Ground reaction forces of Olympic and World Championship race walkers

Hanley, Brian and Bissas, Athanassios ORCID: 0000-0002-7858-9623 (2016) Ground reaction forces of Olympic and World Championship race walkers. European Journal of Sport Science, 16 (1). pp. 50-56. doi:10.1080/17461391.2014.984769

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Race walking is an Olympic event where no visible loss of contact should occur and the knee must be straightened until midstance. The purpose of this study was to analyse ground reaction forces of world-class race walkers and associate them with key spatiotemporal variables. Nineteen athletes race walked along an indoor track and made contact with two force plates (1000 Hz) while being filmed using high-speed videography (100 Hz). Race walking speed was correlated with flight time (r = .46, p = .049) and flight distance (r = .69, p = .001). The knee's movement from hyperextension to flexion during late stance meant the vertical push-off force that followed midstance was smaller than the earlier loading peak (p < .001), resulting in a flattened profile. Athletes with narrower stride widths experienced reduced peak braking forces (r = .49, p = .046), peak propulsive forces (r = .54, p = .027), peak medial forces (r = .63, p = .007) and peak vertical push-off forces (r = .60, p = .011). Lower fluctuations in speed during stance were associated with higher stride frequencies (r = .69, p = .001), and highlighted the importance of avoiding too much braking in early stance. The flattened trajectory and consequential decrease in vertical propulsion might help the race walker avoid visible loss of contact (although non-visible flight times were useful in increasing stride length), while a narrow stride width was important in reducing peak forces in all three directions and could improve movement efficiency.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biomechanics; Coaching; Endurance; Kinetics; Performance
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV1060 Track and field athletics
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Kate Greenaway
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 13:44
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:09

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