Pelvic Rotation: The Secret to Effective Running Form

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One of the most challenging aspects of proper running form to learn, and to teach, is pelvic rotation. If learning pelvic rotation is not in your training plan, it should be. It plays a key role in being able to run injury-free, whether you want to do a 5K run or train for a marathon. So, as you might guess, I’m always looking for better ways to teach it. I adopted this recently with a group training for a half marathon and had great success.

The Surf Board Exercise

This exercise should be practiced first while walking, then incorporated, for brief intervals, while running. It is fabulous for really “getting” pelvic rotation. And, it also improves your posture.

Our daughter is a surfer and I noticed that everyone I watch carrying a surfboard over their head and walking has perfect posture and really great pelvic rotation, without trying. It was huge for me to see this, since many people struggle to get a sense of what pelvic rotation feels like. I have also looked at films of people walking with loads balanced on their heads and, again, they all have great posture, great walking form and great pelvic rotation.

For this exercise I’ve had to improvise, since most people don’t own surfboards. This exercise is done with a collapsed folding chair and it works great. Hold the chair overhead and let the seat rest on your head while you hold onto the sides of the chair. Now, walk while holding up the chair and feel how your shoulders always face forward as you walk, and that your pelvis rotates. Your posture will feel nice and straight and your lower back will relax, and you’ll feel your hips swinging with each step.
Walk this way for twenty steps and just feel your pelvis rotating. Then, set the chair down and begin walking with your arms at your sides, but not swinging. As you walk, maintain a sense of stability in your shoulders and feel that relaxed, rotational movement in your pelvis. As you begin to feel more comfortable feeling your pelvis to rotate, allow your arms to gently swing and you’ll sense a nice smoothness in your stride.

Use this exercise as a warm-up to your run and you’ll have pelvic rotation down before you know it. Check out the ChiRunning DVD to learn how to master pelvic rotation through daily practice!

Posted in Beginners

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