If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that this personal trainer in West Los Angeles (yes i just spoke in third person) is not a huge fan of running. The heart and soul of my training program is to keep my clients injury free and increase their training longevity. I know that even mediocre consistency will produce good results and I believe that training age will trump all other controllable training variables. Given our current lifestyle of sitting for prolonged periods of time will cause muscle imbalances and thus movement dysfunction. Tight quads, calves, and weak glutes, core and hamstrings are caused from sitting. The biomechanics of running influence this dysfunction, creating more of an imbalance of tightness in the quads and calves, and weakness in the glutes, core and hamstrings.
I believed this until I discovered Pose Running method (posetech.com). Pose was invented by sports scientist Nicolas Romanav in the Soviet Union during the ‘70s. Since then, many elite and recreational endurance athletes have successfully used Pose to stay injury free, increase their running speed, and make their running more economical (on their body not their finances J). It has gained recent notoriety from the Crossfit community, who adapted this style into their training. Below you’ll see a picture of pose running(blue below) compared to traditional running (red below). Note some key differences regarding the Pose runner (blue):
1. He is leaning forward, using gravity to propel him forward.
2. There is a slight bend in his knee upon impact.
3. The arm swing is much shorter as well as the knee drive.
4. The body remains in the same angle for the entire phase of running.
I still don’t believe given our current lifestyle running is great for your body in regards to injury, but I do believe Pose is a step in the right direction. Here are several reasons I DO like Pose Running technique:
1. Eliminating heel strike
Why it’s important: Your muscles behave like a rubber band. If you were to stretch a rubber band, HOLD IT for 2 seconds, and then release it wouldn’t be as powerful as if you were to stretch it and immediately release it. When you strike the ground with your forefoot, you are passively stretching the posterior chain muscles, and immediately firing them, eliciting a huge elastic response. This will the push much more powerful
2. Bent knees at impact
Why it’s important: The glutes are in a much better position to take on load if the knee in a flexed position at impact. The quads are actually inactive when your foot makes contact with the ground, so the ligaments, cartilage, and tendons surrounding the knee are taking the brunt of the load.
3. The Pose method has a strong connection with strength training and promotes it regularly on their website
Why it’s important: I’m a big proponent of strength training for endurance athletes. Strength training will help runners with:
- Hormonal balance (endurance athletes become insulin resistant as a result of their training adaptation – read at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00421-012-2487-5).
- Muscle imbalances (stronger and more stable hips, shoulders, and knees).
- Running economy (strength training has been researched to improve VO2 max in endurance athletes and will NOT inhibit training gains endurance athletes will make).
4. Pose endorses barefoot training
Why it’s important: The same receptors on your feet are on your hands. When you use shoes and socks, you can no longer elicit the same response from your receptors, limiting your proprioception (body’s intrinsic balance) which will lead to decreased performance and increased injury risk.
For more information, check out the Pose Method website (posetech.com). Also, BBC had a great segment on Pose Running you can check out here: