Pose running might just be an awesome running form for triathletes and serious runners to adopt in order to avoid running knee injuries.
It appears that the design and mechanics of this running technique is geared toward preventing over-stressing the joints.
The one major downside of the pose running technique is that it requires huge amounts of muscular endurance and resilience.
At the same time, the technique does not just target sprint runners or distance runners, but ratherall
The very first time I saw Michael Johnson run was in the Olympics. I remember thinking what a strange running style.
It looked like an unnatural and really uncomfortable way to run but he was deceptively fast. His short strides and quick turn-over rate were truly amazing.
It seemed like he was taking two short strides to every single long stride his competitors were taking.
According to Nicholas Romanov-the Russian scientist who perfected the technique-Johnson was ‘born with perfect running technique’. Indeed, the technique I thought was so odd, was the pose running technique being performed at it’s very best.
I will try and explain this running technique as I understand it from all the research I have been able to find on it.
The trick is to land mid-foot and not the typical heel-strike that most runners use whether they know it or not. On foot impact, the supporting joints should be flexed.
The hamstring muscle is used to lift the foot off the ground–then here’s the tricky part–you rely on gravity to propel yourself forward.
This is pretty much the exact opposite to heel-strike running that most runners use and at times are even advised to use by health professionals.
As simple as the technique might sound, it would most likely take a lot of work to learn. Some sort of coaching would probably be required in order to learn proper technique.
Once the technique is mastered it would come down to lots of practice and training. After all, our bodies have muscle memory and all of a sudden you’re asking it to do something completely foreign.
It would be learning how to run all over again and would be no different than trying to adopt a new swim stroke after years of swimming one way.
Your muscle memory wants you to revert back to the old way and you’re trying to convince it to forget everything and start over.
As a matter of fact, this running technique is so demanding at first that it’s necessary for novice pose runners to perform strength drills before they can ever begin a pose running program.
As a long time endurance athlete(over 35 years now)the part about pose running that caught my attention is the following.
In pose running the runner should have an extremely high cadence and long, extended strides should be avoided.
Part of the training for pose running is to make sure you are not over-striding and using stride lengths that are far too long.
I’ve come across all kinds of runners over my career. Those foot-pounders that you can hear coming from 100 meters away and the runners who have serious braking action going down-hill. This is a great way to guarantee that your quads will be screaming for a week after the race.
According to the basics of pose running, over-striding is not a great choice. As a matter of fact, over-striding is pretty much impossible to do if you are using proper pose running form.
When you pose run, you should actually fall forward and change your support from one foot to the other by pulling the trailing foot off the ground.
If done properly, this takes a minimum of effort and there will be very little braking action. When you are falling forward you are using gravity to pull you ahead.
In effect, the runner stays in a single position(pose)and continues to move ahead in this pose using the proper mid-foot landing, hamstring to lift the landing foot, and gravity to pull him forward and then repeating the process with the trailing foot as it impacts the ground.
The rear foot never really straightens. It’s like a Cheetah who never lands on it’s heels, but always run on their mid-foot with a “pulling action from the hamstring” instead of actually pushing the foot into the ground.
Imagine a vertical line running through your head straight into the ground. When you raise your front leg, it should never cross this line.
It should always be behind this imaginary line when it lands.(now possibly you can visualize how it cannot be a long stride, but rather a compact, short stride).
This means the effort is on pulling the ankle up vertically under the hip and not forward with your hip-flexors and quad muscles.
1)Raise ankles straight up using the hamstrings.
2)Keep your support time as short as possible.
3)That support should always be on the balls of your feet.
4)DO NOT impact the ground with your heels.
5)DO NOT shift your weight over your toes. As soon as the weight is on the ball of your foot, raise your ankle.(Wow! This is a challenging technique but already I can see the amazing benefits from pose running).
6)Always keep your ankle fixed at the same angle.
7)Always keep your knees bent.(So imagine if you were over-striding and stretching your leg way out. Your knees would be forced to straighten and would absorb a lot of pounding and stress).
8)Remember that vertical line running through your head to the ground? Your feet will always remain behind that line that runs from your head, through your body, through your knees, and into the ground.
9)Keep your stride length short. Well, you can’t help but do that if you are using the proper technique.
10)Knees and thighs should be down, relaxed, and kept close together.
11)Keep your focus on using the hamstring to pull the foot from the ground and not on the landing. The landing will take care of itself.
12)REMEMBER Try not to land on your toes and do not point your toes. Always land mid-foot.
13)It is the force of Gravity, and not any muscle action on your part that controls the landing of your foot.
14)Keep the vertical alignment(in other words…hold the pose)in your shoulders, hips, and ankles.
15)Your arms are strictly for balance and not for producing any type of force.
Keep in mind that this method of running is not necessarily accepted by all of the running fraternity. Some people actually get injured from attempting this technique.
That explains why it should be adopted over an extended period of time and why strengthening exercises are necessary first.
Also injuries result because the proper technique and stance was not used. That’s why it might be important to seek out a coach who is familiar with this running style rather than go it alone.
On the other hand, people who spend the required time to learn proper pose running technique seldom ever get injured.
There are those who can perfect this technique within a month, but keep in mind that it is not in ones best interest to go back and forth between running styles.
I know I’m going to give it a try because I like to run long distances and pose running really seems to be perfect for conserving energy, avoiding injury, and keeping the heart-rate as low as possible.
Dr. Nicholas Romanov is one of the leading experts on pose running and this is an excerpt from his book on the subject.
WHAT IS THE POSE METHOD?
The essence of Pose Method is to use gravity as a major propulsive force and let the other forces assist it. It’s well-known that gravity pulls a body straight down towards the Earth. The Pose Method’s objective is to redirect gravity’s downward movement into forward motion.
For this we must determine the position where the body starts falling forward. It happens at mid-stance when you’re supporting yourself on one leg – we call this position the Running Pose. It creates an ‘S’ shape to the body, which enables you to utilize muscle elasticity.
In order to increase a free-failing effect at this point, only one action should be instigated: breaking contact of the support foot with the ground while falling forward, And the easiest way to do this is to pull the support foot from the ground up using the hamstring muscles.
In this way, the running technique could be reduced to a very simple sequence: fall forward from the S- shaped Pose position until you lose support, then swap support to the other to begin failing again by pulling the foot from the ground with hamstring muscles.
It’s simply “Pose-Fall-Pull”.