Core Muscles or Leg Muscles?

During the middle part of Lit Onrubia’s talk on Chi Running (CR) last Sunday at Cafe Iana, U.P. wherein he emphasized that a runner’s power comes with using your core muscles more than you use your leg muscles, i heard soft muffled voices and saw some puzzled looks from the runners who were mostly trainees of the Runnex Running Clinic.  

It was a different school of thought from that espoused by regular clinic coach Jojo Macalintal where a strong toe-off comes from the leg muscles. Lit’s was a completely different approach and the way he presented it, it felt effortless and less technical.  

Simply put, CR’s way is getting off the heels, lean forward slightly while engaging the core muscle and let the gravity pull you forward, land at midfoot and take small strides. It’s an alignment of everything, your body, mind and the forward movement.  

Runners i have talked to who have actually trained under Lit’s series of seminars say that it’s harder than it looks and it would take months or even more than a year to master its technique. It would have been more effective had Lit showed the participants a brief demonstration on the way it’s done but given the limited space in front of the cafe, a demo was out of the question.  

An overview of the whole Chi process was discussed and some tips were imparted directly to the newbie runners.  

1. Not to overstride as small steps would settle more balance to the body.  

2. The lower body should not be the dominant force in running, that the upper body should take the other half of the task in exerting energy to create a balance.  

3. Shoes should be tied in a way that it can be easily removed and easily be put-on without re-tying the laces.  

Clearly, there are plus factors that Chi Running brings and its success cannot be doubted. Still, one shouldn’t also dismiss other running approaches which are also successful (like Coach Jojo’s running drills which helped a lot of the trainees finish their first 10k).

Like i suggested in my previous entry (here), the trick for all runners is to find out what works for them, personally. Learn from the experiences of others, read more on forms and techniques, get advices from experienced runners and most importantly, try it yourself. 

Enjoyment and running injury-free should take precedence than anything else. 

Lit discussing the mechanics of Chi Running for the participants of the Runnex Discover Running Clinic at Cafe Iana, U.P.

Triathlete and businessman Cliff Eala welcoming the participants

Runners at the Chi Running discussions

More of the crowd

From left, Danny Villavicencio, Risa Mantaring, Rudy Fernandez, Lit, Cliff and Art Disini

6 responses to “Core Muscles or Leg Muscles?

  1. Good item for a heated discussion. LOL

    I guess it will only make a lot of sense if reader/runners would try it and compare it to what they are so used to be doing.

    What works for us may not just work for others, and vice-versa. However, it is really a lot more encouraging to try again and again if ‘well-guided’ as to the right technique. Otherwise, ‘other’ school of thoughts would just linger and ‘old habits’ will remain.

    Nice post!

    • Agree much on your comment, Poj. I’ll try to get a feel of what Chi Running is all about this Sunday during our Nuvali trail run. See you Saturday!:-)

  2. Develop both your core and your legs and you will end up running as fast as Coach Jojo Macalintal and with a more efficient (Chi) technique.

  3. Thanks for attending and for writing about it, Rene! I completely agree with Poj, Jan and you… often times what is best is not just one thing, but a combination of many things. And I think there is a lot to be gained from being open to trying different things to see what works. And do I still rely on my feet and legs when I run — absolutely! But I’ve also began to understand that running gets easier when it’s not just about the legs. I’ll see you Sunday, Rene!

    • Hi Lit! Many from our group are gearing to sign up for the CR sessions. You definitely have boosted their enthusiasm and these seesions are just what they’re looking for. See you Sunday!:-)

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