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Biomechanics of Running

Running
• A form of locomotion • A modification of walking • Differs from walking in;
– One phase: neither foot is contact with the ground – No phase: both feet in contact with the ground

Running
• All determinants of walking are prominent in running
– Pelvic rotation – Pelvic tilt – Lateral motion of pelvic – Motion of hip, knee, foot and ankle

Running – A Gait Cycle

• Contact Phase • Flight Phase

Contact Phase
• Support Phase
– One foot in contact with ground

• Foot Strike-Mid SupportTake off

Flight Phase
• Swinging through the air • Increases with increased running speed • Clearance of foot from ground:
– Ankle dorsiflexion – Knee flexion – Hip flexion

Running Stride

• Step length • Stride length • Foot strike (heel strike) • Cycle or stride time

Running Terminology

• Stride rate • Nonsupport phase • Support phase (stance phase)

• Stride length • Arm action

Mechanics of Running
• Knee action • Hip action • Support and nonsupport time • Trunk angle

• Center of gravity • Speed/tension • Foot position

Step and Stride
• Step
– The moment when foot terminates contact with the ground and continues until the opposite foot contacts the surface

• Stride
– The termination of contact of foot with the ground through the next contact of the same foot – 2 steps

Stride Length
• Take off distance
– Horizontal distance that CG is FW of toe of take off foot when leaving the ground

• Flight distance
– Horizontal distance that CG travels while in the air

• Landing distance
– Horizontal distance that toe of leading foot is FW of CG at landing

Stride Length
• Depends on:
– Leg length – ROM of hip – Strength of leg extensors

Stride Frequency
• Number of strides athletes takes in a given time

• Depends on:
– Speed of muscle contraction – Skill of running

Stride Frequency
• Regarded as the sum of
– Time during contact the ground – Time spent in the air

• Ratio
– 2 : 1 during start – 1 : 1.3 and 1 : 1.5 at max speed

Relationship between SL and SF
• Speed of the run = SL x SF where; SL = Stride length

SF = Stride frequency (Hoffman;1971, Teeple; 1968, Sparks; 1974)

Relationship between SL and SF
• Long stride + high frequency = fast runner • Short stride + low frequency = distance runner => conserve energy • Men 4.87 m (16ft) 5 steps/s • Women 3.65-4.26 m (12-14 ft) 4 steps/s

• Very close relationship between height and SL

Relationship between SL and SF
– SL = 1.14 times of height – SL = 2.11 times of leg length

• SF decreases as height and leg length increase • Average max SL = 1.24 times of height

Foot Position
• Depends on velocity of the run • The contact is first made :
– Heel strike the ground first better for long distance
• Heel pad can absorb high impact force

• Midfoot strike (whole foot strike) • Forefoot strike
– Used in sprinting

Foot Position
• Foot:
– Slight supination – External rotation of tibia

• To absorb impact in striking ground:
– Rapid extension of hip – Internal rotation of tibia – Pronation of subtalar joint

Running Efficiency
• Decrease vertical displacement of Center of Mass • Foot strike close to line of gravity • Decrease lateral movements • Shortening of swing leg

Skilled and Unskilled Runners
• At the beginning of flight phase
– Skilled runners have greater knee and hip flexion in leading limb

• At the beginning of contact phase
– Skilled runners have greater knee flexion of rear limb, bringing the heel closer to buttock

Skilled and Unskilled Runners

Foot Position

Stride Length

TIME
DISTANCE

AVERAGE SPEED

STRIDE LENGTH

STRIDE FREQUENCY

TAKE-OFF DISTANCE

FLIGHT DISTANCE

LANDING DISTANC E

STRIDE TIME

SPEED OF ANGLE OF HEIGHT OF AIR RELEASE RELEASE RELEASE RESISTANCE

TURN ON GROUN D

TIME IN AIR

Sprinting

Sprinting

Sprinting
• (a) On your marks • (b) Set
– Lift knee of back leg and elevate hips – Shift CG forward

• (c-e) Go
– Swing arms vigorously – Forceful extension of both legs drives body forward

Sprint Start
• Crouch start places in position to move CG rapidly ahead of feet
– Bunch or bullet; foot length (10-12 inches) – Medium; shank length-1/2 of front foot ( 16-21 inches) – Elongated; shank length ( 24-28 inches)

