Though working uphill could really feel harder from a cardio perspective, going downhill nicely is difficult—and quite a bit tougher in your physique.
Right here’s why: Muscular tissues 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. “Working downhill requires a lot of eccentric contraction, particularly within the quadriceps and decrease leg muscle groups.” Mastering working downhill with correct type 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 give attention to conserving your physique perpendicular to the bottom. “As you enhance velocity, transfer your middle of gravity ahead with you; not sufficient and your toes are sliding out from below you, an excessive amount of and also you’re in your face,” Waerlop says.
Use your arms for steadiness. When working downhill, we don’t want the forward-back arm motion for energy like we do on flats and uphills. Though it might look ridiculous in race images, XTERRA world champion Lesley Paterson recommends flailing your arms out to the aspect for steadiness. “It could assist give your physique the management it’d want if velocity takes over or a sudden change in path is required,” she says.
Have interaction 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!), maintain the toes below the physique and don’t overstride. “I typically do an nearly round movement—particularly if on steep terrain—quite 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 number of the muscle groups within the follow-through.”
Look down the hill, not at your toes. Waerlop says while you take a look at your sneakers, it induces neck ahead flexion and truly facilitates your flexor muscle groups, which “turns off” the hip extensor muscle groups (glutes, hamstrings, again muscle groups)—those which assist maintain you upright and impartial—rising your threat of falling ahead.
Think about sizzling coals below your toes. Maintain contact time as minimal as attainable. “I prefer to really feel as if I’m ‘dancing’ over the bottom, simply flippantly touching it with my mid-/forefoot and springing proper off once more,” Paterson says.
Initially revealed November 2018