The Ekstra Mile - Perfect Posture

Perfect Posture – why it matters to endurance runners

This article explains how the Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top can help you improve your running form, thereby increasing your running efficiency while reducing lower back and neck pains.

The top is particularly made for endurance runners’ Base and Build training as a support in slowly optimizing your running form (posture). However, it is suitable for all runners interested in improving their running form whether it is because you want to improve your Personal Best, reduce lower back problems or just look better when running.

Fatigue makes your running form inefficient

In a research project from 2013[1], Koblbauer et al. investigated the impact of running-induced fatigue on runners’ kinematics (movement patterns). The research showed that running-induced fatigue changed the test persons’ trunk flexion (forward bend at waist) from 9 degrees (pre-fatigue) to 13 degrees (fatigued). In layman’s terms, this means that when a normal, untrained runner gets tired, she will lean more forward at her waist to compensate for fatigue in her spine.

Why should you care? The short answer is that stooping is bad for your running efficiency. Bending in your waist is your body’s natural (and rather clever) way to redistribute pressure from your tired legs to your hips and trunk. Which is good for your legs, but not so good for your running efficiency, because you will now spend more energy while running slower. Also, bending at your waist can create soreness and injuries in your lower back.

Improving your running form is not exactly easy

When dealing with running form issues, most runners encounter two problems. The first is, that it is quite difficult to know and feel that you have begun stooping until it is (too) late in the run. Afterall, it is the body’s natural response, and it happens almost unrecognizably. SOMETHING ABOUT HOW YOU KNOW IF YOU NEED TO INVESTIGATE YOUR RUNNING FORM

The second problem is, that changing running posture is not just a trivial matter of “straightening yourself up”. It requires quite extensive training. As suggested by PhD Owen Anderson[2]: “Form work is the new “base training” in a runner’s overall approach to gaining fitness”. In other words, strength training as well as posture training should be an integral part of any runner’s base training. However, while this might sound appealing, the question is, how do you correct your posture, and can you even tell yourself, if your posture is getting better or not?

Improve your running form with Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top

More than two years ago, we set out to find a solution to the issue of bad running form. We gathered a group of experts that included bio-mechanical and kinetic experts from gebioMized®, physiotherapists, running coaches and some of our professional athletes. Our mission was to develop a running top, that endurance runners can use in their training regime to help detect and correct in-efficient running posture.

The result of our endeavors is the Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top. This top is constructed to support your core and shoulders to prevent/reduce:

  • Leaning forward at your waist
  • Side drop and side swing
  • Hunched shoulders

We partnered up with the analysis team in gebioMized to test different constructions and materials to find the best possible solution. A solution that could help runners gain upright gait, relaxed shoulders, reduced side drop and –swing and an improved power transmission from core to hip flexors. And yet, a solution that feels comfortable and supportive without forcing you into any unnatural posture.

How the Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top works

The Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top is constructed with three different kind of panels, to optimize posture while keeping you comfortable:

Figure 1: Perfect Posture™ functional panels

Functional panels af the Fe226 Perfect Posture Top

Source: Own elaboration

The green areas mark the shoulder support compression panel. This panel helps you relax in the shoulders while ensuring that your shoulders are not hunching. This is important for you running efficiency because it allows you to breathe easily while enabling you to better utilize shoulder movement to create momentum in your hips.

The orange areas mark the core stabilizing compression panel. This panel has several functions. First and foremost, it makes sure the bend in your waist is reduced. Second, it reduces your side drop and side swing. Finally, it helps you increase power transfer from your hips to your legs.

The black areas are made from a ventilating fabric to optimize your temperature-regulation as well as your sweat wicking. These panels ensure that you are comfortable even with the compression panels at work.

Significant improvements with Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top

To prove the efficiency gains from the Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top, we took it to detailed tests with the gebioMized® analysis team in Münster, Germany.

We tested the top by measuring movements in defined body regions using Leomo Type-R IMU Sensors System. We placed four IMU sensors in defined body regions: torso side, torso center front (Sternum), sacrum side and sacrum central.

Using these sensors, we tested the Perfect Posture™ Running Top on four parameters:

  1. Torso angle (to ground) – this is the lean forward
  2. Sacrum angle – this is an indicator of the bend in the waist
  3. Torso rocking – this is the lateral movement from side to side in the upper body, an indicator of side drop and side swinging
  4. Sacrum rocking – this is the lateral movement from side to side in the pelvis

What we are particularly interested in seeing is a higher sacrum angle (less stooping) and less rocking in the torso (less side drop).

Table 1: Impact of Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top

Source: Measurements from gebioMized® analysis team, September 2019-July 2020

As it is clear, the Fe226 Perfect Posture™ Running Top did prove to have a significant impact on posture, and hence on running efficiency:

  • 8,7o less forward lean at the waist (17%)
  • 1,5o more upright in the torso (neck)
  • 0,7 cm less side drop

As several of our test runners said: “You literally feel more efficient in this top, because it feels like it’s holding your body straight and upright”.

So, you will feel how the top truly makes you feel more upright and efficient from the very get-go. Maybe that’s why so many users decide to wear it during race, too.

[1] Koblbauer, van Schooten, Van Dieen & Verhagen: “Kinematic changes during running-induced fatigue and relations with core endurance in novice runners”, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, July 2014

[2] Anderson, Owen: ”Running Form: How to Run Faster and Prevent Injury”, Human Kinetics, January 2018

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