New research out of the SMU lab has now given us a much clearer idea of what should be taught. And what is even more interesting is that these mechanics are not anything new. These reflect some of my thinking relative to human and animal locomotion going back to 2001. However, as Dr. Mike Young notes, “Sprinting is an extremely complex motor task involving repeated rapid “switching on and off” of practically every muscle in the body.”
At his recent Speed Summit presentations in Lisle, Illinois, SMU’s Dr. Peter Weyand discussed the implications of the SMU lab group’s latest papers, “Foot speed, foot-strike and footwear: linking gait mechanics and running ground reaction forces” and “Are running speeds maximized with simple-spring stance mechanics?” In the second paper, Ken Clark, Laurence Ryan and, Weyand hypothesized that a passive, linear-spring model, long regarded as the means by which runners optimize force production and economy, would not apply to the mechanics that maximize the ground forces essential to high speed running.