A blog post by our Director of Operations
Recently, my sister asked me if I could help improve her running form since she is participating in her first triathlon this August. We went to the local gym where I watched her run on the treadmill at an easy pace. I noticed she had the same issue a lot of other people have; swaying in the lower back. I asked her if anything hurts after she runs and, as I suspected, her lower back and her knees usually gave her issues. I knew she had been in therapy for her lower back and knees but she assumed these problems were results from her long career in soccer.
I proceeded to tell her that her form was off. I asked her to look straight ahead, tilt her hips forward and engage her abs. She noticed an immediate difference, even stating that the “pooch” she thought she had was now gone. Then she started saying that she could now feel her lower abs, her glutes and quads. This new sensation in these muscles is due to the fact that they have been under developed.
After watching her run for a bit, we went to the mirrors so I could show her how she needs to be standing versus how she stands now. The picture below shows common postures problems and how proper posture looks.
I stressed to her the importance of maintaining a good posture no matter what we are doing throughout the day especially if she is already getting lower back pain. Below are some exercises that have helped me improve my posture:
Lie down on the floor and bend your knees so both feet are on the floor. Place the bar across the hips. Push through the heels and lift the buttocks off the floor. Return to the starting position. Do not put any weight on your neck and use the Body Bar as a level. The Bar should remain straight throughout the exercise.
Lie face down on the floor with bar extended above the head. Begin to roll the bar back towards your head without bending the elbows and lift the chest off the floor. Be sure to look straight head and feel your hips drive into the floor as you roll up.
The plank position is great for stabilization and working on form. Hold the plank position for 10-30 seconds for 3 reps. Be sure to “suck in” your stomach so your back doesn’t sway or your stomach droop. It helps to also engage your glutes to keep everything aligned.
Stretching the Hip Flexor
It is important to also stretch out the hip flexor. This will help alleviate lower back pain and bring your hips forward where they should be.
With these exercises and stretches, along with any other exercise or stretch you may do, always check your form/posture. Do it correct now so you won’t have to fix it later.