Fitness Trainer’s Savvy Hack Will Improve Your Running Forever

Add some resistance to your runs and your form could improve tenfold.

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise. It’s easy to see why: it’s free, pretty much anyone can do it and there is no shortage of apps and accessories – such as fitness watches and smartwatches – to help improve your personal best times.

Yet, even though we’re also awash with all manner of running clothing and running shoes to help us not only look good but also assist us with our runs, they could all go to waste if you don’t practice good running form. You may think you have the perfect running form nailed down and, admittedly, everyone will run slightly differently to compensate for various body structures, but it’s still important to get the basics perfected.

One fitness trainer has come up with a savvy hack to help improve your running form and to make it consistent every single time you head out to pound the pavement, and it requires you to use resistance bands.

Runners of all abilities may already use resistance bands to complete various techniques and drill training, but have you ever actually taken one out on the road or trail with you? Well, according to Antonio Gillespie, owner and founder of Prolongevity Fitness, wrapping a resistance band around your back and looping over your elbows, can bring myriad benefits next time you go running.

Check out Antonio Gillespie’s running hack in the video below

The main reason for using a resistance band when running is that it helps to force your arms to stay at a 45-degree angle. This, says Antonio, “brings positive forward momentum,” and “reduces excess of movement.” The benefit of this? “The core, back, chest and shoulders become more engaged, which means heart, lungs and diaphragm do more work.”

Antonio says this extra work required by your organs means your “cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems are enhanced greatly, which means fatigue rate decreases and endurance and stamina skyrocket.”

“Overall,” Antonio summarises, “running form, economy and efficiency improve drastically.”

Antonio explains in a separate video what running economy means. He says “running economy measures a runner’s energy utilisation when running at aerobic intensity. Pretty much, who can consume the least amount of oxygen, when running over an extended period of time, while still performing the best.”

Indeed, running coach and two-time Olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger has previously spoken about running economy, in relation to how it can be improved with proper form with Runnersworld, adding, “many runners can improve their running economy – their oxygen cost at a given pace – by 2-4 percent through improved form,”

It’s not just outside runs where you can use a resistance band, but you can do so if you find yourself on the treadmill too. One of the most rewarding benefits of using a band, forcing your arms to stay in a fixed motion position, means it is one less thing your brain has to think about whilst running.

Essentially, Antonio says in another video, if you don’t have to think about your form, because the resistance band is doing the work for you, you can simply focus on your breathing and racking up the kilometres.

So, just how important is running form? While it is certainly true that individual runners will have their own ‘perfect’ form for their body structure, ensuring you find and maintain that perfect form is still paramount.

Pete Magill, a running coach of more than than 20 years, also told Runnersworld, “Running is the one sport where people think, ‘I don’t have to worry about my technique. I’m not carrying a ball, I’m not swinging a bat, I’m not on skates, so my form doesn’t matter.'”

“We also have a sport where people don’t always listen to what the top people are doing. They’re far more interested in what the local Pose guru might be telling them than in what Ryan Hall is doing. I would say all top runners work to improve their form.”

However, many running coaches are in agreement that there are several basic factors of what good form should look like. These include “landing over your center of gravity, a light, rapid cadence, minimal lateral rotation and, easier to spot than quantify, relaxed body position.”

Try adding in a resistance band to your next run and see if you notice a difference. It could just be the best thing you do for your runs, and be far more beneficial than simply buying a new pair of shoes.

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