1

chirunning.com says yes:

The next step, once you've learned how to level your pelvis, is to learn to move that level pelvis as you walk and run. This happens by allowing your pelvis to rotate in the direction your rear leg swings. This rotation is crucial to injury prevention and efficiency. By allowing your whole lower body to rotate around the vertical axis, you can gain from 1 to 4 inches with each stride. Any amount that your pelvis rotates along with that leg as it swings behind you will add inches to your stride and ease the amount of work done at the hip joint. A longer rearward stride (without the heel striking that comes from overstriding) can reduce the amount of impact to your knees, hips and lower back. In addition, rotating your pelvis around the vertical axis allows you to tap into a very powerful set of core muscles deep within the abdomen - the iliopsoas. This big muscle elongates at the back of your stride. Then, as your foot leaves the ground, it naturally recoils from its stretched position which returns your leg to the support phase of your stride without engaging your quadriceps.

... I go one step farther and tell runners to imagine that their legs begin at this juncture point (T12/L1). If your entire lower body rotates from this point, while your upper body remains "fixed," your running will be much more efficient and easier on your body. On the other hand, if your pelvis doesn't move when you walk or run, it means that all of the swinging motion of your legs originates at your hip joints. Over time this can create overuse injuries in the hip area such as hip bursitis, hamstring pulls, IT Band inflammation and hyper-extension of the hip flexors, especially when you try to run or walk faster with a bigger leg swing.

With some strides this feels natural to me, with others (such as running on inclines) it does not. I had always avoided twisting at the lumbar spine, but recently learned to do it correctly (using hip muscles) for 3-turns in ice skating. I want to find out in what other activities I should use these newly discovered muscles.

3

It seems that you've already answered above in the question.

I'd just like to add at least two thoughts.

  • 1st is that there are several running techniques, such as pose, and evolution running, to mention just two others. I believe that pelvic rotation should play a part in all of them, but perhaps in different ways.
  • 2nd, is that it'd be useful if you post these stuff on the link you're quoting, maybe they can give you a good follow up, and you can get a direct response by the creator of that technique.

Also, if you want to improve your body motion (and I believe so, since you ask about flexibility in another post) in this case at the waist, I believe you can use another suggested movement by Danny Dreyer, from ChiRunning: The Butt Walk.

On yet another note, you can differentiate between active and passive pelvic rotation. And ChiRunning suggests to get better at pelvic rotation doing uphills, giving the torso and arms the larger amount of movement and effort.

  • Great answer. Helpful drill, interesting link, even explains why I got downvoted (it sounds like I'm answering the question in the text, instead of just putting out the "pro" case). It's still the same expert source as my original, but since no one has come up to disagree, I'll go with it. – Noumenon Apr 20 '16 at 0:40
  • @Noumenon, cool if this is helpful. But let me add that there isn´t a huge population here so don´t take much for granted. Hence, try to keep eyes open and attentive to other changes in your form, and updated post, i.e., the barefoot discussion can be good for general freedom of movement and adaptations to new ranges and dynamics of motion. But always beware of the contrary: too fast a change can be too much. – nilon Apr 20 '16 at 3:47

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