Unless you are an avid reader of running articles and techniques, it's likely you have never come across The Pose Method. However, it is far from a new concept. I've been learning all about it in my instructors accreditation course, where I'll be applying the principles in all my running coaching and video analysis sessions. If you're interested in hearing where I'll be coming from in my run coaching, read on!
Developed in 1977 by Soviet sports scientist, Dr. Nicholas Romanov, and introduced on a global scale to runners in 1993, the Pose Method of Running refers to a movement technique, called the Pose Method, which involves holding the body through specific body postures, or “poses’ ‘ for different physical activities or movements.
It specifically refers to a technique of the poses for running, and was the first of the types of activities Dr. Romanov focused on with his Pose Method.
It since has been applied to other sports such as cycling, rowing, and triathlon.
Dr. Romanov believed that these poses would reduce the risk of running injuries, in much the same way that using proper form and utilizing correct technique when you squat or hold a plank can minimize your risk of injury. He keenly states that its not your muscles that make you run, its the effect of gravity.
How to Do the Pose Method of Running
While certain sports described under the Pose Method have numerous poses, the Pose Method of Running only has one actual pose—aptly named the Running Pose.
With that said, the overall Pose Running technique has three phases .
The phases of the Pose Method of Running include the
the Fall, and
which are all seamlessly integrated together in cyclical fashion to create a smooth, efficient running form.
1. The Pose
The Running Pose begins by positioning your body in what is said to be likened to the letter “S” when viewed from the side. Note that this is a letter “S” with very gentle curves rather than sharp, drastic directional changes as seen in the real letter.
In the Running Pose, your trunk is leaning slightly forward as you get ready to take the next step.
Your shoulders, hips, and ankles should be stacked in a vertical line of support.
When you land, you are weight bearing on one leg, and should be balancing on the ball of your foot on that leg.
Your other leg is bent and held up under your hip.
The key to the “S” shape of the pose is indeed that forward lean, which can feel really unnatural, unbalanced, and unsteady for runners when they start trying the Pose Method of Running.
2. The Fall
After assuming the Running Pose, which again involves vertically aligning your shoulders, hips, and ankles while weight bearing on the ball of your supporting foot, you “fall” forward by allowing gravity to act on your forward-leaning body.
While you fall forward, your other foot drops down naturally and lands under your center of mass on the ball of the foot.
As you go through the fall phase, you essentially switch from performing the Running Pose on one leg to performing it on the other leg.
3. The Pull
The pull portion of Pose Running improves your running efficiency relative to running with a more standard running technique.
Most runners tend to heel strike, which means they land on the heel or rear foot portion of the foot before transitioning to the midfoot and then forefoot for push off.
However, if you think about the goal of running, heel striking doesn’t make much sense. We want to be moving forward as efficiently as possible, but heel striking puts your weight behind your foot, essentially acting as a braking force that reduces forward momentum.
As a result, it takes more energy to propel yourself forward because you’ve wasted energy by landing with your center of mass behind your foot and your heel serving as a means of hitting the “brakes” on your forward velocity.
In the Pose Method of Running, you land on your forefoot in the Running Pose.
This, coupled with the forward lean yields a “fall sensation”. After the fall sensation; you “pull” your leg up under your hip rather than pushing your leg forward as with traditional running mechanics.
Put together, the Pose Method of Running involves smoothly passing through the Running Pose, the fall forward, and then the pull of the foot off the ground for the next stride.