to actually jump rope.

Lightness of the feet doesn't usually happen overnight. So, stay with whatever drills you end up liking and adopting for a couple years as a supplement to your training. If you don't end up training for a couple years, then it doesn't really matter.

Go get em', brother.
 

JowGaWolf

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Although I'm quite pleased with my progress in learning the basics, I'm still coming up against a limitation: being a bit heavy-footed. As footwork is so foundational, I wanted to tap the experts here on what exercises I could do on my own to be a little less like a human slab of lead and more nimble in footwork. I'm a bit top-heavy from weightlifting, but that is not an excuse since I've seen people with much bigger muscles than me really move. I've got the flexibility and good upper body speed, but it still feels like I've got weights tied to my darn feet!

Would others recommend jumping exercises? I'm just at a loss for how to improve upon this (I mean, apart from piping helium into my body - lol!). My thanks in advance for everyone's help!
You just have to move your feet a lot so any exercise that requires you to move your feet will help get rid of heavy feet feeling that you have. Start slow and gradually allow your body to progress and improve. Don't go too hard until you get a good base for moving the feet. Some people make the mistake of going to hard and risk tearing up their knees and ankles.
You have to give your ligaments and tendons time to adjust to the new routine.

I use a variety of exercises to help me with my footwork, some come from soccer, basketball, football, and there are footwork exercises that are within the system I train. All of these things help me to improve my footwork. It's been so long since I've actually jumped high like in basket ball so I can only assume that I'm not so good at that anymore. Especially that I know weight 50 pounds more than I did when I jumped a lot in basketball.
 

oaktree

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Ankle weights, walking between two cones about a foot apart and figure eight between them, jump rope each time fall on ball of foot
 

drop bear

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Frog jumps.
Sprawls.
tuck jumps.
hop across the room. every third hop is a tuck jump hop.
feet together stand up straight. jump across the room using only that position.

Footwork drills of its many and varied forms.
 
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FireSnake

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Wow, thank you all! It seems that I am very spoiled for options on how to get my feet moving. It is like a weight has been lifted :p

I will ask my Master if he can observe my routine for the ladder, jumping, and skip-rope to ensure that I'm doing them correctly. I'll also have to change up the weight training to not skip leg day, but with a focus on high reps. You've all been very kind and helpful for this noob question of mine!
 

KangTsai

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Although I'm quite pleased with my progress in learning the basics, I'm still coming up against a limitation: being a bit heavy-footed. As footwork is so foundational, I wanted to tap the experts here on what exercises I could do on my own to be a little less like a human slab of lead and more nimble in footwork. I'm a bit top-heavy from weightlifting, but that is not an excuse since I've seen people with much bigger muscles than me really move. I've got the flexibility and good upper body speed, but it still feels like I've got weights tied to my darn feet!

Would others recommend jumping exercises? I'm just at a loss for how to improve upon this (I mean, apart from piping helium into my body - lol!). My thanks in advance for everyone's help!
Just pay attention to keeping on your balls (of your feet) at all times. Also, squats.
 

Frost890

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As a side observation, Some styles use heavy steps to keep timing and to express power in their forms. So it is not always a bad thing to have a heavy step. I know someone that focuses on the stomp as she moves forward. It helps her with timing. I want to say that Kung Fu has a bear step that uses the center of the foot instead of the ball and Hung Gar uses some heavy footwork.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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more light-footed

From a wrestler point of view, it's NO NO to be "light footed". My wrestling teacher doesn't event suggest me to train running. The words "float" and "poor rooting" are both bad terms in MA. It's always better to have your gravity center to be as lower to the ground as possible.

sumo_2.jpg
 
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JowGaWolf

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Hung Gar uses some heavy footwork
Heavy Footwork is an understatement. If you like jumping high then don't do Hung Gar after a few years it'll make you feel like a walking tank and every time you walk it will be like you are in a continuous state of being rooted. Recently I've been trying to trying to balance out this level of being rooted so that I can move quickly when needed so that I'm not always feeling like an oak tree.
 

drop bear

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more light-footed

From a wrestler point of view, it's NO NO to be "light footed". My wrestling teacher doesn't event suggest me to train running. The words "float" and "poor rooting" are both bad terms in MA. It's always better to have your gravity center to be as lower to the ground as possible.

sumo_2.jpg
 

Gerry Seymour

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Top heavy - might have focused more on upper body than lower. Long term outlook for quick feet - start working your calves, making sure to stretch calf and Achilles as part of your routine.

Working those calves as part of your Martial routine for light feet - get up on your toes and start shadow boxing, (in whichever way your style punches) but try it in a particular way - pretend you're hiding out in a second floor apartment, and the cops looking for you are sleeping below. And they are light sleepers.

You can't stay on your toes the whole time, your heels will come down as you move in certain ways, that's okay, it's called peddling, but get back up on toes quickly. Throw in feints while you do this drill, too.

Ever see someone cross county skiing? Bounce up and switch your stance, using as little height as possible, land as light as possible - again, the cops are sleeping below. Stay on your toes - and don't wake them.

As mentioned, the agility ladder works really well. But, usually, the faster you go you start really banging against the floor. Maybe not if there's someone watching you to help, but more than likely on you own. Try the same thing, pretend the floor is made of lightweight plastic, and there's angry wasps right below it. If you crack that plastic floor - your screwed. Concentrate a little less on speed and a little more on them wasps.

Jumping rope, in my opinion, might be the best of all. But you really need someone who can teach you how, otherwise it can be very frustrating and counter productive to staying light. But, it's great footwork, and you have to stay light on your feet to actually jump rope.

Lightness of the feet doesn't usually happen overnight. So, stay with whatever drills you end up liking and adopting for a couple years as a supplement to your training. If you don't end up training for a couple years, then it doesn't really matter.

Go get em', brother.
I'm with Buka on this one. If you feel "top heavy", you probably emphasized your upper body to a point where you're out of balance. Building up those leg muscles in the right way (especially the lower leg - those are integral muscles for balance) makes it possible to be lighter on your feet. Build those support muscles up and practice using them in agility drills (like the agility ladder - I'm with you on that one, friend!).
 
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