Starting Block

Sprint Starting Mechanics
• Block spacing vary from 11-15 inches according to leg length • Front knee joint angle should be near 900 • Rear leg is near extension to apply max thrust • The greatest horizontal force against blocks was exerted by rear foot

Sprinting in Action

Sprinter in Action
• Foot strike on outside border of foot near ball • Foot-down position with feet completely flat • Toes ready to leave surface • Both feet are off the ground (nonsupport) • Rear foot lift • Knee lift in front • High knee lift and long stride potential • Foot strike

Action of Legs
• Supporting phase
– Foot lands to CG pass FW

• Driving phase
– First phase ends to foot leave the ground

• Recovery phase
– Foot is off the ground and prepare to next landing

Supporting Phase
• Arrest athletes downward motion • To allow to move into drive body forward and upward into next stride with min loss of momentum • Increase flexion of hip, knee and ankle to cushion shock of impact

Driving Phase
• To drive or thrust downward and backward against ground • Extensor muscles of hip, knee and ankle exert force in determining body’s velocity at “take off”

Recovery Phase
• Bring foot forward from behind to the point at which makes next contact

Action of Arms
• Contrary reactions in upper body due to rotary actions of hips • Flex arm at elbow and swing bw, fw and slightly iw • Fw limit; shoulder height • Bw limit; behind hip

Action of Trunk

Middle and Long Distance Running

Middle and Long Distance Running

Muscle Activity in Running
• Glut. Max. & med. - active at the beginning of the stance phase (concentrically) and again at the end of the swing phase (eccentrically) • Iliopsoas - active during a portion of the swing phase (concentrically)

• Quadriceps -- 1st 10% of the stance phase (eccentrically) and last 20% of the swing phase (concentrically) • Hamstrings -- initial portion of the

Muscle Activity in Running

• Plantar flexors (gastrocnemius & soleus) – Mid and latter part of stance phase

swing phase (concentric) and at the end of the swing phase (eccentric)

Elite Sprinter Characteristics
• • • • Slight vertical displacement of body Long length stride Small amount of time on ground Greater knee flexion during recovery of leg • BW rotations of leg segment just before foot contact • Strong and complete extension during thrust phase of support

Running Economy
• Comparing track and treadmill running;
– Marathon-pace difference of 7-8% at middle-distance pace – 20% decrease in energy cost during draft – Decrease in energy cost due to clothing and haircut

Running Economy
• Stride length in speed running depends on
– It’s positively correlated with ratio of leg length to body height – It’s directly proportional to amount of force extended to propel body during running – It’s inversely proportional to amount of braking force at touchdown

Fatigue Effects
• Lower CG during air phase • Greater FW body lean • Lateral extension of arms • Decreased leg lift • Shorter strides • Decreased step frequency • Wider base of support with legs rotated laterally

Energy Sources

Walk (1.2 m/s)

Energy Sources

Run (3.2 m/s)

Energy Sources

Sprint (3.9 m/s)

High Hurdles
• Divided into 4 phases
– Approach
• Same as sprinting

– Takeoff – Flight – Landing

High Hurdles

Takeoff
• Bring up lead foot high under buttocks • Swing lead knee fw and uw to reduce moment of inertia and facilitate rotation through hip • Extending knee brings leading leg into near-straight position to transfer momentum to lower leg

Takeoff
• Actions of leading leg tend to;
– Shift CG fw and uw – Body rotate bw and dw at the same time

• Distance of takeoff depends on
– Athlete’s height – Athlete’s leg length – Athlete’s speed and technique

Flight
• Lead leg and trunk continue to move fw • Leading arm motion is fw and dw
– CG clear hurdle as low as safety

• Leading knee cross hurdle
– Motions of trunk and leg are reversed

Landing
• Body is nearly erect • Drive vigorously fw into next running stride • Tend to arrest bw rotation of trunk by movement of leading leg

Race Walking Rules
• Support leg must be straight when at heel-strike & remain straight through the vertical movement • One foot must be in contact

Analysis of Race Walking
• Dorsiflexion increases at heel strike • Hyperextension increases at knee in midstance • Flexion increases at knee and hip during leg swing • Pelvic rotation increases