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The influence of swing leg technique on maximum running speed

journal contribution
posted on 16.08.2021, 12:53 by Tom D Rottier, Sam AllenSam Allen
The motion of the swing leg of elite sprinters at maximum speed is markedly different from that of slower sprinters, but the mechanisms by which this difference influences performance are unknown. The aim of this study was to establish whether and, if so, how the motion of the swing leg influences maximum achievable running speed using computer simulation. A seven-segment planar computer model was constructed to simulate the stance phase of sprinting. Optimisation was used to maximise the running speed of the model using two different swing leg techniques, one representative of an elite sprint athlete, and the other of a sub-elite athlete. The maximum speed of the model increased when using the swing leg technique of the elite athlete compared with the technique of the sub-elite athlete (10.2 m s−1 vs 9.3 m s−1). This improvement in performance was due to greater horizontal displacement of the mass centre during stance (0.861 m vs 0.814 m), and an increase in average vertical ground force of 51 N (0.06 bodyweights). The increase in vertical force was due to a larger impact peak caused by more negative vertical momentum of the stance leg at touchdown, and subsequently greater torques in the joints of the stance leg which were placed in faster eccentric conditions and at angles closer to optimum during the first half of stance. It is likely that force increases in early stance associated with swing leg technique contribute to the asymmetrical vertical ground reaction force traces observed in elite sprinters.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Biomechanics

Volume

126

Publisher

Elsevier BV

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Elsevier

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Biomechanics and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2021.110640

Acceptance date

14/07/2021

Publication date

2021-07-19

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0021-9290

eISSN

1873-2380

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Sam Allen. Deposit date: 16 August 2021

Article number

110640