This is Kevin. He has completed several marathons in the past. When I first met him he had struggled off and on with calf pain. Initial observation of his running showed a ton of excessive side to side movement of his upper body, which usually indicates poor loading of the hips. I accused him of running like a football player, which he readily admitted! He also showed significant heel whip during mid-stance, which usually comes from hip flexor tightness and/or calf tightness. Tightness in the hip flexors limits your ability to internally rotate your hip, which is crucial for getting into hip extension and having a good push-off. The first video of him running was at the beginning of our session and is actually quite an improvement from when we first met, but there’s still room to improve!
So…where to begin. We first had to teach him to load his lateral hips better, so this video is of a simple single leg squat, but with the hands pre-positioned as shown and left toe touch to add a little stability, his right hip is being loaded in a healthy way.
We also did a simple run form drill to drive greater efficiency through the core. Holding his hands overhead forces him to cut down on the excessive side to side motion of his upper body. This drill could be done even more effectively holding a light to moderate weight or other object overhead.
We also did simple power skips again to increase the loading on the hips and improve efficiency of the load to push-off transition.
After all this, here is the new and improved Kevin running. Notice less upper body side to side motion and more efficient loading and push-off through the hips.
The action plan from this was to do these drills prior to every run, and also to intermittently perform the hands overhead and power skips for 10 seconds throughout his easy runs to continually remind his body how it’s supposed to be moving.
Great job Kevin!