How to Master the Perfect Running Form

Running
 Roberto Westbrook / Getty Images

The Pose Method was devised by Russian running coach Nicholas Romanov in the 1970s and is widely being taught today by elite running coaches and CrossFit instructors around the world as the ideal running form. Like any other skill, it’s much more difficult to master than it looks, but here are the standards that every runner, from the ultramarathoner to the lowliest weekend jogger, needs to work toward.  

Head

When you’re in proper Pose form your head will stay still without any up-and-down or side-to-side motion. When your head is still, it means that you’re doing everything else correctly.

Back

Focus on a straight back, but be careful of overtensing your muscles. You should have good posture but also feel relaxed. If your back is too tight, it prevents the rest of your body from moving freely.

Arms

Keep your arms at your sides, and don’t worry about pumping them. As long as your back and shoulders are loose, your arms will naturally move back and forth to counterbalance the motion of your legs.

Hips

As you lean forward to fall, think about dropping your hips over the balls of your feet. This will prevent you from taking too long a stride. Speed is maintained by how fast you fall forward—not the size of your stride.

Feet

Keep your body weight on the balls of your feet. Move quickly from one foot to the other to distribute ground forces throughout your joints, ligaments, and tendons

Knees

Maintain a constant slight bend in the knee—it will help you maintain a proper forward lean and make it easier to quickly change from one foot to the other.

Legs

Think about pulling up your back leg with your hamstrings rather than pushing off with your quads. This helps you master the art of falling forward versus pushing off from behind. Think of each step as catching your fall rather than propelling you forward.