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Running and Leaning

mattmetzgar
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Running and Leaning
Hi Esther,

I would like to get your thoughts on leaning forward in running.  I know in your book, you mentioned how some elite runners have vertical posture but still have great speed.  However, there are schools of thought like Pose running that suggest a forward lean is beneficial.  I also see children leaning forward when they run.

I'm wondering, would a lean during a long run put extra stress on the spine?  Another part that seems to complicate the lean is shoulder position.  If you lean forward, it's easy to have your shoulders come forward and then distort posture.

Matt
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I think the key to effective running is to have an anteverted pelvis when you run - this puts the buttocks in a position of mechanical advantage, which is key to a good pushoff. For some people, like the elite runners I show in my book, or the Kenyan runners, it doesn't take a forward lean to antevert the pelvis. Those people can run effectively with their torsos upright. Most people in our culture need to lean forward to get the pelvis to orient correctly, the buttocks to work effectively, and so on.

A forward lean needn't compromise the spine at all - by working the muscles alongside the spine (the erector spinae) and the rhomboids  you can maintain a healthy shape in the spine while running, just like you do in hiphinging. To maintain a healthy length in the spine it is critical to use the inner corset.

Matt, could you please introduce yourself and your blog to our readers? I consider that you have an exceptional site full of good references and ideas.

Best,
Esther
mattmetzgar
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Hello all,

I run a website that looks at nutrition, exercise, and general health from a Paleolithic (evolutionary) perspective.  Feel free to visit at:

http://www.mattmetzgar.com

I am a big fan of Esther for all the work she's done in promoting natural posture solutions.

Matt
mattmetzgar
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One other question on the lean.  I guess I should have been more clear.  Some running methods promote a "whole-body lean", that is, that the lean should begin at the ankles and that the whole body should lean forward with ankles, hips, and shoulders in a straight line.  However, I noticed in your glidewalking that you said not to lead with the pelvis, as this would compromise the gait.

I am trying to determine the correct position of the pelvis in running: either it is under the shoulders as part of a whole body lean, or it is slightly behind the shoulders with a lean at the hips via hip-hinging.

Matt
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Sorry this question got neglected. I go with the whole body lean. When I say not to lead with the pelvis, I mean not to stick the pelvis out ahead of the head and ankles.
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