Running and Beyond

Conventional coaching guidelines for efficient running performance focus on isolated joints and muscles and they are not based on the scientific principles of functional anatomy, and human movement. Human movement system (HMS) is composed of the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems to produce movement of the body and its parts.

These three systems provide an integrated coordination and movement of interconnected joints and muscles to form a functional chain movement. My study of kinesiology, the science of human movement, revealed that a proper running movement cannot be achieved by training, “legs”, “knees” or “ankles” and without an understanding what joints and muscles are included into the functional chain movement of the running stride. It is not widely understood that human body movements are not accomplished by single commands and training of isolated body parts will not develop an efficient functional chain movement.

One of the main principles of functional anatomy is based on training movements that require a group of muscle to function together in a coordinated pattern which can be referred to as a functional or kinetic chain movement. For instance, your ankles, knees, hip and pelvis joints, and calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteal muscles are involved to provide a running motion. If one of these body parts or links is not working properly, the entire functional chain is faltered and it can lead to a high impact on your body and injury.

Many research studies explore different aspects of running and walking related to gait analysis, kinetic chain of running and a role the hip joint, pelvis and the foot and ankle play in the running stride cycle. However, the research of running functional or kinetic chain movement in relation to the proper weight shift and reduction of the gravity impact on the human body during running has been limited.

Functional Chain Movement
Conventional training methods for an efficient running stride focus mostly on the isolated body parts such as legs, knees or ankles. The simple action of moving a leg forward as a part of the running stride will be performed as a functional chain by engaging interconnected joints and muscles.
The brain must be programmed to move a functional chain movement and to issue a series of commands to move muscles responsible for moving pelvic girdle and hip, knee, and ankle joints in a coordinated manner.

As a result, an efficient movement of running functional chain cannot be achieved without proper understanding of functional anatomy and functional chain of joints and muscles related to specific movements.For instance, synchronized quadruple flexion and extension during the running stride involve ankle, knee, hip joint, and pelvis for the center of body weight to shift properly. If one of these links is not working properly, the entire functional chain is faltered it can lead to a high impact throughout the body, and contribute to injury.

Weight Shift and the Center of Body
When I started my exploration about running I wanted to find an answer does why running bring such a high impact throughout the body? To this date, I couldn’t find a research, study or discussion to address this issue. When I run I felt that my legs under constant pressure of the body weight. Following this logic I was thinking if I can figure out a way to shift the body weight efficiently and avoid fighting gravity it would reduce the impact on the body and make running natural. It turned out to be a milestone decision and brought me to into the area that has not been explored.

Walking, jogging and running without putting stress on the body requires a proper weight shift. Research how to shift weight efficiently beyond the awareness level is limited. It is not widely understood that it is necessary to shift the center of body weight as opposed to moving the whole body. In a vertical position, the center of body weight is located in the pelvis region below the navel. Shifting the center of body weight is the ability to use pelvis, hip joints, and gluteal muscles as primary movers.

My study of kinesiology made unexpected discovery that human body is anatomically built to shift the center of body weight. Therefore, our goal is to understand what links the functional chain consists of and how they interact with each other. As opposed to training the center of body weight shift in our “own” way. If this area is not properly functioning it will lead to losing the ability to move in any physical activity and daily life.

This means that attributing the loss of movement to aging only is a misconception. In addition, if the movement does not include pelvis, hip joints, and gluteal muscles it will cause significant dysfunction throughout the body. Running is an advanced form of movement and demands well-coordinated actions of the joints and muscles in the lower and upper body. If the walking gait is not efficient running and jogging will put a multitude of tears and strains on the body.

Training Approach
This training is divided into three phases: 1) speed walking or race walking, 2) jogging and 3) running. When you become efficient in speed walking, you can transition to jogging and running. The running stride can be defined by the three basic movements in the following order: 1) single-leg balance, 2) forward lunge and 3) split squat. All basic movements are interconnected between each other and need to be performed with a functional precision. The training should start with practicing the single-leg balance and if you are be able to stand on one leg without tension to keep the body fully balanced it will enable you to walk with speed efficiently.

If you feel tightness in your body when you hold one leg in the air it means that some links of the functional chain are not working properly. Also, during walking or running the lack of full balance will prevent you from executing properly the forward lunge and split squat. Also, you don’t have to run or jog because efficient speed walking can produce a sufficient speed to reach a vigorous intensity and improve aerobic system.