Downhill running, part 2

In our first advent of the psychology of downhill running, we discussed the idea that “actions” come first and your “feelings” of confidence come second (or later, once you’ve mastered the basic movements.)

Taking a psychology-based approach to improving your downhill running, I suggested that athletes:

  1. Identify the necessary skills to improve
  2. Practice the skills
  3. Apply them effectively
  4. Assess the results
  5. Integrate change and modify as needed.

In the following article, it is my goal to shed light on one of those skills and how as a long time runner and gait analyst, I would go about practicing, applying and assessing that skill.`

Downhill Running Essential Skill #1: Using your VMO and Gluteus Medius

Go online and search downhill running. The bulk of the articles will go discuss the role of the quad muscles in braking, eccentric contractions, and reasons to not overstride.

These articles likely suggest that to improve your downhill running you work on increasing your stride, learn to land underneath center of mass and integrate strength training into your program. Although this is all great advice, I’ve found few of these articles mention the important role hip stability and a strong vastus medialis (VMO) play in your downhill running.

When viewing most downhill runners from the rear it is not uncommon to spot the knee diving, the hip dropping or the foot overpronating, despite increased cadence and landing close to center of mass. Stability and maintenance of neutral hips achieved through the activation of the gluteus mediu,s and stability and straight tracking of the knee achieved by a strong VMO, are both fundamental to injury-free downhill running.

Find the muscle. The role of the glute medius in strength training is primarily hip abduction. While running, however, the muscle functions more as a stabilizer to hold up the opposite hip/ leg while in stance phase. On the other hand, the VMO functions in knee extension by ensuring the knee tracts properly throughout the gait. In most athletes I’ve analyzed, both of these muscles are often under developed and under active in the gait cycle. Therefore, in order to learn to use the muscles (activation) in your gait, we’ve first got to find out where the muscle is. And for that, pre-fatiguing the muscles in order to heighten your brain’s awareness of the muscle itself is the best method. Here are some of my favorite pre-fatigue exercises for these two:

Pre-Fatigue Exercise #1:

Side lying hip abduction against wall 2 x 10 reps each side of your body.

Pre-Fatigue Exercise #2

Lateral band walks 2 x 20-25 reps each side

Pre-Fatigue Exercise #3

Terminal Knee Extensions 2 x 25-30 reps each side, ensure that you do these slowly, focused on the tear drop muscle on the inside of the knee (medial side).

Hopefully you can feel both of those muscles move and activate on your body as we’ll now be moving onto the tricky task of teaching you to do that same activation while running.

Learn to use the muscle.

In one of my favorite running books, Running Rewired by Jay Dicharry, the author discusses the notion of “pushing your big toe down while pushing your knees out.” Another article titled Elite Feet by gait analyst and PT Joe Uhan, calls this same concept the “power ray” and promotes the activation of the gluteus medius, a primary hip abductor and stabilizer in the running gait, by doing the same activity.

When done properly, this drill elicits stability from both the quad muscle (specifically the VMO) and gluteus medius, relieving tension from the IT bands, rectus femoris and lower back, all of whom are common victims of DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) during long bouts of downhill running with poor form.

Activation Exercise # 1

Put a pillow or a ball between your legs, just above the knee. Standing in place, practice pushing your big toe into the ground and bending your knees while pushing them out (or away from the body.) You should feel your VMO and side-butt muscles (glute medius) firing, the same muscles we were picking on in the pre-fatigue work.

Activation Exercise #2

4x30sec Lateral Hurdle Hops (@ 4:30 in the video), 60sec rest. Do these towards a mirror and watch that your hips are staying level and not dropping throughout.

Activation Exercise #3

4-6x 60sec downhill runs w/ 2-3min’s rest between. Take your newly fatigued muscles out for a spin and remember the following cue: run like you’ve got a toilet paper holder between your knees while pushing down the big toe and rotating those knees out with each stride. This will keep those muscles locked in and engaged. Stop and repeat any time you feel yourself lose concentration.

Know if the muscle is actually working. In order to know whether or not your gluteus medius is actually holding up your opposite hip in stance phase or to know whether or not your VMO is actually firing and helping track your knee correctly, you need to analyze yourself.

