What is Pose Running and Why Do We Teach It?

By Kristy Taylor

Does this look familiar?  Read this great article by KT on Pose running and why its important.

At CrossFit Endurance Springfield, we teach the “Pose” running method.  The Pose Method looks at running as a technical skill of movement and believes it should be taught like one with its own theory, rules, practice exercises and more.  Aerobic conditioning can only take you so far, while an efficient movement is necessary to achieve maximal speed and distance.  Pose breaks running down into three simple parts: the running pose, the fall, and the pull.  

Pose –> Fall –> Pull. 

Even simpler, all you have to do to run is to change support from one leg to the other by pulling the support foot from the ground.  It sounds quite simple, but it takes a lot of practice to retrain your muscle memory to learn the movement, and to unlearn old habits of poor running form this is why we perform the drills we do on a consistent basis in class.

The four forces acting upon the body in movement are gravity, muscle elasticity, ground reaction and muscle contractions. When unbalanced these forces drive the body forward. A runner must create a constant state of unbalance to allow gravity to drive the body forward.  Running comes down to the ability of the runner to interact with gravity throughout the gait cycle and use gravity to move forward.  To break balance and fall forward the weight of the body must be on the ball of the foot (BOF) exactly like in barefoot running.  Landing on the toes or the heel is not as efficient as a BOF landing and sets runners up for a host of injury.

While it may be difficult to master, getting started running in the Pose technique is quite simple.  Your main goal, besides Pose–>Fall–>Pull, is to get your own body out of its way, and let gravity do all the work.  Here is a list of errors that occur from either trying too hard or from incorrect form.  And remember, pain is the body’s reminder that you’re doing something wrong, so don’t ignore what your feet and joints are telling you. 

Common Running Errors and How to Correct Them:

• Landing with the heel first – land on the ball of your foot (BOF).

• Heel strike with a straight leg – recipe for hurt knee and joints.

• Landing ahead of the body, aka over-striding – keep your general center of mass (GCM) in line with your BOF.

• Using quad muscles instead of the hamstrings (push off), and pulling the swing thigh and knee forward and up – pull the leg up with your hamstrings.

• Landing on the toes with the body behind landing/foot – land on your BOF in line with your GCM.

• Landing with stiff ankles/leg – relax the ankles and let them absorb the impact.

• “Active landing” – don’t place your foot on the ground, let it fall naturally with gravity

• Overall muscle tension – remember to stay loose, not rigid, even in your neck, back, and shoulders.

• Active push/toe off, straightening the leg to propel the body forward – there is no need to push off and strain the calf muscle, just fall forward and let gravity do the work.

• Holding the rear leg behind after leaving the support – allow the foot to drop back to the ground.

• Leaning the trunk sideways or forward – lean from the ankles, not your waist, unless you want lower back pain.

• Keeping the shoulders up and stiff – just relax!

• Arms pumping – keep elbows relaxed and back, with the thumbs alongside your ribs.

To stand in the Pose position:

First, stand in a springy S-shaped pose with bent knees and heels slightly off the ground.  Then, using your hamstring, pull one foot off the ground, ankle in line with the knee, maintaining balance.  This the Pose position, or “figure-4” the position you should always strive to be in when running.  Now, from the ankle and hips, lean forward, breaking the delicate balance.  Allow your raised foot to fall down with gravity’s help, landing on the ball of the foot, while simultaneously pulling your other foot off the ground with your hamstring.  The loss of balance and gravity’s assistance moved you forward, with very little muscle interference. 

You’ve just taken your first step in running in the Pose method!  Congrats!

  The Coaches as CF Endurance Springfield believe that running is a skill that must be practiced and perfected. We believe in the principles of Pose running technique and work with runners of all ability levels to improve their running form and efficiency. I highly recommend checking out the book, articles and discussions on Posetech.com for more information.  I also highly suggest attending CrossFit Endurance with a certified coach to ensure you’re properly running using the Pose method or consider attending the CFE Seminar in June. -kt

All information was taken from the “Pose Method of Running” book or a clinic manual, both written by Dr. Nicholas Romanov.

3 thoughts on “What is Pose Running and Why Do We Teach It?

  1. Good stuff KT. Love the video and must say my favorite incorrect form was “The Dandy.”
    and maybe the “T-1000” and even in bad form Journey music makes everyone look awesome running.


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