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Technique: Head Position When Running

The head position is a crucial point in making the muscular system of the whole body engaged in a specific way. It could be more efficient or less efficient and balanced depending on the head position orientation. As a consequence, the movement of the body could be more efficient and better balanced or not.

Head

The reason for this influence lies in the anatomical and physiological structure of the head. With such organs as vestibular apparatus in the ears and cerebellum, directly defining and regulating the body’s position in space, the head has an exceptional influence on any movement. This regulation is accomplished by and through muscular work. First of all, through the neck’s muscles, which provide balance of the head, and extend their influence on the rest of the muscular system of the body.

The importance of this regulation of movement comes from very simple things. One of them is the relation of the body with support. What we call a balanced position of the body is actually the position of the body on support. It is a fundamental characteristic playing an undeniably important role in movement. Muscle work happens in the most efficient way when the body weight is on directly on support.

The head position is directly involved in this regulation and therefore defines all the muscular connections and movement of the body. When the head deviates from a proper position (tilts left or right, back or forward) then muscles engage in a wrong coordination and the body shifts from the support. That means that the movement of the body deteriorates as well.

These seemingly simple and obvious relations are violated very often. It most likely comes from having a blurry perception of the head position stemming from general unawareness of the body and weakness of the neck muscles, etc. Majority of people that enjoy running could do very well by going back to basics and sorting out their postural alignment when standing and walking.

 

Eyes

Our eyes exert tremendous influence on our head and body position as well. A common question and sometimes a point of contention is how far ahead are we supposed to look. Is it 5, 10 or more meters ahead or all the way to the horizon? What is the optimal length of our eyes’ focus? Opinions on this matter vary quite a bit, with many different suggestions based on different ideas, but all of them have only anecdotal evidence and very weak theoretical base.

The look of the eyes making your head position efficient isn’t related with any fixation on anything or any distance ahead. Instead it is related to perception. In martial arts this look is called: “you look, but do not see anything”. You should be ready to perceive information, but be not fixed on it. It allows you to keep the body position and muscular system in a ready condition.

Body Alignment

I guess it will be no surprise, if we say that the head position should be along the straight line going through the shoulder, hip and ball of the foot, providing for the body minimum muscular tension (just enough to keep the body at this position) perception of a stable balance and the pressure being on the ball of the foot.

This position is like that of the walking position of some tribal African women carrying heavy objects on their heads. This walking style is distinguished by smooth movement with low vertical oscillations of the body, allowing them to carry heavy objects for long distances. These women seem to carry themselves with outstanding posture and their movement looks very graceful.

These are small rules for the head position in movement and running that provide the foundation for efficient movement.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
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CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Technique: Proper Body Alignment in Running

When running, proper body alignment becomes even more important. Considering the level of impact associated with running we must be even more diligent. And also, what body do you think would move faster and more efficiently from point A to point B – the one that moves like a unit, well composed, properly aligned or the one that looks like it’s comprised of multiple independent parts that are misaligned and move out of sync? The answer is obvious.

What is the proper body alignment in running? The answer is the one that’s in harmony with the force of gravity.

Alignment happens from feet to your head. Starting from your feet, your body should be aligned along the vertical line up to the top of your head. Using the foundation of proper body alignment when standing, we take it a step further in running by slightly bending our knees. What does ‘slightly’ mean? Do light jumps in place on both of your feet. That’s your cue. That comfortable slight bend is IT. Your body should be aligned straight yet not rigid.

Regardless of your speed, everything you do when running happens fast. And the faster you run the faster the movements and the sequence of movements. Your ability to maintain proper body alignment should be automatic which means you should apply more efforts in making this happen before you run, when you warm up, when you drill.

In Pose Method there are plenty of drills and strength exercises that will help you achieve that. To maintain proper alignment in running you must, first, know what it is, and, second, your body must be ‘equipped’ to maintain it. Strength training is essential for runners. Your hips are the biomechanical center of your body connecting upper and lower and need to be strong. Your hamstrings are the ‘workhorses’, as Dr. Romanov puts it, they need to be strong. The calves ‘carry’ a fair share of the weight as you change support when you run, they need to be strong and so on. Strength training and proper body alignment go hand in hand.

We use our whole body when we run. Everything must move, look and feel as a single unit. No rigidness, instead – suppleness. Everything is properly aligned so nothing gets damaged, no moves are wasted, no unnecessary effort is spent. Imagine the perfect image of yourself gracefully and swiftly gliding across the land.

Did you know? The key point of the 2004 study “Reduced Eccentric Loading of the Knee with the Pose Running Method” was that the reduced impact on the knees by virtually 50% was produced by a specific technique (Pose Running) that included a specific body alignment. It wasn’t just the type of landing or just the bending of the knees, or just the high cadence. It was the total package, the complete technique.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.