Assessment of this skill is best seen through slow motion front and rear footage of the runner. A skilled coach, gait analyst, or PT can then look at the movement and analyze where and how the muscles are activating and functionally working in the runner’s downhill. From there, it’s a simple matter of integrating the necessary changes and appropriately progressing your training to longer and steeper downhills.

Learning to stabilize the hips and use your VMO in downhill running is certainly an advanced change in one’s running mechanics, but it is feasible and the prospect of boundless, pain-free downhills is real!

There are of course many more components and skills to downhill running than the one I’ve covered above. However, I am hopeful that this incites a curiosity in you to try to fiddle and perhaps even master a new skill while becoming more aware of your own bodies’ movements.

Interested in coaching from our team?  Interested in getting your gait analyzed?  We’ve got you covered!


  1. LYNSEY ROMANO on December 28, 2018 at 11:22 am

    You rock! This is extremely valuable info that is undervalued in the running world.

  2. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to
    your site when you could be giving us something informative to

  3. Trung tam tieng Duc on February 26, 2021 at 11:50 am

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site offered us with useful information to work on. You have done an impressive activity and our entire
    group will likely be grateful to you.

  4. movie reviews kaggle on March 1, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    I read this post completely concerning the difference of most up-to-date and
    earlier technologies, it’s awesome article.

  5. Cau hinh PC Gaming on March 4, 2021 at 2:17 am

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  6. used treadmills toronto on March 4, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    hey there and thank you for your information – I have certainly picked up
    anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using
    this site, as I experienced to reload the website many times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading
    instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could
    look out for much more of your respective exciting content.

    Ensure that you update this again soon.

  7. free robux generator on March 5, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks you
    really understand what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Please additionally discuss with my web site =).
    We may have a link change contract between us

  8. lottery on March 8, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Hello I am so happy I found your blog page, I really found you
    by mistake, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I
    am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to look over it all at the
    minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

  9. robux codes on March 9, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I truly love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own site and would like to
    find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named.
    Many thanks!

  10. Cheap way to move furniture on March 10, 2021 at 4:40 am

    Hello! I’ve been reading your web site for a while
    now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas!
    Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

  11. on March 10, 2021 at 7:20 am

    It’s an amazing paragraph in support of all
    the web users; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

  12. photo femme site de rencontre on March 11, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i
    read this post i thought i could also create comment due to this
    sensible post.

  13. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get
    there! Cheers

  14. popp hunna on March 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

  15. dapoxetine on March 12, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    dapoxetine 100 mg dapoxetine

  16. cyclosporine on March 12, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    cyclomune eye drops 1% cyclomune

  17. Tadalafil on March 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    tadalafil brand name megalis 10

  18. berita judi bola on March 12, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    I really love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.

    Did you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create
    my very own site and would love to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named.

  19. roblox on March 13, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Asking questions are actually nice thing if you are not understanding something entirely, however
    this post presents nice understanding yet.

  20. flappy on March 14, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading
    through some of the post I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be
    book-marking and checking back often!

  21. instagram on March 15, 2021 at 7:50 am

    It’s very easy to find out any matter on web as compared
    to books, as I found this post at this web site.

  22. saw on March 15, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your website, how
    could i subscribe for a weblog site? The account helped me a appropriate deal.
    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered shiny transparent idea

  23. similar forums on binary options on March 16, 2021 at 7:05 am

    Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the good effort.

  24. wall capital on March 17, 2021 at 6:17 am

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate
    you finding the time and effort to put this short
    article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  25. binary option on March 21, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    I think the admin of this web page is in fact working hard for his web page, since
    here every information is quality based material.

  26. wall roblox on March 23, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going
    to come back once again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the
    greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other

  27. double u casino free online slots on March 24, 2021 at 1:15 am

    casino boat new port richey google play logo quiz mania by casino studio

  28. casino games free no download no registration on March 24, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    morongo casino play online holdem casino quality poker chips

  29. escort bayan on March 24, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    I don’t even know the way I stopped up right here, however I assumed this post
    used to be great. I do not understand who you’re but definitely you
    are going to a famous blogger should you
    aren’t already. Cheers!

