Economize Your Running Form by Adding Pelvic Rotation to Your Training Plan - Chi Living

Economize Your Running Form by Adding Pelvic Rotation to Your Training Plan

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Wed Jul 10th, 2013, 7 comments

Economize Your Running Form by Adding Pelvic Rotation to Your Training Plan

One of the most challenging aspects of running form to learn, and to teach, is pelvic rotation. If learning pelvic rotation is not in your training plan, it should be. It plays a key role in being able to run injury-free, whether you want to do a 5K run or train for a marathon. So, as you might guess, I’m always looking for better ways to teach it. I adopted this recently with a group training for a half marathon and had great success.

The Surf Board Exercise

This exercise should be practiced first while walking, then incorporated, for brief intervals, while running. It is fabulous for really “getting” pelvic rotation. And, it also improves your posture. 

Our daughter is a surfer and I noticed that everyone I watch carrying a surfboard over their head and walking has perfect posture and really great pelvic rotation, without trying. It was huge for me to see this, since many people struggle to get a sense of what pelvic rotation feels like. I have also looked at films of people walking with loads balanced on their heads and, again, they all have great posture, great walking form and great pelvic rotation.

For this exercise I’ve had to improvise, since most people don’t own surfboards. This exercise is done with a collapsed folding chair and it works great. Hold the chair overhead and let the seat rest on your head while you hold onto the sides of the chair. Now, walk while holding up the chair and feel how your shoulders always face forward as you walk, and that your pelvis rotates. Your posture will feel nice and straight and your lower back will relax, and you’ll feel your hips swinging with each step.

Walk this way for twenty steps and just feel your pelvis rotating. Then, set the chair down and begin walking with your arms at your sides, but not swinging. As you walk, maintain a sense of stability in your shoulders and feel that relaxed, rotational movement in your pelvis. As you begin to feel more comfortable feeling your pelvis to rotate, allow your arms to gently swing and you’ll sense a nice smoothness in your stride.

Use this exercise as a warm-up to your run and you’ll have pelvic rotation down before you know it. 

Master pelvic rotation with the ChiRunning DVD

7 CommentsLeave a comment below

There are few running coaches, if any, besides Danny who emphasize the importance of hip rotation. It is absolutely imperative to free up those hips and allow the entire core to carry you forward in a relaxed flowing manner.  Thanks Danny for educating me about this many moons ago. “Chi-On”.

i think your going nuts! i have been a chi runner since the sanfrancisco days and a chi walker from the time the book came out not much after chi running. i run each morning at 4am and offset one day a week with a 4am chi walk. i can never express to you how you changed my life with your great work on both. i could not imagine my life without chi running and walking!
but a chair on my head? remember wisdom begins with the elimination of non essentials.

Great idea!  I am trying this today before my run.
Thanks for the great tips.

My problem is that when I try to do a pelvic rotation, my counterpart shoulder try to rotate too! I still cannot coordinate them to do different things! The shoulder should just move rear to front. I have the DVD and the iPhone App, so I hope to solve it soon. Anyway, I improved a lot with the great ChiRunning Techniques.

Wiebke Kortum Jul 17th, 2013 05:37am

I tried this, and yes, you are right the pelvis automatically swings back a bit to give you a more stabile core when carrying something on your head. Great idea! I still struggle to get the pelvic rotation right, it is one of my main focusses for my running. Since I worked on it, however, I have become faster!

Thierry Lerinckx Jul 18th, 2013 04:02am

I am doing the self study program for next instructor training in Berlin. It’s great, I finally found a good use for my couch (LOL) ..... I picked up one of small cushions off the couch (get up you!!) and I am walking around in the house balancing it on my head. Hello posture !!! and indeed to keep it balanced I need to rotate that pelvis. Thanks Danny !!

Robert Giggi Jul 20th, 2013 08:42am

Is this exercise related to one you , recently, posted describing a technique that consists of walking with a stride where the knees, rather than the ankles, are simulated as the end of the leg extension, in every stride ?  I have tried this as an exrcise to promote hip rotation, and it has helped me to “get the feel” of how this feels in practice.

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