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Shake your hips

1 December, 2009

It was back in the summer while running with the titular Stones’ song playing on my ipod, that I decided spontaneously to experiment with my form. I was enjoying one of those nice, buzzy runs, where everybody coming the other way seems to be smiling, though I had nothing on my face but probably my own silly grin. [Warning: discussion of biomechanics in the ass region coming up]. Yes, in today’s post I’m going to be talking about my (some would say non-existent) bum.

So there I was shuffling along the seawall. Now it’s not easy to talk about this, and not just because of any residual hangup about the pelvic region. Normally, lower body biomechanics of running connotes (well, it did for me) rotations about various axes perpendicular to the sagittal plane: the ankles, the knees and hip flexion. Wheels in other words. But what I started to do on that sunny day was to extend that rotation, which occurs primarily in the upper torso and shoulders, and acts to counter the swinging of the legs, downwards into the pelvis. But, of course, this was done in a contrapuntal way, complementing the swing of the legs, rather than that of the arms. The arms and shoulders have to work a little harder, but more power is generated.

Now, if this isn’t making any sense to you then it could just be that I’m rediscovering the wheel. That’s to say, you’re already doing this when you run. But let me tell you that it was a funny feeling, having my junk in the rear swing back and forth like a pair of over-ripe honeydew. And at some point down the road I looked into it, and with a little prompting (a highly technical article, I found the abstract online, but I haven’t found it since – help me if you can), realized that this, in my case, is probably the way to gradually extend stride length and become a faster runner. I do this a little from time to time, adjusting incrementally.

Well, I’m looking forward to my group run this evening. I really do need to get out a bit more!

courtesy: maesejose (on Flickr)

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