Posture is one of those areas which can have a strong impact on running economy and performance. Let’s think about it in a very simplistic way… The better you can maintain a vertical and supported position, the more efficient your lower body can operate with less energy wasted while fighting to keep you upright. This is especially true late in a run or race when breathing is labored and your muscles are fatigued.
Take a second and think back to your last race or long training run… As mileage started to increase and you got tired, what happened to your body position? Most likely you…
- Developed more of a hunched over posture
- Lost control around the core and possibly felt some lower back irritation
- Increased loading into the ground due to poor shock absorption
- Had difficulty catching your breath as the run went on
- Started to feel heavy legs that were hard to turnover
Do any of those sound familiar? If so, targeting posture in your weekly strength training routine can have a huge impact on your running.
So, what does it take to really maximize your posture as it relates to the demands of distance running?
Posture is a mix of several different characteristics which includes: joint positioning, mobility, flexibility, stability, and endurance. You can certainly target individual attributes and see great results. But, implementing a well-rounded approach while also taking into consideration your specific limitations will create a lasting impact to withstand the high impact of running.
In addition, posture really needs to be viewed from a full-body perspective. Of course what quickly comes to mind is the spine and shoulders. But, I want you to shift your focus to also include the pelvis, hips, rib cage, breathing mechanics, and then those commonly thought about areas up the kinetic chain. This all-encompassing approach will be the difference maker in your running!
In today’s video, I want to share with you a variety of basic strategies to implement when targeting posture:
What I recommend moving forward is to following a systematic approach when targeting posture. In the exact order, this includes:
- Hip, spine, and shoulder flexibility/mobility (i.e. hip flexor stretch, prone press-up, and pec stretch)
- Diaphragmatic breathing and rib cage control (i.e. hooklying breathing)
- Core stability with proper breathing (i.e. supine marching and dead bug)
- Shoulder and spine strength/endurance (i.e. band low row, band high row, and dumbbell bent over row)
By following this recipe you will notice a significant improvement in posture when staying consistent for a minimum of 2x/week for 6-8 weeks. With that being said, don’t stop there! Continue building more endurance and resilience by increasing resistance and progressing your exercises as needed. This will create a more bulletproof posture that continues to be supportive as mileage increases.
Thank you for checking out this article today regarding posture for runners. Please comment below or send me a message if I can answer any specific questions for you. If you need help creating a specific strength training routine that supplements your running, I’d love to help!
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART