While your legs power you forward and handle the ground impact, it’s important to remember your upper body. When you start to tire, upper body posture is often the first thing to go. You start to slouch, which restricts your breathing and cuts down your running efficiency. Therefore a strong core and back is absolutely essential for maintaining a good rhythm.
4 reasons why good running posture is important:
• It helps you to maintaining an efficient running style
• Your arms help to propel you forward and maintain a smooth running motion
• Running upright improves your lung capacity and stride length
• A stronger torso means you waste less energy with excessive rotation
Keeping your upper body in line
The big thing to remember is ‘running tall’ – this means running at your maximum height – and keeping your back comfortably straight. It’s what coaches advocate for track and road athletes.
Here’s how to achieve the correct running posture, with the help of zoned compression clothing:
Head: Look straight ahead and keep your chin up. When your head dips, you’re more likely to start slouching.
Shoulders: Keep them low and relaxed – if you feel them creeping up and tightening up, stretch them out quickly to get rid of the tension. When you get fatigued, you might start to roll your shoulders, so make an effort to keep them level.
Arms: Your arms should swing back and forward, not across your body. Keep your elbows bent at a 90o angle to maximise efficiency.
Hands: Don’t clench your fists, since this increases tension in your upper body. Keep your hands relaxed at all times.
Torso: Keep your torso straight, so that you continue to ‘run tall’. If you start to slouch, take a deep breath and you’ll find yourself straightening up.
Just maintain that improved position after you exhale.
Exercises to improve running posture
Runners, especially those who take on long distances, think of the upper body as something to keep to a minimum – after all, what’s the use of big biceps and a barrel chest if it’s just extra weight? But strengthening exercises don’t have to turn you into a bodybuilder:
• Push ups
• Back muscle stretches
• Shoulder press
• Bent-over rows