A simple way to get more out of your body when running

To wet the whistle of those thinking about joining us on our Running Mechanics Workshop (hit the link to grab a ticket), we thought we’d share a few things that typically are involved in the cause of running related injuries or inefficiency. 


It involves improve two things

  1. Your abdominals strength 
  2. Your hamstring strength. 


Your abs and hamstrings play a specific role in pulling your pelvis into place and this is crucial if you want to manage and correctly distribute and generate forces through the body. 


Again, the reason we have such issues can probably be drawn back to on the influence sitting has on our bodies. 


When we sit a couple of things happen:

  1. The connective tissue that is on the front of our thighs (hip flexors) is put into a shortened position. 
  2. Your abdominals and hamstrings don’t have to work very hard. 
  3. Your upper back flexes, relaxes and rounds. 


Compound this pattern over 20 - 30 years (school, uni and now your job) and your body would have adapted to it so thoroughly that it’ll present “stuck” in the same shape when you stand. 

In other words, the bony parts on the front of your hips will want to roll closer to the front of your thigh and your bum will stick out (anterior tilt), your abdominals won’t have great recruitment patterns or strength, your lower back will be jammed up and your shoulders slumped down and forward. 


Unfortunately, we can’t just flick a switch and correct all these things. 


We need to teach our body where it is and where it needs to be for required activity. Instead we tend to jump up and demand it to go, the events to follow are typically deleterious. 


What is exciting is that there is a solution to the problem. 


It is called strength training. 

Not “look at my guns, I'm psychologically unstable and making my muscles massive is going to fix everything” type of strength. 

More, “using your conscious brain to learn how to use what might be typically weak so that when you are in a less conscious environment your body does the right thing” type of strength training.


Here is where the abdominals and hamstrings come in. 


As you saw, when we sit often for long periods our pelvis and it’s affiliated muscles and connective tissue adapts to that position - stuck in an anterior tilt.


The solution?

Your abdominals (deep and superficial) originate on the front and side of your pelvis. Getting them strong allows you to pull the front bony parts of your pelvis back posteriorly - settling in a more neutral position. 

On the other hand, your hamstring starts on the bony part underneath your bum cheeks (ischial tuberosity) and inserts on either side of your knee (there are 3 muscles we won’t bore you with the nitty gritty). The hamstring can help facilitate a neutral pelvic position by pulling the bottom bony parts of the pelvis down which are typically lifted by the tight lower back. 


What does this have to do with running? 


Well, that overused achilles, or that aching knee or that jamming lower back (to name a few) are all a result of mechanical overload because of force not being distributed correctly across the system. In particular your hips, the biggest joint in the body, can’t contribute to this load management very effectively. 


Now, it is important to note that these rules don’t apply to everybody verbatim. Every body has its own complexities and considerations need to be drawn to this. We are just fortunate enough to have worked with a number of people and this is one of the more common issues we see. 

This is just one of many minor details that can go a long way to making running more enjoyable. We haven’t even touched on forefoot striking! If you'd like to wrap your head and body around a few more, hit this link and grab a ticket to our workshop this Saturday (the 21st/11/2020), we are confident you’ll run better forever.