Running Drills: Falling Forward

by Jonathan Ide-Don, PT, DPT, OCS

The primary goals of this exercise:

  1. Teach how to maintain proper posture

  2. Teach how to fall forward

Running can be viewed as controlled forward falling.  Maintaining proper posture from head to toe as you fall forward will ensure that you maintain proper alignment of all of your joints as you run.  Proper posture also facilitates proper muscle activation patterns and stability of your spine, which will decrease risk of injury. Leaning forward slightly while running encourages proper alignment and assists in preventing over-striding.

How:

Start by facing a wall, standing arm’s distance away

Key point #1 Find proper posture in the running position. 
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart.  Imagine there is a string pulling up from the top of your head to lengthen your body from head to toe.  Soften both knees while simultaneously pushing knees outward.  Bend both elbows to 90 degrees (right angle) with hands and shoulders relaxed.  Eyes should be focused straight ahead on the wall.

Key point #2:  Pull your heel up to your sit bone. 
Imagine there is a rubber band connecting the heel of your foot to your sit bone, and lift one heel straight up to your buttock.  Hold this position for a few seconds finding your balance.

Key point #3:  Lean forward. 
Lean forward slowly, feeling as you shift the weight from the heel of your foot forward onto the ball of your foot.  Fall forward maintaining tall posture and catch yourself on your hands.  Push yourself back up to the start position.  Fall forward again, maintaining tall posture.

Repeat for 1-2 minutes on each leg

COMMON MISTAKES

  1. Letting your knees dive in toward each other instead of pushing out as you soften your knees
  2. Leading with your head, jutting your chin forward as you fall forward
  3. Bending at the hips instead of keeping tall posture as you fall forward
  4. Letting your back hyperextend as you catch your hands on the wall
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