Lazy Butt

Know your biomechanics: Online Editor Carys discovers she has a lazy butt as she undergoes her first running biomechanics assessment.

Thursday, 16 August, 2012

I’ve got a lazy butt. What I mean is my glutes are weak and aren’t ‘firing’ as they should. I’m not lazy honest! Apparently, my right leg  is dominant and taking the strain, while my left leg isn’t pulling its weight - meaning I am overloading my hip flexors and quads, which increases my chances of injury. The result: an inflamed ITB, sore knee and hip on the right leg and one very grumpy runner! Furthermore, to add insult to injury (groan) this has also meant I haven’t been able to do much running as usual, and was forced to pull out of a race last month as I continue to rehab the leg. Truly infuriating!  

Know your biomechanics

    MR-online-ed-carys-matthews Last week, I visited SixPhysio’s Leadenhall branch to have my running biomechanics assessed - an equally fascinating yet cringe-worthy experience! This is because I’ve been running for around ten years and consider myself in fairly good shape. However, it soon became clear during the assessment that I have been doing a lot of the wrong things when I run, which was fine when I was a teenager as my muscles and tissues healed a lot faster. While I work for a running magazine, I spend the majority of my day researching and writing about running. This is great as I love my job, but it means I also spend eight hours or more each day hunched over my computer. Not so great as far as my biomechanics are concerned. Sadly, being shackled to a desk all day does have an impact on the body’s biomechanics -  particularly as we age!   


Stand up straight!

  As part of my one-hour assessment, conducted by the very informative Kelly, I first was asked to stand as I usually stand – not great if I’m honest. My picture was then taken side on, which revealed that I stand with my hips tilted forwards and lower back arched. This is known as an anterior rotation and is fairly common.   The problem with this, however, is that when it translates to running it means that that strain is being placed on the hip flexors and quads as they become tighter than usual and can open the dreaded gateway to injury.  

The run test

  I was next asked to run on a treadmill while being filmed. Kelly soon picked up that my left hip was dropping slightly as I ran - again the weak left side rearing its ugly head! I also don’t keep my shoulders back enough as I run, so am putting strain on my back and shoulders. Everything picked up by the assessment made perfect sense as the main injury niggles I’ve suffered since running have been in my right leg and often in the hip area. To remedy this will take time - but luckily it can be done. What is great about having your biomechanics assessed is that it makes you more body aware.  Now that I know why I have this problem area it means I can do something about it.  

Don’t treat, cure

  The assessment concluded with series of strength and stretching exercises. I particularly struggled to keep my knee in line during the pistol one-leg squats as my weak glutes once again let me down! Kelly soon had me performing the exercises correctly – which made some of them tougher still! Handily, SixPhysio have a free downloadable app where they upload your exercise programme, which means I can follow it at home, in the gym or in the park etc – so no excuses! I will be blogging about my progress in the coming weeks, as I aim to work on improving my posture, strength and conditioning, with a final goal of running more efficiently and preventing future injuries. I also want to smash my half marathon PB this October...   Wish me luck!

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