Running postpartum? Rotation is key!
Often, postpartum mamas end up running with chests high, rotating through their upper chest and shoulders, and pump their arms to make it look like they are rotating. However, their belly buttons stay straight ahead (see pic on left). They have substituted this for the beautiful torso rotation you see in the comparison pic on the right. True, effective trunk rotation looks like the right trunk and arm driving through over the left lead leg (see right pic originally in @runnersworld).
Want to reduce impact forces in running postpartum? Rotate
Rotation helps keep your weight over the landing leg instead of behind it. This keeps you propelling forward, instead of bouncing up and down as you run. This can help reduce impact forces. Great news if running irritates your joints or triggers pelvic health issues like leaking. Also, it is more efficient, and helps you run faster. It’s a win-win-win!
True torso rotation is hard to achieve if you are gripping your abs and your navel stays straight ahead. Gripped abs are also a source of increased impact forces (see more about that here and here). If you focus on a relaxing your abdomen, then it will be easier to rotate through your trunk.
Rotation also emphasizes extending your hips behind you which optimizes your glutes. Glutes help propel AND control impact forces. Rotation is the lynchpin that pulls performance and pelvic health promotion together.
Lean, relax your abs and rotate.
Take a video yourself running postpartum at different speeds. Evaluate where your rotation is coming from. Is your navel staying straight ahead while you are swinging your arms? Is your chest high, and your shoulders are moving forward and back? Do you look like the picture on the left or right? If your answer is yes to any of these, then think about this instead: Lean, relax your abs, and rotate.
PS I work on rotation for all my athletes! It is missing from the program of most cross fitters, too!
Want to learn more about Treating and Training Female Runners (or Any Female Athlete) check out my online course here.