Did you know that kangaroos are physically unable to walk because of their physical structure? Their feet are simply not made for walking or running as we or other animals would be capable of doing. However, what kangaroos can do is hop, and when we say hop, they can hop almost 20 feet in a single leap. Once they get moving, they can usually keep going for almost 20 miles before they need to stop and rest.
What’s even more amazing is when you take into consideration the speed in which they cover that distance. Kangaroos can achieve speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
So what's their secret?
It’s their large and very muscular tail. Possessing strength that is equivalent to all four of their limbs combined, their tails propel their bodies with a great force with impeccable efficiency. Researchers studying kangaroos have determined that the kangaroo uses their tail almost like a third leg by planting it on the ground behind their hind legs. They then use it to push themselves forward. This “third leg” is also essential in helping them maintain balance when they are moving at slower speeds. Think about how a tripod acts to provide balance to whatever it is holding up versus using only two legs and you’ll get the picture.
And my point is?
Ok, so now, you are probably thinking; what the heck am I getting at here. Are you suggesting that act like a kangaroo, and hop my way through my big race? Well in a way….yes that is exactly what I am suggesting and I’m not the only one. Consider what Frans Bosch who with his colleague Ronald Klomp developed the BK method have to say about it.
Bosch, co-author of the book, Running: Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology in Practice is a Professor of Biomechanics and Anatomy at Koninklijke Nederlandse Atletiek Unie. He also has served as jumps coach for Netherlands’ national team from 2003 to 2006 and on their Olympic staff for the 2000 and 2004 games. Therefore, it rather makes sense and there is good reason to believe this guy knows what he is talking about.
What is the BK method?
Most experts stress the importance of running posture. This means you are focusing on being in a static state, which seems counterintuitive to what you should be focusing on, which is being in motion. The BK Method focuses on motion, and how to use it efficiently. Much in the same way our friend, the kangaroo builds up forward energy in its body, but of course without the use of the tail we lack.
Sure, your arms, legs and especially your feet play a big part when you run. However, take a moment and consider how you could be using other parts of your body to your advantage to build momentum that could help propel you forward even faster as you move each leg forward:
Put these movements all together, and you will see that no part of your body is really travelling in a straight line as you create forward motion as you run. This contradicts the idea of maintaining a straight running posture. With your body in constant motion and bouncing more like a rubber ball instead of maintaining a straight line, you are producing and utilizing your body’s energy more efficiently.
The BK Method is not something that comes naturally. If you wish to incorporate this method into your training, you will need to develop the muscles in your hips and legs first. If you skip this step, you could quickly injure yourself. There is no instant gratification with BK, as it takes about six months to properly learn all its movements. While learning the BK Method may be a huge investment of time on your part, the payoff will be improved speed and endurance with your runs.
Here 's a great video on the running technique