Recently read the active.com article about running mechanics. I try not to be a commercial (except for anything I'm pushing!), but I found this acrticle interesting.
While I don't consider myself a superior runner, I like to think I've gotten by ok thus far and have actually improved. But, when i read this I was like, "hmmm, I actually need decent improvmen".
Poor Extension - was poor, gotten better - PASS
This is measured by how far behind the body your leg (i.e. femur) extends during the recovery phase of your running stride. I typically like to see a minimum of 16 degrees of femur extension off of the vertical.
Upper Torso Position - I probably lean either too vertical or almost back a little - FAIL
This is the position of your body from your waist to your ear, relative to the vertical position. Ideally, I like to see the upper torso at a forward angle of about five to ten degrees off of vertical. Proper upper torso position helps improve running cadence and sets your body up for a foot strike that falls beneath the body. This improved foot strike position reduces braking forces and vertical bounce.
Hip Drop - I think I do ok on this - PASS
This is best evaluated through video run analysis, and is presented by the dropping of one or both of the hips, upon foot strike and weight transfer. Drawing a horizontal line across the very tops of the hip bones, a drop of more than 14 degrees can be indicative of weak gluteus media and/or TFLs (tensor fascia lata). A good video analysis will very easily identify too much hip drop and the effects that it has on your running stride.
Lack of Shoulder Rotation - FAIL
The shoulders play an integral role in efficient running posture. Many athletes are under the false impression that they should be running with a very square shoulder position. In fact, it is just the opposite as the best runners actually use their shoulder mass as a tool to help propel them forward, late in races when their lower bodies becomes extremely fatigued.
Dropped Arm Position - I actually carry my arms and elbows high so I think I do ok with this - PASS
Both dropped arm and "elbows out" positions are typically the result of hip weakness and/or cognitive habit. Typically, runners with weak hips on one or both sides tend to drop their arm on the side of the weak hip, in an effort to pull the body back over to that side. This is one of those inefficient compensatory motions that slow runners down. These arm positions tend to limit cadence as more rotational mass is presented in the form of arm mass further away from the shoulder.
What they suggest to do to improve:
1) Single Leg Squat
2) Eccentric Calf Raises
3) Two-Joint Hip Flexor Stretch
4) Hill Bounding
5) Rotational Core Work
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