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The most powerful experiences in sport are when you find common ground with someone from another world. These insights enable a much deeper, richer understanding of your own craft.
One of the best examples I can think of features our guest this week, Dr. Nicholas Romanov, the developer of the Pose Method of running. He was participating in a little back and forth Crossfit Journal interview with Greg Glassman and Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell fame.
Without a doubt, the entire series is worth a watch. Knowledge bombs abounds, friends. It’s refreshing to see such disparate figures agree on so much, especially when it comes to training. One of the more relevant points for most athletes and coaches is speed, or as Louie would call it, “Perfect speed.”
Dr. Romanov’s take was that strength work was not enough on its own, not for the athlete. If you were a high jumper, for example, grinding away to increase the squat wouldn’t necessarily help you jump higher, not unless there was a concurrent effort to improve your rate of force development.
Strength on its own won’t do you any good. You need it right on time, as close to instantaneous as you can get. That’s when you perform at your best. You need to develop your maximal AND explosive strength. It’s not enough to just complete the reps on your work sets. Regardless of whether the load is heavy or fairly light, move that barbell as quickly as you can possibly manage. This will keep your nervous system fine tuned and ready for maximal effort all year round. You’ll make the most out of your training.
What was Louie’s idea of perfect speed? Well, when you lift you must try to get from the start to lockout as quickly as possible. Until the rep becomes instantaneous you have to keep fighting for more speed. Always faster, faster, if you work at this you too can become incredibly strong. You can jump higher, and run better.
Yeah, who knew the two would share so much common ground.
Another point of crossover here is mindset. It doesn’t matter at all whether you’re a strength athlete or an endurance competitor. You must believe that you will succeed and perform at the highest levels. As Dr. Romanov points out, perspective is far more powerful than all the lifting and training itself. Mindset is everything.
Beyond belief, you also have to be tenacious and full of self-confidence to get the best possible result. Big lifts and super tough races have far more in common than you think. In both pursuits, there’s absolutely no room for doubt. Even here speed is King. When challenged do not flinch! Be game and up for the fight. If you don’t have it in you, find someone who does and spend as much time as possible training with them and learning. You will never find enough energy all on your own.
I had learned quite a bit from Dr. Romanov before our interview, but to be fair, almost none of it had to do with pose running. I thought I got the high level point of it all. Yes, you “fall forward” and rotate around each forefoot strike. I think I get it. The legs lift to repeat. I buy it. But I thought pose was just a sort of hack, a better kind of gait that you could learn. But that’s not right at all. As the good Dr. explained, it’s really more of THE gait. It’s how we run.
The term “pose” refers to the position of the body as it moves through space. Watch any kind of animal do its thing and you’ll see innumerable poses, in hunting, during defense and fighting, running, it doesn’t matter. As Dr. Romanov defines it, a pose is the result of proper position and movement, not the cause. When humans run they “fall” and strike naturally with the forefoot, not the heel. There is no active push-off of the foot. Instead, there is a bounding off the front leg, the counter leg lifted, and a new opportunity to fall.
Running IS pose. The motion of the body is governed by physics and mechanics, which is not up for debate. The Dr. simply defined that motion in the laboratory, then used his evidence to develop a method for running more efficiently. It’s almost enough to convince me to give running a try…almost.
Dr. Romanov, it was a real pleasure chatting with you and your son. If I ever do consider hitting the road, you’ll be the first person I come see.