I have an uncontrollable habit of watching how people run. There so much that each stride can tell you about the needs of the body. Sometimes it takes a lot of constraint not to stop someone on the trail and say “you know you could use some…” I don’t do it, because that’s both weird and rude, but I definitely think it. It's not out of judgement by anymeans, but simply a genuine love for the sport and helping people feel and perform their best.
It's to the point that my husband now knows and whenever he sees a runner pass us while we’re out he asks “so, what did you think?”
Anyway, what’s crazy is, in all the years of analyzing others running (both by request and as my uncontrolled hobby), I’ve never done it for myself. In this post, we’ll look at my running gait and then how I would use what I see to design a strength training program tailored specifically to the needs of my body.
This is a service I offer to all of my 1-on-1 coaching clients or as a one time deep dive strategy session.
Let’s dive in!
My Gait Analysis
Here's what I see right off the bat...
Let's look at screenshots of 3 important part of my stride:
I've been having a bit of pain on the left side of my hip, but other than that I've been running strong. What I see here are quite a few things that can help me run even stronger!
In general could use:
Want me to break your gait down like this? Click here!
The general structure of my workout programming goes:
I start all my workouts with some positional breathing. Don't be fooled though, this breathing is WORK!
Rockback Breathing - right palm down, left palm supinated
Goal - get expansion in my thorax so I can more effectively stack and turn my torso back to the right a bit. At the end of each set, I sit back into my heels and just focus on relaxing my pelvic floor on the inhales because, if I'm not careful, I hold tension there. (sped up 3x so you can see my back expanding better)
A Play on Katie St.Clair’s "Drunk Bear"
Goal: Shift more into my left side to gain a bit of internal rotation while pressing in the wall with my right to get more of that glute (to help turn my pelvis back left). Right arm reaching forward for expansion on the right side of my torso. This doesn't look like much but holy glutes on fire!
Iso Squat at 90 with Band
Goal: Get more internal rotation at the pelvis (accomplished by breathing in the squat at 90 degrees) with a little bit more external rotation of my femurs (band around my knees)
*From other assessments I was able to determine that my pelvis is such an end-range external rotation that my femurs are stuck in internal rotation. I could not see this all with my gait, but the inability to internally rotate at my pelvis is not allowing my glutes to do their job stabilizing my pelvis (hello crazy hip drop)*
When I do this for my clients we look at the whole picture to make these types of decisions: gait AND a few strategic movement assessments.
All of this positional breathing stuff is so that I can get my joints in the right position so that the muscles can actually do there job!
I wouldn't necessarily program this many breathing exercises for everyone. I simply find my body does best when I layer them together like this.
After waking up my sleepy glutes by putting my pelvis in a better position for them to work, it's time to warm them up for my main lifts.
My body in particular needs help with hip extension and internally rotating (shifting into my hip instead of hiking it up).
Bridge with Feet Elevated and Lateral Resistance
Goal: Work hip extension and stability. The band anchored laterally to my body from the left will add an extra challenge to my core and help get a little bit more adductors on the left with some more glute med on the right. Another little trick to help turn my pelvis back left.
Goal: Get moving and work on shifting into my hip instead of hiking it up. I have my hand on my hips as a cue to keep them level.
*These were not the easiest thing to film in this space. So I apologize for the weird video.
After these, I'd probably add some simple plyometric stuff to get my nervous system revved up and ready for the main event!
Intentional Accessory Exercises
After my main lifts I’ll do a couple of small circuits of accessory work. Here is one example I would add to my squat day and one example I would add to my hinge/deadlift day.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat - Contralateral Hold
Goal: Glute strength and general hip stability. I'm holding the weight in the opposite hand of the standing leg to help work in the strength needed to prevent that hip drop in my gait. Because I know I have a hard time with internal rotation and shifting into my hip (instead of hiking it up) I have my other hand on that hip as an added cue.
Step Up Hinge
Goal: Work on hip stability and extension in the toe-off phase of gait.
In the past, I would have muscled through each of these, going through the motions (as many runners do) and never felt my glutes. Taking the time to set my body up so that the glutes can do their job, as I did with the positional breathing and the intentional movement of the warm up, was necessary to get the most out of these moves (and the main lifts too).
These were both glutes on fire!
All the parts are connected, we need a good landing for good loading and good propulsion AND we need good propulsion for a good landing.
I'm focusing on good hip stability to be strong through the stance phase and good hip extension for good forward propulsion on the toe-off.
Even though I was slightly overstriding in my gait, paying more attention to strength/stability through the middle and propulsion forward are the more important pieces in my opinion. Doing so will likely help my foot to land closer to the body naturally.
I can go through this whole process with you as part of my 1-on-1 coaching clients or as a one time deep dive strategy session.
Just click one of the links about or reach out via email 👋