More on the Great Debate: Does decreased step height (resulting in less vertical oscillation) increase running economy

There continues to be a plethora of conflicting data out there on the web. Yes, shocking realization !

This study looks at 16 triathletes; 8 folks trained in the “pose method” of running for 12 weeks, versus the 8 folks who just kept running in their usual fashion (ie. the control group perhaps also known as the “beer and Doritos group”  : )  ). They measured changes in stride length (decreased in posers), vertical oscillation (decreased in posers) and oxygen cost (increased in posers).

According to the study’s conclusion

“The global change in running mechanics associated with 12 weeks of instruction in the pose method resulted in a decrease in stride length, a reduced vertical oscillation in comparison with the control group and a decrease of running economy in triathletes”

Why the changes? Perhaps it takes longer to train appropriately in this method and to become efficient at the method. Perhaps when you lose the “pendulum effect” we spoke about last Thursday on the blog, you become less efficient, or maybe there is another factor. MAYBE “pose running” just isn’t more efficient. Time and more studies will tell.

The Gait Guys. Telling it like it is and bringing you the meat….without the filler

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J Sports Sci. 2005 Jul;23(7):757-64.

Effect of a global alteration of running technique on kinematics and economy.

Source

Department of Exercise Science, Health Promotion and Recreation, Colorado State University – Pueblo, Pueblo, CO, USA. george.dallam@colostate-pueblo.edu

Abstract

In this study, we examined the consequences of a global alteration in running technique on running kinematics and running economy in triathletes. Sixteen sub-elite triathletes were pre and post tested for running economy and running kinematics at 215 and 250 m.min-1. The members of the treatment group (n=8) were exposed to 12 weeks of instruction in the “pose method” of running, while the members of the control group (n=8) maintained their usual running technique. After the treatment period, the experimental group demonstrated a significant decrease in mean stride length (from 137.25+/-7.63 cm to 129.19+/-7.43 cm; P<0.05), a post-treatment difference in vertical oscillation compared with the control group (6.92+/-1.00 vs. 8.44+/-1.00 cm; P<0.05) and a mean increase in submaximal absolute oxygen cost (from 3.28+/-0.36 l.min-1 to 3.53+/-0.43 l.min-1; P<0.01). The control group exhibited no significant changes in either running kinematics or oxygen cost. The global change in running mechanics associated with 12 weeks of instruction in the pose method resulted in a decrease in stride length, a reduced vertical oscillation in comparison with the control group and a decrease of running economy in triathletes.

PMID:16195026 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16195026

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