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August 21, 2007

In the Pose Method of Running we use many different exercises and tools to learn and teach the key elements of running: Pose-Fall-Pull. One of the most efficient tools for this matter is the stretch cords, which we are using to develop a proper perception of all three elements. I call them framing exercise, because the goal is to develop a perception of the Pose and other related elements.

I would like to repeat again that the logic of the Pose Method of Running is to utilize external forces through use of key elements. But in order to do this, it is necessary to have specific space, time and effort perception of these elements. The goal of working with stretch cords is to develop a proper perception, strength development is just a byproduct of using the given exercises and tools.

Stretch cords are just rubber bands or tubes of different levels of density and therefore of different levels of resistance. They come in different shapes and forms and the ones used for running exercises and drills come with the ankle straps at one end and the belt hoop at the other. This type of rubber bands could be attached to your extremities (ankles usually) and the other end is held by your partner or could be attached to an unmovable object such as a fence, poll, tree, etc…

Stretch cords could be used in multi directional purposes for perception development of three key elements of Pose running. It could be exercise with resistance for the whole body, such as rubber bands around your waist as a resistance against falling forward, or the opposite - helping to learn to fall forward. There are numerous exercises related to the reinforcement of pulling foot under the hip. The above mentioned elements – fall and pull, in my opinion, are the most difficult elements to perform correctly.

In spite of a seemingly simple task, those are the most difficult perceptions to develop in running. Those perceptions are directly related with the Pose itself, because we pull the foot into the running Pose, which is the foot under the hip. Just to remind you, that foot under the hip is actually about the necessity to have the center of mass of the leg under the GCM (general center of mass of the body), because it is the only possible condition for the body to fall forward from. Therefore, the importance of the proper execution of this element is clear.

In general, our perception of this element and its execution is very poor and the use of rubber band exercises is very useful in their development. But the mere use of rubber bands does not guarantee a proper execution of the key elements. We need to match our visual image of the foot under the hip with muscular efforts, propreoception, space and time of the actual movement. It could be done by outside feedback (coach, instructor, partner, mirror, photo, video etc.). I would say, you need to use the outside feedback, and not just pull rubber bands trying to get your muscles stronger.

We are not looking for stronger muscles (most people have hamstring muscles strong enough to make the pull efficient), but for a better perception of this action. Developing strength of these muscles is coming later as your running speed and endurance are improved. But again, the next level of strength is more about the next level of perception.

So the question of the level of density of rubber bands to use is really a question about perception. This is something along the lines of use of gears in cycling. If we use gears that are “too easy” then we have “empty” pedaling and we loose the perception of application of the body weight. Therefore resistance from rubber bands should help get a proper perception of pulling efforts and body position (Pose frame). In the same way we have to consider the frequency of using rubber bands, as well, we should use them as often as it helps to maintain and develop necessary perception. Just remember that it’s a good tool to develop what we need, but not more than this.


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