POSE METHOD – The Revolutionary way to run faster…

Rambo in the Perfect "Pose" Position

 

This article is taken from Triathalon Magazine from April 2003.

It has some great points about pose and why and how to help you perform it better to make you a better runner.

The thinking behind the Pose method’s development is the absence of a commonly accepted approach to teaching running technique, from a theoretical and practical standpoint. The absence of a clearly defined teaching method is explained by the following:

    Tim Don

  1. The general belief that running technique is a simplistic movement pattern
  2. That individual differences between people make it impossible to have a comprehensive holistic technique for all
  3. Different distances and speeds require a different running technique
  4. Various coaches’ points of view based on unsubstantiated, non-mechanical models
  5. Lack of a commonly accepted running model within the field of running and triathlon

The knock-on effect of these ‘stumbling blocks’ is that there are many areas that can be improved upon. The key one is that running is practiced but not taught as a skill. Hence, the Pose method proposes to teach running as a skill with its own theories, concepts, rules and variety of exercises.

If you need convincing that your running technique can’t be improved upon, recent research may convince you otherwise. Two separate studies stated that injury rates in runners and triathletes ranged from 50-70% of total available training time. A clear indication that poor technique is the underlying cause for such large numbers of runners and triathletes being injured at any one time.

The concepts
So it’s clear that there’s scope for some major changes to your running action. And, with this in mind, the following four facts are the basis behind the evolution of the Pose method of running. Take a look:

  • Running technique is the same for all athletes regardless of the speed or distance run
  • Without getting too scientific, the human organism exists and develops with the force of gravity. Consequently, when running, we should stay within a certain biomechanical framework whose limits are appropriate for utilizing gravity. In layman’s terms, let’s take advantage of gravity to help us run faster
  • Any movement is built on an infinite number of ‘poses’, or positions, through which the body goes in space and time
  • Only specific body positions play an integral role in efficient movement, other actions outside these movements are wasteful

The Pose model
In running, only one pose is used, which is known as the ‘running pose’. The running pose is a whole body pose that vertically aligns your shoulders, hips and ankles on your support limb (where you’re standing on the ball of your foot), creating an ‘S’-Iike shape in your body. You then change from one leg to the other, or one pose to another pose.

The running pose is designed to allow the body of the runner to maximize the external force of gravity, by allowing gravity to pull the runner forward by a resultant of different force vectors.

The Pose model utilizes gravity as an integral external force that moves the body forward by resultant vector composition. This is because gravity is a source of free energy producing an uninterrupted constant force, whereas other forces are intermittent, such as ground reaction force only being active during your stance. Basically, if your body is in an S shape, you can use gravity to over-balance you forwards. Consequently, you’ll be more efficient because you’re not driving yourself forward with your legs.

Efficiency is defined as the energy required to perform work divided by the work completed. In running, efficient movement occurs through the minimization of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) breakdown (the breakdown of glucose without oxygen being present) and the maximization of free energy from gratuitous forces (produced through muscle elasticity and gravity).

Dr.Romanov training Tim Don applying Pose Method®
Dr.Romanov training Tim Don
applying Pose Method®Click on the photo
to see a larger image

Use gravity
The combination of your body torque (the turning force from your body falling forwards from the support foot), produced from the vertical force of gravity, and the position of your support limb in relation to your general centre of mass creates forward movement without the necessity to push off from the ground. Efficiency, you see. Here’s the three-point plan to enable you to make the most of gravity:

  1. Your foot needs to be pulled from the ground quickly, while maintaining the vertical alignment of your ankle, hip and shoulder
  2. The recovery of your leg is initiated by the hamstring muscle group, which flexes your leg with a rapid firing action. The rapid removal of your foot from the ground initiates your body to fall forwards
  3. In the meantime, your other leg is allowed to fall towards the ground without active muscle force, due to the gravitational pull on the mass of the leg. Your leg falls naturally under your body and lands on the ball of your foot, ready again for a rapid recovery. The speed of recovery allows you to maximize the elastic stretch of the tendons of the feet, Achilles and patella (knee), while further reducing the need for energy production by ATP breakdown

The Pose method teaches you a whole new, but energy-efficient, way of running. You learn that your body leads and creates the forward momentum, while your legs need to follow by recovering in a vertical alignment of ankle, hip and shoulder.

