Running tall

My height and stride length along with my potential strength are my strongest aspects as an athlete. However, I can’t seem to make full use of my height (6’2 or so), and the fact that my legs are relatively long for my height. I always seem to sink at the hips when I run, and when I really focus on staying tall, I can do it inconsistently, and when I do achieve a half decent body position, I can’t seem to hold it for very long. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do in order to improve this aspect of my performances?

Thanks guys.

I have this same issue for a couple of athletes that are first year training age, but are 20 years old, and I had the understanding that it is just a stength issue and that with time it will come together. If this is incorrect could someone provide me with something to get them TALL


What needs to be developed here is a sense of the body, both internally and externally. It does not come easy and might take some people 4 years to really understand this, if they ever get it at all.

In a nutshell:

Remember the song Grandma sang- “Head, shoulders, knees & toes”. All of these parts need to be layered on top of one another. If any of these are out of sync, everything will fail. The “joint” that holds it all together is your core region, which is predicated on proper (neutral) pelvic tilt.

A few tricks to teach people:

Imagine that you are 2 inches (4cm) taller. Be that much taller all the time.

Suck your belly button in and an up all the time.

Have your tailbone pointed down and forward from the way you normally carry it. This will get you neutral in your pelvis.

Your knee should always be in line with your second toe.

This and much more in Lee Parore’s book, Power Posture. I recommend that every coach read this book and implement it into their training plans.

Maybe it helps: personally I found core strenghtening exercises that focus on a straight body and/or are performed close to the sprinting movement do the most for sprinting tall.
Various situps, crunches or hyperextensions are good exercises to strenghten your body, too, but the kind of exercises I mentioned above contribute more to a tall, strong sprinting form.

It takes time to develop the ability to hold this position for the whole race. This is one of the benefits to a short to long program. Hold it for as long as you can until your technique starts to break down (30m, 40m or whatever distance), and then rest. Go again and then rest. Keep doing this while slightly increasing the distance over the next few weeks/months. This is not just a “think about it and it will change” problem. Coach Luc has it right when he said it will come with time.

This is another instance of coaches telling God how His athetes should run. Just keep it as natural as possible, stay relaxed, and over time proper posture will develop as strength develops. What is next, inflexible carbon insoles for spikes for better energy return? I have the book Power Posture. It is an ok read, but nothing earth shattering in there.

I’ve been focusing on running tall lately and when I run next to my teammates who are as tall as me or taller, I feel a lot taller than them literally. Is this what it should feel like? It still feels naturally to me, but I notice I can open up my stride more and almost like I am overstriding. I feel like for me it is not a question of strength that I don’t run tall because when I think about it during running I can hold it for awhile, around 200 meters.

running tall canbe the cause of many different issues all generally strenght related.years ago my coach had me doing specific walking calf drills during my warm-up as a teenager which improved the strenght immensely withouy the aid of weight training.

one of the guys posted a link to stability training which will dramatically improve you as a sprinter.there are many great links to this topic and a must for every sprinter.all great sprinters have immense core strenght

I have to disagree with your premise that people getting stronger will cure problems with body carriage. This is assuming that the strength gained will be done properly. My own experience is that of finding many athletes who are strong as oxen, but still cannot move correctly. Go see the Marion Jones thread in Videos. Ms Jones is the strongest female sprinter out there and the best athlete, but also a mess mechanically and she’s been doing this for 15 years. She should have broken all the records by now, but will never get them, as she doesn’t operate the right way mechanically and won’t be around long enough to make the corrections while stilll having the talent to be #1.

Looking at her right leg, she probably loses 1% of her potential power per stride on every step (if not more). This is just from her circumducting the hip and flailing that foot around, causing her to not get maximum power generated from bone compression during impact and support in her stride. She runs around her body, not within it.

MJ you say thata MJ is a mess mechanically!! nobody is pefect unless you are mr.carl lewis but MJ is quite sound mechanically.also i think Flo-Jo had similar movements and she still holds the wr.we all have tiny little flaws which may take years to solve but why take years when you canbe concentrating on the bigger picture running faster than evermwith a simplist of adjustments

We all know how Flo-Jo got those records and we at least have the freedom to say it here, where other boards will ban you for doing it.

MJ lets keep the issue to biomechanical faults and forget about the less interesting a keen member i’m here to help if possible and pick up some good ideas but not to point the finger to or about any athlete whom hasn’t been proven guilty.its very easy to claim but to prove is a different story.

I’m with you X-man, Specially that she’s dead. Its not very good speacking that way about the dead! We also want to know how to do it right. And since no one here is intrested in bannd pathways to the top we should not really talk about them here.

well said fast11, we have no business saying he did this and she did that esp that (the she is dead). we can just say god bless her and we’d all hope to accomplish atleat a 1/4 of wat she has.
we can all just hope the sport is cleaning up itself.

Getting back to the original post, I have a case that is similar in nature. The female athlete shown below is 13 years old and has recorded a 12.7h 100m. She is approximately 5’9" and training maturity is less than a half year (2 middle school Spring seasons).

Her mother, a former sprinter is unsatisfied with her upper body sprint position and urges her to run more upright. Keep in mind that her normal walking gait is similar, a slight forward tilt.

Thoughts on this matter?

I’d say the mother is right. Looks like the lack of core strenght (maybe even strenght more generally - she looks like having a hard time lifting her body up from the ground) issue. But she’s only 13, anyhow.
I saw a lot of very young athletes run that way when getting tired on the last meters.

Core strenght, curciut training (core - focus), easy polymetrics like split sqat jumps etc. - try to transform that into techique and the girl’ll be alright.

What do the specialsts think?

I heard that speed training is from 10 - 80 m and endurance training is from 80 meters on up… Also my question is what training and reps do you give for sprint training and endurance training for the young athletes, boys and girls. I have heard and seen many write ups that vary… Thank you