Monday, June 28, 2010

Product Review - Running - The BK Method

Running - The BK Method is a set of DVDs about, not surprisingly, the BK Method of running. Since my point of references is the Pose Method, it is inevitable that my review is largely going to be a comparison between the two. What struck me most about this set of DVDs is that they complement the Pose Method materials very well; of course the reverse is also true. The second thing that struck me is that the two techniques are nearly identical. I was only able to pick up on one significant difference between the two techniques, and I'll be writing a separate post on that difference in the near future.

The BK Method DVDs are, what I would consider, very high production quality. The DVDs produced for the Pose Method are fairly low quality and amateurish. Of course the quality of the presentation says nothing about the quality of the content. However, the BK Method DVDs are easier to watch and to learn from.

There is one substantial difference between Pose theory and BK theory. Like most other theories of running, the BK Method subscribes to the idea that runners push themselves forward, at least to some degree. Pose theory states that there is no pushing, gravity is the only force moving the running forward, and therefore the runner only falls forward.

This difference in theory has become a surprisingly immature and emotional debate in the running community. My opinion is that, for most runners, this debate is not important. What's important is learning good technique. Theory will not improve performance, but technique will.

As far as I have been able to ascertain, the two techniques are nearly identical. I only saw one difference, and that difference was not explicitly stated or explained. I only picked up on this difference by watching the example videos several times. I will do a follow up post on this difference in technique, so I'm not going to go into detail here. However, I think most people would have a very difficult time distinguishing between runners trained in one method as opposed to runners trained in the other.

I think that the greatest single contribution that the Pose Method has made to the running community is that it offers a simple and easy to implement method of analysis for running technique. This is only possible because the Pose Method has a very precise definition of what constitutes optimal running technique. Unfortunately the BK method does not offer this. I could not take what I learned from the BK running DVD and precisely analyze a runner's technique. This was a source of frustration for me when watching the example videos. I would have liked to have seen a frame by frame breakdown what the runner was doing (both right and wrong) rather than the narrator just telling me.

Details of Running Biomechanics
On this subject the BK Method DVDs really shine. The Pose Method is not very concerned with teaching the details of how the muscular and skeletal systems interact when running. According to the Pose Method, these details are not important for learning good technique. While I agree with this is principle, these details are very interesting, and will often lead to a deeper understanding of technique. The BK Method DVDs really go into a lot of detail on this subject, making them a very valuable resource for anyone interested in this subject.

Bottom Line
I would highly recommend these DVDs for anyone interesting in exploring running technique; although they do not give the viewer a precise definition of good technique or a way to analyze technique. There is a lot of detail presented on the Biomechanics of Running that make them a very valuable resource.

More Information

The BK Method Website

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