Run Gait Analysis – Part 4

So let’s wrap up my run gait analysis. I’ve looked at several different aspects of my running form over the last few weeks, you can find those blog posts here:
The final things that I want to cover involve hip drop, shoulder position and arm position while running. 
Hip Drop is the dropping of the hips from horizontal upon foot strike and weight transfer. So let’s take a look at my hips:

Right foot strike – hip and shoulder drop

Left foot strike – hip drop (shoulders are aligned)
So as you can see, when either foot strikes the ground, the opposite hip drops 7-8 degrees from vertical. A drop of more than 14 degree indicates a real weakness…anything below 12 degrees is pretty good. A weak hip or glute will cause this hip drop to be worse. So over a year of hip and glute strengthening is paying off! A larger hip drop also makes it harder to hold a high cadence. Hip drop requires the foot to be on the ground much longer, leading to a slower cadence.
If you notice on the top picture, my right shoulder drops when my right foot strikes the ground. This is the result of a tight Quadratus Lumborum (QL) on my right side. Notice that my left shoulder does not drop in the same way during a left foot strike. The QL is a muscle in the lower back (see image to the right). If I can get this muscle to loosen up, the shoulder drop will go away. I’m currently doing some stretching pre and post-run to work on this. When I was having this anaylsis done and Mike Rowles at Occupational Kinetics told me that my QL was tight, I knew that it wasn’t the first time I had heard that. Two years ago I was having some deep-tissue massages done trying to relieve IT-Band tightness and the massage therapist told me that same thing. She concluded that the QL was tight only on my right side because I leaned to the right while driving – with my right elbow resting on my console. At the time I made a point to sit up straight while driving, but I now realize that I have gone back to my old ways of leaning while driving. So once again, I’m trying to rid myself of this habit.
So finally, let’s take a look at what my arms are doing while I run. During one of our Kids Center Team Ability workshops last spring I was told by a PT that I carried my hands too high while I ran. Good form is maintaining a 90 degree bend at the elbows throughout the entire arm swing. You should also keep the elbows close to the body and not let your hands cross your midline as you swing the arm forward. Keeping your hands loose is also very important.

Good 90 degree elbow bend and loose hands
As you can see from the image above, I do a pretty good job at keeping my elbows at 90 degrees and keeping my hands loose. I’ve made a conscious effort to change my arm swing and it’s just become my new form now. If you look back at the images above from behind, you will see that my elbows flare out a little bit. I need to keep them closer to my body. This likely indicates a balance issue. I’m using my arms to help maintain my balance while running. Single leg balancing drills will help with this.
So there are a lot of other things that I could look at and might in the future. But that’s it for now. It will also be useful to have this analysis at hand for future reference. I highly recommend getting one done if you are serious about limiting injuries and getting faster. I have several things to work on, but overall my form has improved greatly over the last 2-3 years….on a related note, so has my speed!

Be sure and visit all of my sponsor’s websites. I sought out these companies because the provide great products and services. I’ll have some posts coming up soon discussing what each company has to offer runners/triathletes…you may be surprised!

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.