Posture and stability

IMG 4022 225x300 Posture and stability

That arch in my back? Not doing my glutes any favors!

I am spending an inordinate amount of time doing PT these days–easily an hour each day. I’ll admit that at least once or twice each week I have a meltdown and think about chucking it all and giving up. It’s depressing and tedious and it requires an extra early wake up time each day in order to fit it in. But when you get down to it, I know I can’t live without running and so I put my head down, day after day, and get after it.

Or perhaps, my head isn’t down, but up, lifted from the crown. When you work with a great PT like mine–one who is a stickler for details–you learn that how you do or don’t perform your exercises really matters. As does how you carry your body when you run. We all hear a ton about having glute and core strength and there’s no question that’s important. But so too is being able to engage those muscles and provide a stable base for your body. I’ve always had good core/glute strength but have always struggled with engaging both, something that might sound pretty familiar to many of you who have dealt with injuries.

So when I am doing my PT these days, I am not just going through the motions–I am thinking about my posture, how my foot is positioned, and how stable I can be through the moves. I’m thinking about removing the arch from my back because it prevents my glutes from firing. I am lifting from the crown of my head and gazing ahead, not down. I am doing the same as I move throughout my day because muscle memory is what I’m after. We all have movement patterns to which our bodies have become adapted. The wrong ones combined with the impact of running, mile after mile, year after year, add up.

It’s not easy to teach an old dog new tricks and truth be told, I’d love to just run and not have to think about my posture or go through all this inconvenient PT. I can guarantee you I wouldn’t be bothering if I wasn’t such a train wreck. But maybe had I established some of this years ago I wouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines now. Something for everyone to think about.

So–now that you know my not-so-favorite exercises, I want to know yours. What moves do you hate but do religiously to help your running?

I asked a few fellow running/fitness bloggers the same and this is what they had to say:

Lindsay from Cotter Crunch: Bridges, pistons, and band work

Angela from Happy Fit Mama: Lunges of all kinds and lower body exercises with resistance bands (hmm…seeing a theme here with the bands!)

Christine from Love, Life, Surf: Clamb shells and lateral band walks (an ITB friend!)

Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddies: Leg bridges and squat jumps.

Marcia from Marcia’s Healthy Slice: Sidesteps with resistance bands (there they are again!)

Laura from Mommy Run Fast: Planks (I love them–sorry Laura!)

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Comments

  1. says

    Clams! I’ve been doing them twice a day for the last month, and last week at a running workshop I noticed a huge difference in my single leg stability!
    Hope all your PT is going well. I’m working on my anterior pelvic tilt too – it’s really hard after half a lifetime of slacking!
    Sherry recently posted..Wanted: A New ITBMy Profile

  2. says

    Ugh, I go though phases where I’m doing really good incorporating all the exercises I should be doing. But it’s hard to fit them all in … until I feel that injury starting to nag again. I am a big fan of the sidesteps with bands and monster walks. I do cat/cow a lot for my lower back. Lately half of my runs are spent trying to engage glutes then thinking about whether or not I’m twisting my core when I run.

  3. says

    I keep hearing the same thing from my trainer: I need to get my glutes to fire and work on my core. She’s a corrective exercise specialist; makes me do all of the above for homework. Since she works at a CF box, I do a lot of heavy lifting in the form of deadlifts, squats (in several different modes), and lunges. Interestingly, when I power up a hill, I do feel those glutes now!

    I’ll be interested to see how this all works when I go back to running after my foot heals! Like you, I ask myself if it is all worth it. But yes, I need my running!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..Running vs. Cycling and other odd thoughtsMy Profile

  4. says

    I know I need to work on my form….I often cringe when I see race photos! Really strength training in general is something I don’t enjoy and I would so much rather skip it. But I do think it is important to help prevent injuries. Lunges are probably my least favorite though :)
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen recently posted..Looking aheadMy Profile

  5. says

    Keep it up- you know the rewards way exceed the work! That’s awesome you found such a great PT, and I bet he loves having a patient who puts in the effort.
    And thank you for this- I do all the work, but sometimes I just go through the motions. I need to get everything firing!
    I hate Janes but do them to help; actually I have a long laundry list!
    Abby recently posted..Long weekend & more mountain bikingMy Profile

  6. says

    ugh I am sorry you are still dealing with recovery. I haven’t commented in a while but just want to let you know you are still on of my go to reads! Keep it up. Your commitment is speaks volumes to your character. All the best!

  7. says

    I hate doing any kind of strength work but as I get older the need to do it becomes greater so I just do it. Probably not as much as I should but I figure some is better than none at all.
    Char recently posted..PricelessMy Profile

  8. says

    It isn’t the PT or exercises that bother me, it is going all the way through the end of PT (you know the stuff you need to keep doing, once you feel that you are feeling good enough to run). That is the part of injury rehab that I typically skip and it is one of the most important parts, because your body might be feeling decent, but it is still not fully healed and back up to strength.

    That is when we should be lazer focused on doing things right, but all too often, at least I for me, I tend to skip or trivialize the importance of those weeks when I am feeling better.

    Keep plugging away at the rehab and make sure things are healed, in balance and stronger than they were before your injury. In other words do as I say, not as I typically do – although I am trying harder.
    Harold recently posted..My Rehab RoutineMy Profile

  9. bob says

    Looking down still works for me. If I look up and ahead, it draws my head up and out as well, and messes up my posture. Perhaps different physical cues work for different people.

  10. says

    I want to love planks… and I do them anyway, I just get bored with poses I have to hold. I’d much rather be doing mountain climbers or push ups from plank position. :-)
    Great point about posture and thinking about engaging key muscle groups… I know I have some weaknesses and imbalances, and I need to pay attention to those things!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Pilates for Runners: 6 Exercises to do at homeMy Profile

  11. says

    Well, I don’t do things for running since I am not a racer & run for cardio only but I do a lot of strength training & stretching & rolling…. love/hate relationship with many but I love the results!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Do You Juice?My Profile

  12. says

    I’ve had similar revelations about my running form: arched back, leaning back etc. It really is about getting everything firing at the right time and in balance. Those imbalances are the causes of injury. I find that my barre class is my favorite “move” right now. We do a lot of core and glute work and the instructor is a stickler for good posture, so she comes around and makes small adjustments as we are working and that cues my mind to fire muscles that are lagging behind. I also love plank twists. Clamshells and side-lying leg raises, but these are the ones I have the most difficulty with. Even though I’m on my side, I still tend to arch my back. It takes so much concentration for me to perform those. Keep at it and don’t be discouraged. You will be a much stronger runner when you return!
    Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Every Run Has A Purpose: Run the Run You’re InMy Profile

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