Sprinting performance is critical for a variety of sports and competitive activities. Prior research has demonstrated correlations between the limits of initial acceleration and maximum velocity for athletes of different sprinting abilities. Our perspective is that hip torque is a mechanistic link between these performance limits. A theoretical framework is presented here that provides estimates of sprint acceleration capability based on thigh angular acceleration and hip torque during the swing phase while running at maximum velocity. Performance limits were calculated using basic anthropometric values (body mass and leg length) and maximum velocity kinematic values (contact time, thigh range of motion, and stride frequency) from previously published sprint data. The proposed framework provides a mechanistic link between maximum acceleration and maximum velocity, and also explains why time constant values (tau, ratio of the velocity limit to acceleration limit) for sprint performance curves are generally close to one-second even for athletes with vastly different sprinting abilities. This perspective suggests that specific training protocols targeted to improve thigh angular acceleration and hip torque capability will benefit both acceleration and maximum velocity phases of a sprint.
Frontiers in Sports and Active Living
Frontiers Media SA
Clark, K. P., & Ryan, L. J. (2022). Hip Torque Is a Mechanistic Link Between Sprint Acceleration and Maximum Velocity Performance: A Theoretical Perspective. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4(945688), 1-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2022.945688