Theory summarized
To master the Pose method, the first skill to learn is to stand in the running pose (S-like stance). Your support limb must always be flexed and in vertical alignment through your ankle, hip and shoulder (see Running drills below).

Once you’ve achieved this, you need to get used to your body leading you on the run. There’s a number of drills to achieve this skill of free falling (see Running drills below).

As you become familiar with the freefall concept, breaking contact with support is then taught through various drills used to teach you to pull your foot up from the ground, using the hamstring muscles. The hamstrings are key in this method of running (see Running drills below).

Running drills
The Pose S-like body position has your ankle, hip and shoulder in one vertical alignment. This allows the forces of running to be integrated into one efficient system.

Developing the concept of free falling
What to do Your weight is initially on the ball of your foot, but you then fall forwards (over- balance) onto your partner’s hand. As you do this, it ‘un-weights’ your foot allowing it to be pulled from the ground. Practice to experience the feeling of falling.
Key points Your body over-balances and falls forward under gravity. Your body moves forward with no muscular effort. Note: you can do this with a coach or on your own.

Drills for pulling your foot…
What to do Again, you lean onto your partner’s hand and feel your foot ‘un-weight’. As soon as this ‘un-weighting’ is felt, you pull your foot from the ground. Repeat again for the other leg. Your partner’s hand can stay on your chest or it can be removed each time.

Practice this drill until you can do it in a rhythmic manner. This will use the elastic properties of the muscle, and will ensure you get used to just using the hamstring muscle action, not your hip flexors. To increase your awareness of the hamstring pull, you can get your partner to hold your foot at your heel. This creates resistance for the foot on the pull upwards. Also, you can then place your hand on your hips flexors to see if they are being used effectively.
Key points In the Pose S-like position, your foot is pulled up towards your hip in a smooth vertical line.

Teach your body to lead you…
What to do The pony drill allows you to feel your body lead the movement, while teaching you to pull your foot from the ground. Basically, you go through your newly learned technique in slow motion. You’ll be able to clearly feel the body leading while forcing your feet to pull vertically from the ground.

You can also perform the Pose technique with the use of rubber bands. The use of rubber bands is a good way to see if you’re performing the correct leg action. (Bands are available from Proactive Health on 0870 848 4842, quoting TB220. Cost is P-22 a pair.)

Key points Practice the skill of destroying balance. If your body weight is on your heels, you can’t destruct balance. You have to come through to the ball of the foot to do so.

These drills show you how ineffective your current running technique – pushing off the ground with your foot – really is. It pushes your body upwards as well as forwards and requires significant muscular effort due to you working constantly against gravity.

Another negative point is that it your leg is driven forwards, your foot will land in front of the body and cause a breaking of your body’s forward momentum. Finally, if your foot is behind your body at toe-off, it requires significant effort to overcome inertia to drag the leg through. Whether your leg is in front or behind your body, it will affect your whole body’s ability to change from a balanced to unbalanced position without losing momentum.

Extra Tips
The best way to learn to run Pose is one step at a time. Begin by understanding the concepts of the model in your mind. Then look carefully at the photos in this feature or the Pose video (www.posetech.com), and see how Pose runners run visually. Then begin to feel these movements in your body as you complete the drills.

How long will it take to perfect? This is basically how long is a piece of string. Some athletes have picked up the method in as little as 10mins, while others have taken years. The best method to help you learn is to always to focus on technique when you run and to practice drills each session. Only run as long as you can hold technique and use the bands to keep the feel of the movement. For example, take the ankle bands and hold them at your hip, and the other end around your feet, and pull up your foot with the bands to help you maintain leg cadence.

Conclusion

  • The running pose is the ability to allow your body to freefall under the influence of gravity, directed through the general centre of mass (GCM) of your body
  • In order to prevent your body falling forwards completely, you need to change support by pulling your foot from the ground vertically under the hip, using the hamstring muscles
  • The use of all forces involved in running – gravity, inertia, ground reaction and muscle elasticity – is aimed at helping gravity pull the body forward. The coordinated timing of these forces (the time each force is acting and when it’s not) produces a comprehensive running model that can enhance your performance

The use of this method allows coaches to teach running technique much easier and faster, because the principles and drills allow direct practical improvements. Use of this method allows you to run with less effort and tension, reducing injury risks, and improving results.

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