In the 1970's, thousands of people took to the road with a new trend of exercise----running. It was fairly easy; just put one foot in front of the other as fast as you can and go as far as you can. Feel the burn in your chest? The sweat trickling down your face? The throb in your knees as your foot pounds into the ground with every step? Well then, you're exercising! You’re running! Since then, running has become a dominant factor in sports and fitness; a factor so prevalent that the number of musculoskeletal injuries due to running has also increased over the last quarter century. These chronic injuries are usually due to overuse, improper training techniques, or a combination of the two. By using the results of other biomechanists’ studies, one can extrapolate an idea of what running should look like and what muscles are utilized during the activity. Consequently, changes in technique, strength training, and flexibility training can be made in order to decrease the potential for injury.
Before analyzing the mechanics of running, it is important to accumulate some of the vast research available for this activity. The following are brief summaries of research articles that study various factors on running.
DeVita (1994) noted the gait cycle is measured in two ways: swing-stance-swing or stance-swing-stance. In this study, EMG activity of six muscles was obtained from four subjects while walking and running. The data was collected while the subjects performed a consecutive swing, stance, swing period of each gait. From this, the swing-to-stance and stance-to-swing period of each gait could be measured. The EMG results showed greater activation levels for 5/6 muscles during the swing-to-stance period. Results concluded that the subjects needed to prepare for the initiation of stance and the application of relatively large external forces and momentums. Therefore, when assessing the human gait, it is best to observe stance-swing-stance.
Jacobs, Bobbert, VanIngen, and Schenau (1993) analyzed the function of mono- and biarticular leg muscles during the stretch-shortening cycle of running at 6 m/s. Kinematics, ground reaction forces and EMG activities were recorded for a single stance phase. First of all, estimates of muscle force were correlated with origin...
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DeVita, P. (1994). The selection of a standard convention for analyzing gait data based on the analysis of relevant biomechanical factors, Journal of Biomechanics (vol 27, no 4) pg. 501-507.
Hall, S.J. (1999). Basic Biomechanics (3rd ed), pg. 398-439. McGraw-Hill.
Jacobs, R., Bobbert, M.F., vanIngen Schenau, G.J. (1993). Function of mono- and biarticular muscles in running, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (vol 25, no 10) pg. 1163-1173.
National Strength and Conditioning Association, Baechle, T.R.,
editor (1994). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning pg. 293-385. Human Kinetics: New Zealand.
Nig, B., DeBoer, R., and Fisher, V. (1995). A kinematic comparison of overground and treadmill running, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (vol 27, no 1) pg. 98-105.
Northrip, J.W., Logan, G.A., and Wayne, C.M. (1979). Introduction to Biomechanical Analysis of Sports (2nd ed), pg. 45. W. C. Brown Co. Publishers: Dubuque, IA.
Rasch P.J. and Burke, R.E. (1978). Kinesiology and Applied Anatomy
(6th ed) pg. 199-398. Lea & Febiger: Philadelphia
Thordarson, D.B. (1997). Running Biomechanics, Clinics in Sports Medicine (vol 16, no 2) pg. 239-247.
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