The Running Screening with Brad Beer
Body Awareness is Key For Every Runner
Are you looking to injury proof your running body so that you can avoid injury?
Perhaps you are looking to run faster and explore your full running potential?
Or perhaps you are looking to rehabilitate a troublesome running injury that has plagued you for too long.
Whatever it is that you are trying to get done the foundational step for a runner looking to enjoy injury free running and discover their running is to have an appreciation of their running ‘body’.
Understanding your running body’s genetic endowment with respect to your mobility status (amount of movement you genetically have around your joints), and your body’s strengths and weaknesses (real or potential) will allow you to begin on your trajectory to enjoying a new level of running.
The Benefits of Bench-marking
In addition to being aware of your body’s genetically determined mobility status, you also need to discover your body’s potential ‘problem areas’. Discovering how your body fares with key specific running physical attributes is analogous to a safety check on a car. In this case, you are looking for any defects that your body (chassis) may have that, unless fixed, make running over a period of time unsafe.
You can check for potential problem areas of the body by benchmarking key running-specific movements and ranges of motion against a set of reference scores. I call these problem, or potential problem, areas ‘chassis defects’.
The purpose of checking these areas is to:
- Identify problem or potential problem areas of the body. For example, tight hamstrings or quadriceps may lead to knee pain, tight claves may lead to Achilles tendon problems, and reduced hip external rotation range will contribute to any lower limb injury.
- Allow for a specific home exercise program to be developed that will reduce injury development and increase a runner’s efficiency.
- Have a set of data for your body at the beginning of this five step process that will allow for quantification of your progress towards pain- and injury-free running.
In physiotherapy parlance, we call this performing a running screening.
The Running Screening
In clinical physiotherapy practice I take runners through a series of eight tests to determine their baseline data for several key measurements. Each of these measures can then be compared with scores that are the preferred scores for runners. Each test has been identified as a key physical measure that will discover injury risk factors. The scores recorded via a running screening will also highlight any areas that can be targeted to help a runner run faster.
For example, if hip external rotation (one of the tests measured in a running screening) is measured as being less than the preferred range, a prescribed strengthening program can correct the runner’s score. Through following the prescribed program, the runner will experience faster and improved running efficiency.
The running screening video can be viewed below:
The screening is comprised of the following eight tests:
- Calf muscle length
- Quadriceps length
- Hamstrings length
- Hip flexor length
- Thoracic spine mobility – combined elevation test
- Hip stability – single leg squat control test
- Hip stability – hip active external rotation test
- Core stability – side bridge endurance hold test
The appendix in You CAN Run Pain Free! includes the running screening that I use in my practice in order to discover the attributes of a runner’s ‘chassis’. The screening also includes information on what this screening reveals, and exercises you can then do to improve any weaknesses uncovered by the screening.
Note: Even with a willing and able partner the running screening tests are difficult to perform at home by yourself. In order to get an accurate assessment of your body, and obtain accurate and meaningful data, I suggest engaging the services of a trained physiotherapist. The running screening provided in the appendix shows you the tests you can run through with your physio. If you don’t already have a physio, ask for recommendations from other runners you know or do an online search for reputable sports physios in your local area.
After your running screening has been performed a tailored home exercise program can be given. The benefits of a tailored home exercise are many. Chiefly a tailored home exercise will allow you to get maximum body results with the minimum input of time and effort.
Click HERE for ‘Every runner must-know stretches and stability exercises’ for an index of the best exercises that target each of the areas highlighted in the findings from your running screening.
If you would like to learn more about how to enjoy injury free and your best running click HERE to purchase your own copy of You CAN Run Pain Free!.