As part of a new guest series, we are featuring guest blogs by experts in their field. The first of these is Sports physio Mike Otto, who explains why the pelvis holds the key to unlocking your running potential and becoming injury free. Mike is offering Wild Running Members a 30 % discount or a guarantee that after five sessions you will experience a 40 % reduction in symptoms. Here he explains how the pelvis and core work while running.
The Pelvic Powerhouse
The pelvis is the centre piece of the body and the origin of movement. The ancient practice of Tai Chi has recognised this for hundreds of years. As a practicing Physio, I find that the root of lower limb running injuries is often linked to lack of movement in pelvis. We often assume that the core should be tight and tense but actually what we need is state of relaxation so that everything’s flexible, allowing you to move smoothly and to run injury free.
Tension in the core whilst running leads to a shorter stride, staccato rhythm and overall rigidity in the quality of movement. As a result there is less extension of the leg and the stride over reaches in front of your centre of gravity. The hamstrings often become over used and tight, as they are having to over-compensate due to the lack of extension from the pelvis. It is this tension that reduces your efficiency and puts you more at risk of injury.
Using your pelvic power
The hips produce a massive amount of power, which is vital for running. Their ability to work well is dependent on the pelvis that lies above them. For a lot of people, bringing muscle relaxation into the core increases strength and elasticity leading to more power and shock absorption.
The first step in relaxing your core is abdominal breathing. An easy way to practice is to put one hand on your chest, the other on your abdomen and to feel yourself breathing into the belly whilst keeping the chest still. Try and maintain soft, non-strenuous nose breathing.
This exercise gives you an increased awareness of your core which can be used to keep this area relaxed whilst running. By running with a relaxed core, the legs and pelvis are able to move in their full range without any resistance. Freedom of movement in the core of a runner is as important as freedom in the arms for a tennis player. For many people this can also be the solution to longstanding injuries. It’s amazing how a bit of abdominal breathing can improve power and flexibility with core strength, not core tension.
Find out more about Mike’s business here http://www.ottophysio.co.uk/physio-running-exeter
Testimonial from one of Mike’s clients https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DzMZdIqLdw