Footwork drills on a treadmill

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By Josh Staph

Despite his extensive background in martial arts, Kappel LeRoy Clarke still struggled with his footwork in the boxing ring. To combat the problem, Clarke began shadowboxing on a treadmill, which left his feet no choice but to react and adjust to the moving belt. After just one session, he noticed an improvement in his footwork.

Intrigued and inspired by his personal success, Kappel developed a philosophy and training system called Fre Flo Do. Used by star clients, including NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, the system, which employs a long, wide rail-less treadmill, is designed to enhance timing, reaction, balance, spatial awareness, injury prevention and movement mechanics.

The essence of Fre Flo Do is freedom, adaptability and lightness in movement, like a rock skimming across water. "On our launchpad, we always lift and turn our feet to change direction," says Kappel. "This eliminates torsion in the ankles, knees and hip and decreases the risk of torsion-related injuries."

Get to know the Flo

Kappel warns against trying to mimic Fre Flo Do without professional instruction; but he does provide basic, ground-based exercises that simulate the benefits. When performing the following drills, visualize your feet as rocks skimming across water.

Single-Leg Hops

On one leg, hop forward lightly for 10 yards. Stay on the ball of your foot and don't allow your heel to touch the ground. Repeat backwards, and then on opposite leg.

Lateral Same as above, but hop to the side and back for 10 yards with each leg.

360 Hops

On one foot, hop in a circle. Take 4 hops to complete a rotation. Perform 10 rotations right, then 10 left. Repeat on opposite leg.

Running flatfooted costs you time and the ability to react while changing direction, a high-risk maneuver. According to Kappel, these exercises condition the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your ankles, so they can act like springs and keep you on the balls of your feet.

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