How to Improve ‘Movement Knowledge’ with Ryan Smith, DPT

This week, we’re focusing on movement knowledge, coordination, and how to move more athletically to prevent injuries and race faster.

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Running is far more complex than it appears. The “movement knowledge” required to surge mid-race, handle larger training loads, and stay healthy even when you make a training mistake is significant.

A recent article looking at competitive vs. recreational runners by science journalist Alex Hutchinson shows what most coaches have known for a long time: better runners have less stride variability.

In other words, every stride and foot strike is consistent with the one before it.

When you consider the big role that fatigue plays in increasing stride variability (and therefore, inefficient movement patterns that cause injuries and hurt performance), this is a major finding confirmed by science!

If you can simply run with a more consistent stride, you’ll not only race faster but experience far fewer running injuries.

But running with a more efficient, uniform stride can be a tall order. There are nearly countless ways to improve your mechanics:

  • Running high mileage is one of the best ways to become more economical (but it has a higher injury risk)
  • Fast workouts improve coordination, power, and athleticism (but yet again, this is risky for injuries)
  • Strength training improves everything (and luckily, has little injury risk if done right!)

Today, I want to introduce you to Ryan Smith who will be discussing this topic in detail on the SR podcast.

Ryan Smith, DPT on Reducing Injury & “Movement Knowledge”

Dr. Ryan Smith is a lead instructor for the Institute of Clinical Excellence in the Fitness Athlete division. He specializes in treating individuals who participate in CrossFit, Olympic Lifting, powerlifting, and other recreational sports like running.Ryan Smith

He also specializes in pelvic health therapy, utilizing an external approach that focuses on education and management of diastisis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, and post-partum issues.

Ryan is an avid supporter of the Senior Rehab Project and promoting individuals to strength train throughout their lifetime.

You might recognize his name – he contributed to an earlier article on bodyweight strength training for runners.

And I’m excited to introduce a longer discussion with Ryan on many related topics:

  • The common movement dysfunctions among runners (and how to address them)
  • Should you worry about a “clicky” hip or knee?
  • What are “movement vital signs” that contribute to your movement knowledge?
  • How to use pain science to improve your running

Subscribe to the SR podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher if you have an Android phone.

Show Links & Resources:

Questions? Comments? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Also, a big thanks to our podcast sponsor SteadyMD. Strength Running is an official partner of SteadyMD, which is led by sub-3 marathoner Dr. Josh Emdur. The goal is to give you a personal doctor, online, that’s just for runners to help you stay fit, healthy, injury-free, and competitive.

The best part? There are no co-pays, waiting rooms, or surprise bills. Instead, you’ll get same-day responses from a doctor who’s there for you 24/7.

If you have ever seen a doctor or physical therapist who has no experience with runners, then you know how valuable this is to hard-charging athletes. Having a doctor who “gets you” and your running goals is priceless.

Go to to see if there are spots left and how you can benefit from having a primary care physician who’s also a runner.

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