Pose Method: The Perfect Way To Run?

The Pose running (and more recently, Pose Cycling and Pose Swimming) method has been gaining converts steadily throughout the past few years. Developed by Dr. Nicolas Romanov, a doctor concerned with the number of running injuries he had seen and experienced, the method is an attempt to teach athletes, from sprinters to ultramarathon runners, the natural way to run.

Since the jogging and fitness crazes of the last century got more and more people out of the house, jogging around the block, and completing marathons, the number of sports-related injuries has risen accordingly.  So has the market for fancy running apparel, gadgets, and footwear.

Many proponents of alternative running methods tend to lay the blame for running injuries on the proliferation of highly cushioned and motion controlling shoes. Programs like ChiRunning and Pose running both make the assumptions that running, walking, and living in these kinds of shoes have changed the way our legs move, for the worse.

Footwear Problems

The main symptom of this illness is a running stride where runners land with their foot far out ahead of them, toes pulled upwards, landing heel first. This creates a ‘braking’ motion and sends a minor shock up the ankle, knee, and hip according to Romanov and like-minded thinkers.

Multiply that shock over the thousands of strides a runner takes in a single five-mile run and milllions over the course of a year and you get a predictable result: overuse injuries like patellar tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, achilles problems, and iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.

The question is whether these overuse injuries are avoidable. Every runner who trains regularly takes hundreds of thousands of strides a month, isn’t that enough to hurt anybody, no matter how they are running? Romanov says no. He blames over-striding, heel striking, and the ‘braking’ motion for the preponderance of running injuries, and claims that Pose running can solve them.

Runners, frustrated with the nagging inflammation and overuse injuries that keep them from running, have flocked behind him in the hope that he is right. Romanov points out that athletes in almost every sport, even endurance sports like swimming and cycling, are taught the basics of good form when they start out. Not so with runners, most people are simply sent off with simple instructions about speeds and distances.

The Pose method attempts to remedy this oversight. It recommends that when running, you always land on the ball of your foot or as far back as your midfoot. In part, this keeps you from over-striding, which cushioned shoes tend to promote. It also stops you from locking your knee as your foot contacts the ground, which helps cushion the fall. It ‘re-teaches’ you how to run through a series of drills and by visualizing each running stride as a three-phase operation.

How it works

The three parts of a stride, according to Pose, are: pose, fall, and pull. Pose is the position your body should be in while one foot is on the ground: knees bent, heels off the ground, body leaning slightly forward.

Fall is the point when both feet are off the ground. Romanov gives the imagery of a fall and letting gravity do the work in this phase to place the front foot on the ground.

Pull starts the instant the forefoot/midfoot touches the ground, when the motion should be a ‘pulling’ with the hamstrings instead of a ‘push’ with the quads. The method takes some getting used to and some work to actually incorporate into your running stride.

The original Pose Running book includes a number of drills that increase strength and flexibility in important muscles for Pose running and get runners used to the feel of moving your body in a new way. It is unclear whether Pose running offers many benefits over traditional running.

Many of the exercises and drills in the book are rehab exercises used to stretch and strengthen injured runners’ weak spots, and these may be the source of improvement as far as injury reduction. At least one study has found that Pose running actually decreases running economy.

Large changes in running form are not always advisable, but different people may find Pose to be very agreeable, or that incorporating some aspects of it into their normal running will be of some benefit.

Some speculate that he is part man, part animal, but the only thing that you need to know is his obsession and dedication to the art of living lean and helping you to achieve your body fat goals.


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