A puller, like Mr Stick Man, when striding forward tends to plant the foot in front of the body and pull the body forward to maintain momentum.
A pusher, like Mr Loin Cloth Man, tends to plant the foot below the centre of gravity and push back to maintain the body’s forward motion.
This is a rather simplistic view, because both pushing and pulling may occur during the course of a run or walk. You would tend to pull yourself uphill. When you are on flat and sprinting or striding out, you would be pushing.
From an efficient running/walking technique perspective, it’s better to be a pusher.
For good running technique the initial contact with the ground should be as close to the body’s centre of gravity, and the main forward impetus should be from push off, extending the leg back using the foot and the leg as a powerful lever.
Picture how a sprinter runs and that’s what I mean by pushing.
More on running technique in a future article.
Unfortunately I am a puller, especially when I walk and I suspect when I am running slowly. It shows in the soles of my work and running shoes, the outside heel has more tread wear than anywhere else. When I heel strike, my centre of gravity on heel strike is behind the heel and I pull my body forward.
Remember the article I posted about “How to Walk Properly”? There is an important lesson here for both runners and walkers. I have repeated the video below for you.
The key point here is to push off from the toes. Put that spring back into your stride.
By doing this you can transition from being a puller into a pusher.
Toe off pushes your body and centre of gravity forward and engages the glutes to do more work, and the heel strike to be less pronounced, or better yet make contact with the ground with the midfoot.
In today’s world, we spend too much time sitting, and as a result, the glutes don’t engaged as much as they should.
Let me know if this makes a difference in your running and walking.