Running Imagery: Your Spine as Washing Machine

A strong image can often be helpful when learning a new skill or modifying one, and running is no exception. So, the next time you go for a run, think of your spine as a washing machine!

Envision your spine as the center of your running form. It is long, tall and straight, from the tail bone to the top of the head. This pelvis-to-head segment leans forward from the hip joint, and is the source of propulsion for your run.

One of the many misconceptions about running that I encounter is that the torso should move through space like a brick – shoulders and hips held square, with little rotation of the shoulder and pelvic girdles. However, this approach actually blocks the natural movement of the spine and the natural mechanics of running.

Instead, think of your spine and your torso as a washing machine. The spine is the agitator, long and tall and the center of activity. The water and clothes follow along with the movement of the agitator, passively moving back and forth with the current initiated by the central source of power and movement.

The movement of the spine when running is similar – the spine at the center, vertebrae rotating left and right moving the shoulder and pelvic girdle, the contents of the torso following along with movement initiated by the spine.

So, the next time you go for a run, think of your spine and your torso as a washing machine. The spine is at the center, the central power source of your run. And remember, the spine moves the pelvic and shoulder girdles, which move the legs and the arms.

Don’t resist natural running form, relax and let your body do what it is beautifully designed to do.

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