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Home » Featured Sports Performance Articles » Feet, Fascia and Holistic Athletic Power, Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 67 with Chong Xie

Feet, Fascia and Holistic Athletic Power, Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 67 with Chong Xie

Today’s guest is Chong Xie, founder of “Secret of Athleticism” and founder of the Hyperarch Fascia Training System.  Secret of Athleticism is a website and discussion group founded to understand more about the foot, and its relationship to athletic power, as well as best training practices.   Chong has a computer science degree and has been working as a technical analyst in the software industry for the last 10 years.  His interest in the foot was piqued by seeing the large discrepancy in athletic performance, and Chong has spent many years on a quest to unlock the “secret” of athletic performance that is hiding beneath our shoes.  His work is endorsed by great athletes such as Kadour Ziani and Marques Goodwin.

As I’ve found in the last few months, what Chong Xie is doing might be the next big thing in sports performance training., but it’s funny, since it’s something all amazing athletes do naturally and without thinking about it.  

That “thing” is the action and morphing of the foot over time, to maximize ground contact stiffness, fascial tensioning, and upstream muscle activation.  Many strength coaches don’t get farther than “your ankles are immobile in your squat, so let’s do some banded distraction work”, let alone looking at foot instrinsics.  This is a shame, because even low level foot training, such as big toe crunches, have been shown to significantly improve jump height!  How much more can we do with knowledge of a full, integral model?

To this end, Chong Xie, even though he is not a full-time sport coach, is one of the most intriguing guests I’ve had on the podcast.  Not only because he has poured in tons of research and case study in training on the foot, but also because he comes from a non-biased background, of which his is martial arts.  Everything modern strength and performance coaches are taught is generally above the ankle, so the foot doesn’t fit into our holistic athletic assessments and training processes.

Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.

Feet, Fascia and Holistic Athletic Power, Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 67 with Chong Xie

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Key Points:

  • Chong’s background and interest in training the foot
  • Common features of an athletic foot for sprinting and jumping, and general explosive athletic feats
  • Weightlifting and relationships with the feet
  • Fascia vs. muscle driven athletes, and times to warm up for maximal performance
  • Biomechanics behind the “hyperarch hop” exercise
  • Why some elite basketball players, such as Michael Jordan, let their knees come together while shooting, and the relationship to glute activation

Quotes

“You have to look at the body holistically, instead of in segmented parts”

“Elite athletes have callouses on top of their toes, and a prominence of the anterior tibalis tendon”

“The toes of elite athletes are like claws, very stiff”

“Is the foot linked through the fascia to the glutes… and if so, that’s a good foot!”

“Sprinting you are just going one direction as fast as you can, so sometimes you don’t see those callouses on top of the toes”

“Short term wise, weights will increase your vertical, but will it be effortless (like natural movement), no”

“For elite athletes, the fascial system takes time to warm up”

“There is a big difference between athletes where the power is coming from the fascia vs. an athlete where the power is coming from the muscle”

“If you pick a regular person when they are asked to squat, even though form is perfect on the outside, there is zero (EMG) reading in their glutes.  Versus someone training in NFL, ask him to squat, you see quads, you see glutes, you see hamstring.”

“How the foot morphs over time effects the fascia, it effects the glute dominance”

“When we squat, there is no heels, the heels play a minimal role in performance”

“Elite athletes are made naturally from the difference in tension in the foot”

“The reason we have ankle sprains is a lack of tension over time in the foot”

“Once the fascia is activated, it produces a lot of tension.  It pulls all your body parts internally in an optimal position.”

“People who are not glute dominant, when their knees come together in shooting, this is injurious”

Show Notes

Lebron James foot

Lebron’s foot looks nasty, but it allows for the way he runs and jumps

Elite athlete foot/claw

Video with zoom in on Russell Westbrook’s feet

Hyperarch hop

About Chong Xie

Chong XieChong Xie is the author of “Secret of Athleticism”, inventor of the Hyperarch Fascia Training System and founder of the page “secret-of-athleticism.coma website and discussion group founded to understand more about the foot, and its relationship to athleticism, as well as best training practices.   Chong has a computer science degree and has been working as a technical analyst in the software industry for the last 10 years.  His interest in the foot was piqued by seeing the large discrepancy in athletic performance, and Chong has spent many years on a quest to unlock the “secret” of athletic performance that is hiding beneath our shoes. 

 

10 comments

  1. Chong’s research has forever changed my life, not only in the sense of athletics but I know once I get older, his training can keep my body’s “muscular-skeletal” system working properly, for much longer slowing down the effects aging.

  2. Mihailo Milivojevic

    Hyperarch is a way of life and it is the only way of life! Chong is the Nikola Tesla of Athleticism!

  3. Not gonna lie, but I found out about Chong’s HAM before it was cool.

  4. Anyone who thinks logically and have dreams of ever being athletic will at least try this. “Hyperarch” in itself is the name for the “mode” of the foot that all elite athletes use (Lebron Kobe etc). The average person is not athletic because shoes (not natural) deteriorate their foot strength and neurological connection. If you learn how to use your feet correctly you will have the potential to never be injured again and become just as athletic as these players. Jump manuals and jump programs will do nothing for you unless you are neurologically connected! Fascia training is holistic and trains this neurological connection that all elite athletes have! through a simple way- using YOUR FEET correctly!

