photograph: 101 Levels West
Though operating uphill could really feel harder from a cardio perspective, going downhill nicely is difficult—and loads more durable in your physique.
Right here’s why: Muscle mass contract in two methods—concentrically (muscle shortens: assume selecting one thing up) and eccentrically (muscle lengthens whereas contracting: assume placing that one thing again down). “Eccentric contractions are far more pricey from an power and put on and tear perspective,” says Dr. Ivo Waerlop, chiropractor and skilled on gait biomechanics. “Operating downhill requires plenty of eccentric contraction, particularly within the quadriceps and decrease leg muscle tissue.” Mastering operating downhill with correct kind will put much less stress in your legs and may help you make up time in your subsequent race.
Ideas for Going Quick Downhill
Lean ahead from the hips, not the shoulders. Gravity naturally pulls you downhill. Keep away from the urge to lean again and concentrate on conserving your physique perpendicular to the bottom. “As you improve velocity, transfer your middle of gravity ahead with you; not sufficient and your ft are sliding out from below you, an excessive amount of and also you’re in your face,” Waerlop says.
Use your arms for stability. When operating downhill, we don’t want the forward-back arm motion for energy like we do on flats and uphills. Though it could look ridiculous in race images, XTERRA world champion Lesley Paterson recommends flailing your arms out to the aspect for stability. “It might assist give your physique the management it’d want if velocity takes over or a sudden change in route is required,” she says.
Interact your core. Consider your abs, glutes and again as your secure base that your limbs work round.
“Circle” your stride. Since you don’t want as a lot energy from the knee drive (thanks, gravity!), hold the ft below the physique and don’t overstride. “I typically do an virtually round movement—particularly if on steep terrain—moderately than driving the knee straight by means of in entrance of the physique,” Paterson says. “It permits extra extension out the again and an opportunity to chill out a few of the muscle tissue within the follow-through.”
Look down the hill, not at your ft. Waerlop says once you take a look at your sneakers, it induces neck ahead flexion and truly facilitates your flexor muscle tissue, which “turns off” the hip extensor muscle tissue (glutes, hamstrings, again muscle tissue)—those which assist hold you upright and impartial—rising your threat of falling ahead.
Think about scorching coals below your ft. Maintain contact time as minimal as attainable. “I prefer to really feel as if I’m ‘dancing’ over the bottom, simply frivolously touching it with my mid-/forefoot and springing proper off once more,” Paterson says.
Initially printed November 2018