by Devin Blessing, DPT, OCS >> Request an Appointment
Ever wonder WHY the core matters so much with running? Poor control of your core or lack of endurance in your core muscles can contribute to lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain and affect your performance as a whole. Here are two videos to help demonstrate why a strong core will lessen relative pain and help improve your overall capability.
Poor Core Engagement Running
The first video shows a running pattern with poor core engagement. You’ll notice an increased rib flare in the front with increased extension in the lower back. Notice: I’m so upright that I’m almost leaning backwards. This causes increased tension in the lower back, overstriding and a more quad/hip flexor dominate gait that can contribute to knee and hip pain as well.
Good Core Engagement Running
This second video shows a running pattern with good core engagement. You’ll notice the rib cage staying down in front, a slight forward trunk lean and better hip extension. The body stays balanced.
It helps to think of the running stride as a pendulum. A pendulum should typically swing equally in both directions. If your running stride gets too far in front of you, as shown in the first video, the lower back, hips and knees overcompensate, potentially causing pain. By improving your core control, you can easily shift that pendulum back into the right direction so your body becomes balanced.
If you're experiencing pain associated with running or just curious as to how your form looks, I highly recommend getting a running evaluation. Most people have no clue what they look like while running until they go through a full running evaluation. It can reveal some informative findings that may help address pain and improve your times!
Try out these adjustments and let us know what you think! And for some specific core drills that you can comfortably incorporate into your current program, including a few fundamental concepts behind core-training, please check out our post: Core Exercises for the Runner.