  30. aol free games online casino vegas world on March 25, 2021 at 9:50 am

    free casino slots with bonus rounds android casino games free

  31. quadwtf on March 25, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    Buy weed online

  32. escort bayan on March 25, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    I am really inspired with your writing skills as smartly as with the structure to
    your weblog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s
    rare to see a nice weblog like this one these days..

  33. best casino to gamble on sunday on March 26, 2021 at 2:22 am

    casino games online jackpot party casino facebook

  34. buy weed online on March 26, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    buy weed online @

  35. istanbul escort on March 26, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and all. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great pictures or videos
    to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with
    images and video clips, this website could
    undeniably be one of the very best in its field. Fantastic blog!

  36. quad farmers on March 27, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Simply want to say your article is as astounding.

    The clearness to your publish is just cool and i can assume you are a professional on this subject.
    Fine along with your permission allow me to snatch your feed to stay updated with coming near near
    post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the rewarding work.

  37. frolep rotrem on March 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for some other informative web site. Where else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect method? I’ve a venture that I am just now working on, and I have been at the glance out for such info.

  38. captain jack casino no deposit on March 29, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    cherry gold casino no deposit bonus 2016 how many slots at keshena casino wi

  39. работа в такси on March 30, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog.
    He used to be totally right. This submit truly made my day.
    You can not consider simply how so much time I
    had spent for this information! Thank you!

  40. legal weed states on March 30, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    legal weed states

  41. escort bayan on March 31, 2021 at 12:10 am

    This paragraph will help the internet viewers for creating new website or even a blog from
    start to end.

  42. zortilo nrel on April 4, 2021 at 5:15 am

    I’m very happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  43. frolep rotrem on April 7, 2021 at 10:04 am

    I like this web blog very much, Its a real nice office to read and obtain info . “No one wants advice — only corroboration.” by John Steinbeck.

  44. KiaDuh on April 11, 2021 at 12:41 pm

  45. LisaDuh on April 11, 2021 at 6:32 pm

  46. Getting A Loan on April 11, 2021 at 7:29 pm

  47. Loan Cash on April 11, 2021 at 9:23 pm

  48. Best Payday Loan on April 11, 2021 at 10:10 pm

  49. KiaDuh on April 12, 2021 at 4:01 am

  50. Direct Lenders on April 12, 2021 at 6:45 am

  51. Loans For Bad Credit on April 12, 2021 at 7:53 am

  52. AmyDuh on April 12, 2021 at 10:35 am

  53. Loans Online on April 12, 2021 at 12:19 pm

  54. Speedy Cash on April 12, 2021 at 3:29 pm

  55. Loans For Bad Credit on April 12, 2021 at 4:43 pm

  56. AmyDuh on April 12, 2021 at 9:18 pm

  57. on April 12, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    After checking out a handful of the blog posts on your website, I really appreciate your technique of writing a blog.
    I added it to my bookmark website list and will be
    checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and tell me what you think.

  58. viagra pill cost canada on April 13, 2021 at 1:38 am

    viagra pill cost canada

    viagra pill cost canada

  59. cialis 100mg for sale on April 13, 2021 at 3:14 am

    cialis 100mg for sale

    cialis 100mg for sale

  60. Fastest Payday Loan on April 13, 2021 at 4:06 am

  61. Best Payday Loan on April 13, 2021 at 5:25 am

  62. generic sildenafil in usa on April 13, 2021 at 6:58 am

    generic sildenafil in usa

    generic sildenafil in usa

  63. Best Online Loans on April 13, 2021 at 11:06 am

  64. buy cialis over the counter australia on April 13, 2021 at 11:59 am

    buy cialis over the counter australia

    buy cialis over the counter australia

  65. Payday on April 13, 2021 at 3:45 pm

  66. generic cialis 2018 canada on April 13, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    generic cialis 2018 canada

    generic cialis 2018 canada

  67. Mutlu Son Masaj on April 13, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    It’s very straightforward to find out any matter on net as compared
    to textbooks, as I found this article at this site.

