Can the Pose Method Improve Your Running?

Pose LogoThe Pose Method, developed by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, claims to improve running performance and help reduce injuries.  It provides a series of drills that help you to:

  • Keep your center of mass above where your foot lands
  • Keep your shoulders, hips, and ankles aligned
  • Avoid landing on your heel
  • Use gravity to your advantage by leaning forward slightly
  • Keep your legs bent at all times
  • Stop reaching your foot out in front of you to force a longer stride
  • Maintain a stride rate of at least 180 steps per minute
  • Pull your foot up vertically using your hamstrings
  • Keep your quadriceps relaxed

Many of the Pose Method’s recommendations follow generally accepted principles that can help you improve your running.  The area where they get into trouble is with the idea that you should pull your foot up vertically using your hamstrings, without pushing off.  They also recommend that your stride length remain should remain fixed.

Pulling your foot up vertically using your hamstrings results in a shorter stride and faster leg turnover.  Faster leg turnover or stride rate is a good thing for most recreational runners, who tend to overstride.  But the way that the Pose Method achieves this is through creating an unnaturally short stride without a push off.

It is a generally accepted principle that the optimal stride rate for runners is about 180 steps per minute.  Since the stride rate remains relatively constant, the only way that you can increase your running speed is by increasing your stride length.  To increase your stride length, you don’t reach forward with your foot (which would cause overstriding).  Instead, you push off more forcefully, causing you to travel further with each stride.

Although some studies have shown that runners trained in the Pose Method have reduced the stress on their knees, they have increased the stress on their ankles and calves, sometimes leading to injuries.  Other studies have also shown that Pose Method runners suffer from reduced running economy (higher oxygen consumption per kilometer).  Some Pose Method trainees have also complained that it has made it difficult for them to run without constantly thinking about how they are running.

Have you tried the Pose Method?  Has it helped or hurt your running?  Tell me in the comments.

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