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March 15, 2013 at 3:19 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Striking a "Pose": A Look at the Pose Method of Running

By Jeff from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Running with Sole Blog Series

Close your eyes… wait, keep them open. But imagine you’re sitting under a tree - an apple tree. It’s a nice sunny day, the birds are chirping, and you muse over concepts of math, philosophy, and the physical world. You guessed it: you’re Isaac Newton. You were just scribbling in your journal when… Ouch! You slam the book shut and hurtle the ripe, red apple to the depths of Hell. You curse its fall, but did it have a choice? Things tend to fall pretty often, all the time even. Why not just call it the law of gravity? Now, time to reward yourself with a snack, but not an apple - you can’t look those in the eye anymore.

Now just imagine if you could apply our hero Isaac Newton’s theory to your running. The typical running style involves “pushing,” or propelling your body forward with each step to cover distance. But what if, instead of pushing, you could get “pulled?” And gravity is there, isn’t it? Would it be feasible to use gravity to pull your body forward? The Pose Method® of Running claims to give runners, among other athletes, this super-power of gravity manipulation, similar to vikings sailing into the wind.

But who really needs technique?

Nicholas S. Romanov Ph.D. (2 time Olympic coach with 30+ years of experience) makes a reasonable case for his Pose Method®, and also for the study of technique behind running in general. “The reason for the development of the Pose Method® of Running was the absence of a method for teaching running technique. Running was always only practiced, but not taught as a skill.” And what a concept to teach. It would seem that running is usually thought of as innate, like walking or eating, not taught, and certainly not like this. 

So you want to know how to tap into the black magic known as the Pose Method®?   

The Pose Method®

Of course, you’re encouraged to read the book, get the DVD, and attend a seminar to instruct you on the technique, but these are three general steps from the website:

  1. 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.
  2. To prevent yourself falling forwards completely, you need to swap support by pulling your foot from the ground vertically under the hip, using the hamstring muscles.
  3. Using all the forces involved in running - gravity, inertia, ground reaction, and muscle elasticity - is intended to help gravity pull your body forward. Coordinating the timing of these forces (the time when each force is acting and when it's not) produces a comprehensive running model that will enhance your performance.

 Pose Method

But don’t forget the potential benefits. The method’s posse also claims better performance and reduced impact on the knees by 50%, as well as a disappearance of injury in general. I didn’t know running technique could do magic. Sound too good to be true?

Too good to be true?

As simply wonderful as the Pose Method® for Running sounds with the studies that seem to back it, this study disagrees. While it’s true that the stress on the knees was reduced, the stress on the ankles increased. That physical stress did the ol’ switcheroo! 

Further, it would seem that running economy over the long term isn’t improved either. A 2005 study kept track of the running economy of 16 triathletes over 12 weeks, half using the Pose Method®. The rate oxygen was consumed by the athletes on the Pose regimen was 3.53 l/min instead of the lower rate of 3.28 l/min consumed by the control group.

Well that’s disappointing. Maybe those triathletes just didn’t know how to use the technique properly. The Pose Method® does warn against “posers” trying to only go halfway on the Pose Method®. All or nothing, they say. But if those triathletes couldn’t learn it, who will? 

And I thought it would be simple…

Oh well. I guess you just have to ask yourself at some point, do you want to be the Russian with the scientific formula for training in the Rocky IV training montage (remember that treadmill on an incline and the steroids?) or Rocky running up a mountain? And you didn’t think that had anything to do with boxing.

Sometimes you just got to take it old school.

P.S. – Wasn’t Stallone the one doing the steroids in real life? Was he villain-izing himself? What’s going on there?

Sources:

"ABOUT POSE METHOD® OF RUNNING?" POSE TECH. POSE TECH, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.

Romanov, Nicholas, Dr., and Steve Freestone. "RUN REVOLUTION: Part I POSE METHOD." 220 TRIATHLON (UK) Feb. 2005: n. pag. POSE TECH. POSE TECH. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.

Tucker, Ross, PhD. "Pose Running Reduces Running Economy...the Missing Study." The Science of Sport. The Science of Sport, 31 Oct. 2007. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.

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2 Comments

  • I want to try this method and see if it reduces the pain on my shine splints.

  • Hmm, it just might work, but it would take a lot of effort to learn the form and longer for it to feel natural. You could try some "duck walks" after a workout to help with shin splints too: http://www.livestrong.com/article/473192-how-to-strengthen-the-ankles-with-the-duck-walk/ .

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