How To Improve Your Strides Without Trying

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Chi Running and the Pose method are two branded running methods that have become very common. Are they, however, effective? Many runners who have read the books, watched the DVDs and attended the clinics claim they are, and there is no question that they help specific runners achieve their goals. But are they the most effective way to improve stride strength and performance while still reducing the stride irregularities that lead to injuries in most runners?

There is no statistical evidence to support this claim. In truth, the reverse is true. For example, a 2005 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that after 12 weeks of using the Pose running form, the running economy of 16 high-level triathletes was reduced (meaning the athletes were less efficient).

A few years earlier, another study of the Pose system was conducted at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The second step of the research had to be stopped, according to Ross Tucker, Ph.D., because the Pose procedure was triggering calf strains in many of the participants (a common complaint among Pose customers).

A newer theory of running biomechanics contends that stride improvement is better accomplished unintentionally rather than intentionally. Stride performance and strength are well-known to improve spontaneously as a result of implicit mechanisms in response to various forms of instruction. It’s unclear if conscious stride shape manipulations are helpful and which particular improvements are beneficial for which runners. As a result, if you want to improve your stride, you can focus on training approaches that promote “automatic” improvements in strength and performance.

Below are three examples of effective teaching methods:

Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your right knee and put your left foot in front of your body on the cement. Roll your pelvis backward and draw your navel towards your spine. Now shift your weight forward into the lunge until your right hip flexors are stretched (located where your thigh joins your pelvis). Lift your right arm over your head and consciously aim towards the ceiling to increase the stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds before switching to the other line.

Giant Walking Lunge

Fast running necessitates a high level of hip stability. To take the massive strides that the pace necessitates, you must dynamically attain a high degree of hip flexion and extension. The giant walking lunge is a great way to improve hip agility. Stroll forward deliberately, taking the widest steps possible and dropping the trailing leg’s knee to within an inch of the ground with each step. Concentrate on going as far ahead of your body as possible for your striding leg. Perform ten lunges with each leg, rotating the striding leg as you would normally be walking.

Single-Leg Running

Plyometrics exercise (or jumping drills) has been shown in studies to increase running economy by reducing ground touch time and increasing the legs’ ability to catch and reuse energy consumed by impact. Few runners are interested in using plyometrics exercises in their preparation.

You don’t have to, however. Instead, mix in any single-leg training with one or two of your weekly races. Start by running for ten strides on your right leg and then ten strides on your left leg. Increase the number of steps you take on each leg gradually before you hit 30 a leg. You’ll find that going for longer on one leg becomes easier, which indicates that your legs are adjusting to the tension and your stride is getting more effective.

Steep Hill Sprints

If you’ve never done a steep hill sprint before, don’t go for a set of ten the first time you try them. The muscles and connective tissues are placed under a lot of strain as a result of these efforts. When doing steep hill sprints, the unwary amateur risks straining a muscle or tendon or sustaining some acute injury. Steep hill sprints shield the legs from injuries until they’ve adapted to the tension they put on them. However, you can continue with caution before you’ve overcome those early adaptations.

After completing a simple race, the first session can consist of just one or two 8-second sprints on a steep incline of around 6%. Get on a treadmill and set the incline to 6% if you don’t know what a six-percent gradient looks or sounds like. Then look for a hill that is similar to it.

Your first session will cause biochemical adaptations that will help shield the muscles and connective tissues from injury in the following session. These adaptations, known as the “repeated bout effect” by exercise scientists, happen very rapidly. If you start your steep hill sprints on Monday, you’ll be able to do another session by Thursday, and you’ll almost definitely be less tired after the second session.

Because of the repetitive bout impact will easily improve your steep hill sprint training and gain strength and stride ability. To begin, increase the amount of eight-second sprints you do per week by two. Step up to 10-second sprints and an eight-percent slope after you’ve mastered eight to ten sprints. Advance to 12-second sprints on a 10-percent hill after a few more weeks. Enable plenty of time between individual sprints inside a session to heal completely. To put it another way, pause long enough that you can cover the same amount of ground in the next sprint that you did in the previous one. It should be enough to walk back down the hill you just run-up, but take it if you need more time.

Most runners can gain as much strength and endurance as possible by running 10 to 12 hill sprints of 12 seconds each twice a week. You should cut down to one series of 10 to 12 hill sprints every week until you’ve achieved this stage and have started building strength and endurance. This level of full strength training should be enough to keep the gains going for the rest of the training period.

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