  68. LisaDuh on April 13, 2021 at 11:10 pm

  69. otc cialis 2017 on April 14, 2021 at 12:32 am

    otc cialis 2017

    otc cialis 2017

  70. Loan on April 14, 2021 at 7:38 am

  71. LisaDuh on April 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm

  72. Payday on April 14, 2021 at 6:55 pm

  73. KiaDuh on April 14, 2021 at 8:23 pm

  74. Thiết kế nội thất on April 14, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Hi there, I discovered your site by means of Google while looking
    for a related subject, your web site came up, it appears good.
    I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, simply became aware of your blog via Google, and found that it is truly informative.
    I’m going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate when you continue this in future.
    Many other folks will probably be benefited out of your writing.

  75. Best Online Loans on April 14, 2021 at 9:39 pm

  76. Getting A Loan on April 14, 2021 at 10:48 pm

  77. AmyDuh on April 15, 2021 at 3:07 am

  78. AmyDuh on April 15, 2021 at 3:09 am

  79. Online Payday Loan on April 15, 2021 at 6:14 am

  80. Bad Credit on April 15, 2021 at 8:00 am

  81. LisaDuh on April 15, 2021 at 4:18 pm

  82. Online Loan on April 15, 2021 at 4:38 pm

  83. Online Payday Loan on April 15, 2021 at 4:54 pm

  84. Best Payday Loan on April 15, 2021 at 6:15 pm

  85. Quick Loans on April 15, 2021 at 11:06 pm

  86. AmyDuh on April 16, 2021 at 2:51 am

  87. Cliftontonge on April 16, 2021 at 6:48 am

  88. will amoxicillin treat bronchitis on April 16, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    will amoxicillin treat bronchitis

    will amoxicillin treat bronchitis

  89. Paydayloan on April 16, 2021 at 1:08 pm

  90. amoxicillin cost on April 16, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    amoxicillin cost

    amoxicillin cost

  91. instagram wall on April 16, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this web page regularly,
    this site is actually good and the people are in fact sharing pleasant thoughts.

  92. Spotloan on April 16, 2021 at 5:57 pm

  93. trading binary options uk daily mail on April 17, 2021 at 2:45 am

    What’s up, yeah this post is actually good and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.


  94. binary options daily forecast crossword on April 17, 2021 at 5:05 am

    What’s up, I read your new stuff regularly. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep up the good work!

  95. what is azithromycin on April 17, 2021 at 8:05 am

    what is azithromycin

    what is azithromycin

  96. celebrex manufacturer coupon on April 17, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    celebrex manufacturer coupon

    celebrex manufacturer coupon

  97. celebrex and meclizine on April 17, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    celebrex and meclizine

    celebrex and meclizine

  98. clavamox vs cephalexin on April 17, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    clavamox vs cephalexin

    clavamox vs cephalexin

  99. LarryspaTt on April 17, 2021 at 5:23 pm

  100. what is cephalexin 500 for on April 18, 2021 at 2:41 am

    what is cephalexin 500 for

    what is cephalexin 500 for

  101. cymbalta 30 mg on April 18, 2021 at 7:05 am

    cymbalta 30 mg

    cymbalta 30 mg

  102. cymbalta ritilin control on April 18, 2021 at 9:11 am

    cymbalta ritilin control

    cymbalta ritilin control

  103. cialis used porn on April 18, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    cialis used porn

    cialis used porn

  104. where can i buy cialis pills on April 18, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    where can i buy cialis pills

    where can i buy cialis pills

  105. comprar viagra uk on April 19, 2021 at 2:04 am

    comprar viagra uk

    comprar viagra uk

  106. big dick viagra doctor on April 19, 2021 at 6:11 am

    big dick viagra doctor

    big dick viagra doctor

  107. viagra commercial australia on April 19, 2021 at 9:18 am

    viagra commercial australia

    viagra commercial australia

  108. cialis cost in usa on April 19, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    cialis cost in usa

    cialis cost in usa

  109. price viagra 100mg on April 19, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    price viagra 100mg

    price viagra 100mg

  110. binary option trader millionaire on April 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has
    pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

  111. low price cialis australia on April 19, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    low price cialis australia

    low price cialis australia

Leave a Comment