While your legs power you forward and handle the ground impact, it’s important to remember your upper body. When you start to tire, upper body posture is often the first thing to go. You start to slouch, which restricts your breathing and cuts down your running efficiency. Therefore a strong core and back is absolutely essential for maintaining a good rhythm.
What Is Considered a Good Running Posture?
Having good posture while running can help you get the most out of your exercising experience—but what does good posture consist of? Proper running posture is essential in the world of running. Making it a habit to practice a more improved form while exercising can be extremely beneficial to any runner, despite their skill level.
4 Reasons Why Good Running Posture Is Important
Aside from seeing an improvement in performance as you run, there are other benefits of having a good running posture:
- It helps you to maintain an efficient running style
- Your arms help to propel you forward and maintain a smooth running motion
- Running upright improves your lung capacity and stride length
- A stronger torso means you waste less energy with excessive rotation
While strength exercise helps improve upper body posture, a lot of runners back it up with zoned compression clothing. A zoned compression helps you maintain the correct running posture, opening up your chest and allowing you to take in more oxygen to feed your muscles.
Does Running Improve Posture?
Does running show any benefit to your posture overall? To answer this, it’s good to understand the areas of the body that are most affected while running: ASICS FrontRunner member Miguel Fragoso, explains that running “engages the muscles of the core (glutes, obliques, adductors) and the muscles around the pelvis (hip flexors, glutes), which contribute to better posture.”
How to Run with Good Posture
Here’s how to run with a good posture:
1. Hold Your Head Up
Look straight ahead and keep your chin up. When your head dips, you’re more likely to start slouching.
2. Keep Your Shoulders Low and Relaxed
Keep them low and relaxed—if you feel them creeping up and tightening up, stretch them out quickly to get rid of the tension. When you get fatigued, you might start to roll your shoulders, so make an effort to keep them level.
3. Swing Your Arms Back and Forward
Your arms should swing back and forward, not across your body. Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle to maximize efficiency.
4. Keep Your Hands Relaxed While Running
Don’t clench your fists, since this increases tension in your upper body. Keep your hands relaxed at all times.
5. Hold Your Torso Straight
Keep your torso straight so that you continue to “run tall.” If you start to slouch, take a deep breath and you’ll find yourself straightening up. Just maintain that improved position after you exhale.
Running Posture for Marathons vs. Sprints
Certain areas of the body move slightly differently while running marathons compared to sprints. When it comes to running posture for long distances, your back remains upright, in contrast to sprinting, where you lean forward with a slight curve to your back in an effort to gain more momentum.
The length in stride is another main difference between marathon runners and sprinters. With sprinting, your stride length is not only shorter but also more frequent—compare this to running a marathon, where your stride length is longer.
Exercises to Improve Your Running Posture
Runners, especially those who take on long distances, think of the upper body as something to keep to a minimum—after all, what’s the use of big biceps and a barrel chest if it’s just extra weight?
But strengthening exercises don’t have to turn you into a bodybuilder. And they can help reinforce good posture and mechanics, says FrontRunner member Kacper Kąkol. “Only the correct movement can have a positive effect on this posture,” he says, “hence, it is so important, apart from running, to take care of additional exercises.”
Here are some upper-body exercises to improve running posture that you can do while wearing zoned compression clothing:
- Pushups. This exercise provides better core strength, which is essential for runners.
- Back muscle stretches. Reduces stress within the lower back area while running.
- Crunches. Having a stronger core makes it easier to maintain an upright posture without reaching exhaustion.
- Shoulder press. Focusing strength within the shoulders can help with overall balance and how you move your arms.
- Bent-over rows. Improves back strength, as well as spine and pelvic stability.
Also before you go out and train, don't forget to shop the full selection of ASICS training clothing to help improve your next workout.