  5. I think it was me who suggested you to check Chong’s work 🙂 Really fascinating interview that was! Thank you Joel for this one. I love the comment that Chong Xie is the Nikola Tesla of Athleticism! I’m sure he deserves to be called in that way.

  6. I will probably get a ton of hate for writing this and i dont want to sound like a cocky hater but common Joel, i know you know that the whole “the feet is the key” thing is overrated and many of what Xie said aint true. I do agree that the feet have an important role in the kinetic chain and many of the problems start from there. I also agree that being glute dominant might be the key to injury prevention and being a freak show athlete. BUT, many of the things Chong mentioned (with absolutely no disrespect to Chong) just dont hold up. For example, he mentioned that great natural athletes who use the hyperarch take a lot of time to warm up. Guess who takes a lot of time to warm up too…the 40 yrs old dude who cant jump over a newspaper. Also, he said hyperarch using athletes dont get injured, especially ankle sprains. What about Steph Curry (who btw he mentions that the hyperarch is the key to his shooting ability) who had 11 ankle injuries the first years of his career. What about D.Rose who is a freak of nature but he had multiple knee injuries. Furthermore, he mentioned S.Celi as one of the guys who uses the hyperarch mechanism but he forgets that Steven isnt a natural jumper and he had to go threw a lot of work/time to become who he is. Finally, he mentioned the heel has no role in jumping but thats false and you know it. Try jumping off a run up without your heels touching the ground and compare it with a normal heel-touching jump. The reason squat didnt transfer to sports when you were younger was because you just did the motion without thinking where the power must come from. I bet that if you coach an athlete with the cue that during each rep the power must come from the glutes the result will be different. If the athlete focuses on activating th glutes and purposesly driving through the bottom using them the transfer will be huge. Im not gonna analyse everything he said but if you break it down a lot of the things he said arent true. Again, i respect Xie and i agree with everything he said about the importance of the glutes and the EMG readings on pros and average joes. But, as far as that the feet, i have to agree with B.Contreras and say that they are a bit overrated. The glutes are the engine, where power comes from. The feet (and the tendons, especially achille’s tendon) must be solid as a rock to transfer that force. They dont produce that much force. You have said it yourself many times…

    • Ledi,

      I appreciate that you took time to write out a comment of clear concerns that you have; much appreciated, no doubt. It’s never good for people to state their ideas and go totally unopposed. I’ll respond to a few things you mentioned and hopefully this helps you understand why I respect Chong’s viewpoints so much, taking my athletic and coaching observations into account.

      1. For long warmup times, I’d say it’s not so much about the hyperarch (or maybe it is) but more about the fascial vs. muscular athlete in warmup times. From what I’ve seen, this is totally on point. I’m just talking athletes here, and not considering gen pop or older athletes.

      2. There will always be case studies of athletes, and I don’t agree that if you have a solid foot you won’t sprain youir ankle… and there will be some who do, but I positively agree that having a hyperarch type foot will drastically reduce the chance you have of a sprain.

      3. I don’t think it matters at all if one is a natural jumper or not, but rather, what type are you, fascial or muscular. Celi is just one anecdote, and natural jumper or not, is he a fascial jumper or strength? He is strong, but watch him jump and the way he sets up is very fascia powered, i..e watch his heel come off the ground early in late stance, etc. I’ve seen the same long warmup thing in myself and many other jumpers like myself. Being a high jumper, you see it all the time in competition… the fascia guys don’t warm up well like the muscle guys, but they will jump higher as the bar goes up… muscle guys have big warmup jumps and don’t go much higher.

      4. Good jumpers heels hit the ground LESS than bad jumpers. contacts are all heel-initiated, and roll to the forefoot, but good jumpers roll to the forefoot faster, and get their heel off the ground sooner. Staying on heels in squats propagates bad foot dynamics in jumping. You could say good jumpers are less heel dominant.

      5. Sure glutes are the engine and feet are transmission.. but this is actually a bit backwards, and something I’ve been learning lately. The nature of the foot sets up everything that happens up the chain. Muscles will grow and respond accordingly. Have an athlete with bad feet do hip thrusts in the weightroom, and they’ll see limited results.. the body can’t link it!

      Regards,

      Joel

      • Thanks a lot for the reply.
        I may have presented wrong (i was a bit in a hurry) but these are excactly my thoughts. Chong mentions accurate things (warm up, glutes, functional feet) but in my opinion he fails to find the true reason behind these. Its easy to say that the “secret” is x because this gives hope to the people that everyone can become a freak athlete through that “secret”. Its more of a marketing tool than anything. His research is sufficient but the reasoning behind it is not well-based.
        I totally agree with your points though. I guess age and of course experience/education give a huge headstart. Thanks again for the corrections! Huge supporter (4-5 years now) from overseas!!
        Kind regards.

        • Curry sprains his feet because this mechanism is subconscious and he doesn’t know about it. Once he relaxes his foot, there’s no way he can prevent a sprain. Just those freak athletes are in the hyperarch mechanism more often than not, preventing injury.

  7. Been hearing about the hyperarc and “secret of athleticism” for a while on IG so was really interested in listening to this podcast. Good stuff. I even heard Joel mention me (not by name) so that was cool too 🙂

    One of my favorite exercises to increase jumping is not that different from the hyperarch hop that Chong talks about. I know it has helped my jumping but wasn’t 100% sure why. I hadn’t put it together that it was improving the connection between the feet and glutes. Makes more sense now.

    Anyways – thanks & great stuff!

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