Running Is a Miracle

When we take the time to think about its biomechanics, we realize running is a miracle. During the flight phase, humans literally fly.

Now, compare that to where we all began—as a totally dependent being that could not locomote or even stand. Most of us then transform, going from creeping and crawling to walking, running, even flying. At Gray Institute®, we are in awe of our fearfully and wonderfully crafted human bodies. This wonderment is magnified as we appreciate and take advantage of the neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics that let us experience the joy of running.

In this article, we will explore the biomechanics of running and how Applied Functional Science® approaches this essential, wonderful movement.

The Biomechanics of Running

You have probably read about (and experienced) running’s main stages:

  • Stance phase: The body makes physical contact with the ground. During this phase, we are loading to explode.
  • Swing phase: The foot leaves the ground as part of a complex Chain Reaction®.
  • Flight phase: Both feet are in the fair and there is no contact with the ground.

Biomechanically, running (like all forms of movement) has some common characteristics at its foundation. As movement professionals, we can take advantage of these fundamental movement characteristics to improve an individual’s ability to run. We can also apply the same principles for the rehabilitation and for the prevention of running injuries.

While some runners worry about “proper” running form, trying to avoid heel strikes, overstriding, and other nuances, the true beauty of the human body is that with all the common threads of human movement, every individual reveals their own unique variations. These variations allow that movement, in this case running, to be uniquely theirs. At Gray Institute ®, we recognize and respect the principles of individualism as well as the principles of commonality.

When you run, your body is taking advantage of many forces and factors:

  • Gravity
  • Ground reaction forces
  • Mass
  • Momentum

This creates motion in every joint of the body in all three planes. Your proprioceptors turn on, facilitating muscular reaction. When these common thread motions facilitate this powerful Chain Reaction, we produce the force to fly.

Knowing what motions in what joints and at what time they occur throughout the body during running serves as the foundation for Gray Institute analysis, performance training, and rehabilitative processes.

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Load to Explode

Running, like all forms of human movement, takes advantage of a “load to explode” reaction throughout the entire chain of the body. The motions that occur as a Chain Reaction when the foot strikes the ground are the motions through proprioceptive activation, that lengthen and essentially load all our muscles in 3D. This loading of the muscles transforms into the exploding of the muscles that creates the forces and power that allows us to leave the ground, to run. Therefore, facilitating the same motions throughout the entire body is the only way to effectively and efficiently analyze the body’s ability to run.

Some of these critical motions that need to be revealed while standing and while moving are as follows:

  • Subtalar eversion and abduction
  • Ankle dorsiflexion
  • Knee flexion, abduction, and internal rotation
  • Hip flexion, adduction, and internal rotation

The above knowledge triggers a few key questions that we, as movement professionals, need to ask ourselves when it comes to assessment and performance:

  • Are we assessing all the vital motions (of the primary joints) of the body?
  • Are we assessing the body as a Chain Reaction (because that is how life happens)?
  • Are we assessing both mobility and stability?

Dig Deeper Into Running’s Biomechanics With 3DMAPS®

The only assessment in the industry that answers “yes” to all the above questions is 3DMAPS® (3D Movement Analysis & Performance System), which can truly empower movement professionals further in assessment, performance, rehabilitation, and prevention.

3DMAPS, and 3DMAPS for running, goes beyond a standard gait analysis. It specifically looks at the mobility and stability of the above listed motions with an individual standing and moving. Analysis is made of these common critical motions as well as the unique complimentary motions in order to design and deliver the most ideal programing for performance, prevention and rehabilitation for the runner.

The movement screen allows us to analyze all the common and unique motions of every joint in the body that contribute to the act of running.

With strategic and biomechanically designed tweaks, 3DMAPS for running provides us with the most powerful and relevant information about the mobility and stability of all joint motions that allow us to run.

Gray Institute: It’s Our Honor

At Gray Institute, we believe it is an honor and a privilege to allow others to enjoy the miracle of flying, the gift of running. Therefore, we believe our understanding and application of 3DMAPS is the most essential tool and process that can be used to meet every runner’s goals.

It is our desire to partner with the runner to allow them to run better and to come alongside the runner to facilitate healing environments with ongoing strategies and techniques to prevent running injuries. Becoming certified in 3DMAPS impowers us to become the go-to movement professional for all runners.

To learn more about 3DMAPS, our other courses and certifications, and Applied Functional Science, please contact us today.