6 Most Common Form Failures

Sometimes it takes understanding what not to do before you can learn what you should do, and that goes for running form as wellThis video series highlights the 6 most common running form failures, their causes, consequences, and some quick tips to clean them up on the fly.  In most cases, form breakdowns occur at the mechanical level, meaning that a deficiency in mobility or stability may be preventing you from executing good form.  This is why we recommend that you check out our full mobility and stability assessment program on our ACU-Running page after you've viewed this series.  Short on time?  We've selected the top 4 most common mobility failures and their fixes in our "Big Four" series.  Don't worry, nobody is a "perfect" runner (yup, not even the fast ones), but there are some really simple ways to get a little bit better every day, which will make your run that much more enjoyable!  Remember, your shoes are not going to make you a better runner, but you can!  

"The Hopper"
Hey there pogo stick- check out this video to see if you recognize this classic form failure. "The Hopper," one of the most common form failures seen in minimal or barefoot runners. This stride is characterized by excessive bounce, a pointed toe, and a forefoot landing too far out in front of the body.

"The Backseat Driver”
A classic over-stride form failure where the runner reaches the lead leg too far in front of the body during the swing phase. We'll show you what characteristics to look for in "The Backseat Driver", as well as some cues on how to clean it up. But remember, to really improve it's important to recognize your specific mobility and stability limitations that may be preventing efficient form.

"The Rocky"
Swinging your arms too much when you run? Watch this video to see what's going on "under the hood"

"The Slouch"
Hey Runners! "The Slouch" occurs when you bend at the hips, which causes an overstride to maintain balance. Check out the video below to see if you exhibit this classic form failure.

"The Dropper"
Getting a little too much "hip drop"? Learn how to identify and improve this common form failure. "The Dropper" is characterized by a lack of stability in either the ankle, knee, or hip. This may cause the hip to drop out of alignment and the knee and ankle to roll inwards. Check out the video below to see if you have this common form trait, then look at the cue for some helpful tips. But remember, form is the result of a strong biomechanic foundation.

"The Swinger"
"The Swinger,” a form error that is typically characterized by the legs swinging out from the hip in a circular pattern. If the runner has tight hips, their foot may also hit the ground in a turned-out position.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this and we hope you enjoy the ACU-Running Program!

Team ACU-Running


Brad Cox Lic.Ac. is a Movement Specialist, ACU-Running Coach and Licensed Acupuncturist specializing in Orthopedic Acupuncture and Sports Medicine.  He is the co-Founder and CEO of ACU-Mobility and ACU-Running.  ACU-Mobility is an educational and mobility products company, dedicated to the development of unique sport specific corrective exercise programs and innovative product design.  Brad has treated hundreds of athletes including: Olympic and world class Runners, Triathletes, Power Lifters, Elite Crossfitters and Professional Strong Men.  He is a consultant and running mechanics expert for TOPO Athletic.  He teaches workshops and seminars on running mechanics, mobility and movement analysis around the U.S.


Dr. Sonia Pasquale D.C., Lic.Ac. is a Chiropractor, Sports Physician, Licensed Acupuncturist, Movement Specialist, Nutrition Counselor and Co-Founder of ACU-Mobility and ACU-Running systems.  She has specialties in Orthopedics, Functional Movement Analysis, Functional Medicine and Women's Health.  She incorporates advanced Chiropractic and Acupuncture manual techniques to create a unique integrative approach to treatment.  She works with both Elite and Novice athletes to help them achieve their individual physical goals.  She is the Director and co-Owner of Wakefield Wellness Center outside of Boston MA.


Chris Lehman , Lic.Ac., MAOM, Dipl. OM is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Movement Specialist and ACU-Running Coach.  Chris Specializes in Orthopedic Acupuncture and functional movement analysis working with all kinds of Athletes.  He focuses on balancing the body through Acupuncture and manual therapies to enhance proper biomechanics with an emphasis in sports medicine and injury prevention.


Kaitlin graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  After graduation she worked for a short time in the Med/Neuro ICU at Moore County Regional Hospital in NC.  Kaitlin has been an avid runner for many years, having completed several road races at both the half marathon and marathon distance, before switching to trail running.  Her love for trail running came from the many long distance hiking trails she has completed, such as the Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail.  She is excited to share her love for running by being part of the ACU-Mobility team!

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