Highway to Health

Improving Your Running Posture

When it comes to running form, posture is key, and mastering correct posture is critical for two reasons. Firstly, correct posture and form will improve your efficiency as a runner and reduce the risk of injury. Secondly—and this is even more important—you want to look good out there because, let’s face it, one of your ex-boyfriends or girlfriends is going to see you eventually, and you don’t want to look like shit. 

Photography & Video: Ben Murphy

Model: Aneka

Now, that was a pretty okay little gag I just did, but believe it or not, this is the trick I use to make sure I’m adopting correct running form. I’ll be running along, thinking about whatever, and then suddenly, I’ll remember Tiffany, and I’ll straighten up, pull my shoulders back, and do my best to appear Kenyan. 

This is a good technique, but it might not work for you because, who knows, maybe you’re not a vain idiot. But even if you don’t give a toss what your ex might think of your running form, you need to give a toss for yourself, and you need to check out these four exercises we recommend to strengthen your back and core and improve your posture. Run tall, run strong, don’t be silly.

Disclaimer 1: these are not the ONLY exercises out there, and this is not meant to be a guide to perfect form. But we like these exercises and it wouldn’t kill you to try them out.

Disclaimer 2: As always, do not do any of this stuff before consulting your doctor or ayahuasca spirit animal.

Disclaimer 3: I would never date someone named ‘Tiffany’.

I’ll remember Tiffany, and I’ll straighten up, pull my shoulders back, and do my best to appear Kenyan. 

Banded Face Pulls

Correct posture is important when you’re running, walking, or sitting at your desk googling people you went to school with to see if they got fat, but it’s particularly important when running because that’s when hunched shoulders are going to land you an injury of some kind. Banded Face Pulls will strengthen the muscles in your back and naturally pull your shoulders back, making you stand taller. If you already have awesome posture, skip this one, but for the rest of us, this is really the best. 

Grab a resistance band (a good resistance band that won’t snap and take your eyes out) and attach it to something sturdy and immovable. Attach it a little bit higher than your head and stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width. Adjust the distance between you and the thing you’ve anchored the band to, making sure there’s tension in the band (don’t make it too difficult to pull, though). Now, chest out, core tight, arms extended, slowly draw the band out and back with an overhand grip so that your fists holding the band are coming toward either side of your face; engage and rotate the shoulders open and focus on bringing your shoulder blades together. Hold the band at your nose, then slowly extend your arms back out. Be careful not to lean back and use your body weight to pull the band. That’s cheating. Three sets of 10 to 15. 

Superman Extensions

Now that we’ve tackled your upper back and shoulders, we need to have a look at the mid to lower back. Looking at the video here, you wouldn’t think Superman Extensions are a great way to strengthen the back and improve overall posture, but wait till you get down on the floor and do a couple yourself. Oof. Superman Extensions strengthen the postural muscles in the back (and glutes) to help you maintain an upright running posture. Lay face down on the floor (you know, like Superman), hands out in front of you, palms facing down, then you just lift your chest, arms, face, feet, and legs off the floor, squeezing your shoulder blades together and resting on your belly/groin for a beat, and then slowly lowering yourself back down. Be sure to keep your gaze on the floor, as looking up may cause you to crane your neck and hurt your silly little self. Ten reps, three sets. 

Leg Raises

This one is great for strengthening the front of your back (your abs) and your hip flexors, and it looks even easier than the Superman thing we just did, and yet it is not so easy. But it is a good way to strengthen your hip flexors, which is a group of muscles that are notorious for strains and tears. Did Mother Nature fuck us over a bit with the hip flexors? Yes, she did. But you can strengthen them by laying on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing down (under your butt if you want), and, with your ankles pinned together, lifting your legs off the floor and up as close to vertical as possible, then slowly lowering them again until they’re just off the floor, then repeating. Try to keep your lower back touching the floor throughout the movement. It will naturally arch, but if you can pull it back down, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. 


For real. Push-ups, when done correctly, will not only strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and upper back, but they’ll also reinforce your core. That’s what we need to do here—get you a bulletproof core so you run tall and don’t sag like an old saggy thing. Now, everyone knows how to do push-ups, but they’re pretty easy to get wrong. You need to roll your hips and tuck your butt so you’ve got a nice straight line from your ankles to your head, your wrists need to be under your shoulders (you can go wider or narrower to target your chest or whatever, but we’re just doing regular push-ups), and your shoulder blades should come together at the bottom, and then separate at the top. Don’t let your elbows flare out to the sides too much; you want them pointing as backward as you can, and don’t let your head drop, or your teeth fall out. 

Get stuck into these four different exercises and let us know if you notice a difference in your posture and running form. They should help. If they don’t, it’s your fault.