How to Run Better without Running

As a running and strength and conditioning coach, I often run into problems with poor lateral alignment and the profound effect that has on power, efficiency and injury.

I wanted to do a quick post elaborating on this rampant runner problem.

And I would know, because every photo of me post accident looks like I’m melting under my own body.

Worse that most, as I damaged the nerve that supplies my glute medius muscle (shown below) on the right side of my pelvis (along with snapping the inner thigh muscles off the pelvis on the same side to make things extra flimsy).

It was like kicking a leg out and expecting the table to stand upright when pounding on it with a sack of hammers.

glute med

Thankfully, I am looking a lot straighter now. And I feel like I owe a big debt of gratitude to strength and conditioning.

good hip

I’ve done my fair share of monster walks, clamshells and lateral leg raises – exercises that traditionally target the glute med. But really, I feel the biggest leap forward was made using the humble squat.

A great many people start out squatting with their knees collapsing in. If you look closely you can see her knees crying. You can also see her feet collapsing inward or “over-pronating”. Any of you runners feeling a little “ah-ha”?

suqat

This pattern is even more pronounced in the one-leg squat patterned, AKA running. And with half the unstable support missing, the pelvis drops noticeably on the unsupported side, causing shear forces on the lower back and pelvis. Gross.

If you’re one that suffers from IT band issues, you might have this going on. Just imagine how much pressure gets put on the outside of your leg (including the wee TFL muscle that holds down part of the top of the band on the outside of your hip).

hip drop

I think in order to learn to fire this small but indispensable little muscle, you need to do the isolated exercises.

But then you need to take it into your big movement patterns: squats, stairs, hiking, running. Pelvis straight, knees over toes. It just might make all the difference in your running efficiency and freedom from injury.

Every movement in your day contributes to your movement pattern and how your muscles need to support your structure and activities. Make em count.

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