Built for speed: musculoskeletal structure and sprinting ability

  title={Built for speed: musculoskeletal structure and sprinting ability},
  author={Sabrina S. M. Lee and Stephen J Piazza},
  journal={Journal of Experimental Biology},
  pages={3700 - 3707}
The musculoskeletal structure of the foot and ankle has the potential to influence human sprinting performance in complex ways. [] Key Method In this study, we measured the plantarflexion moment arms of the Achilles' tendon, lateral gastrocnemius fascicle lengths and pennation angles, and anthropometric characteristics of the foot and lower leg in collegiate sprinters and height-matched non-sprinters. The Achilles' tendon moment arms of the sprinters were 25% smaller on average in sprinters than in non…
Ankle joint mechanics and foot proportions differ between human sprinters and non-sprinters
Using magnetic resonance imaging, it is found that trained sprinters have shorter plantarflexor moment arms and longer forefoot bones than non-sprinters and that increasing the ratio of forefoot to rearfoot length permits more plantar Flexor muscle work during plantar flexion that occurs at rates expected during the acceleration phase following the sprint start.
Adding Stiffness to the Foot Modulates Soleus Force-Velocity Behaviour during Human Walking
This work investigated foot-ankle interplay during walking by adding stiffness to the foot through shoes and insoles, and characterized the resulting changes in in vivo soleus muscle-tendon mechanics using ultrasonography.
Plantarflexor fiber length and tendon slack length are the strongest determinates of simulated single-leg heel raise function
A musculoskeletal model is developed in order to simulate the effects of muscle-tendon unit (MTU) parameters on peak plantarflexion during this clinically-relevant task and highlights the importance of preserving muscle fascicle and tendon length following Achilles tendon injuries.
Biomechanics of foot function in relation to sports performance
This study demonstrated that individual sprinting performance may be improved by implementation of relevant shoe mechanical characteristics, and potentially suggests that sprint spikes do not minimise energy loss during sprinting.
Human ankle plantar flexor muscle–tendon mechanics and energetics during maximum acceleration sprinting
It is concluded that tendon elastic strain energy in the ankle plantar flexors is just as vital at the start of a maximal sprint as it is at the end, and as it was for running at a constant speed.
Morphological and mechanical properties of muscle and tendon in highly trained sprinters.
The tendon structures of highly trained sprinters are more compliant than those of untrained subjects for knee extensors, but not for plantar flexors, and a thicker medial side of knee Extensors was associated with greater sprinting performance.
Correlations between muscle-tendon parameters and acceleration ability in 20 m sprints
The data underline that the influence of muscle tendon parameters on sprint performance could be better appreciated when peak values of power can be calculated rather than by considering the simple measure of average velocity.
Influence of joint angle on muscle fascicle dynamics and rate of torque development during isometric explosive contractions.
The findings suggest that the dynamic behavior of muscle fascicles, and the associated fascicle shortening velocity, may influence the rapid force-generating capacity mainly from 100 ms of RTD onset.


Functional anatomy and muscle moment arms of the thoracic limb of an elite sprinting athlete: the racing greyhound (Canis familiaris)
The greyhound thoracic limb appears to possess substantial differences from both that of more ‘sub‐maximal specialist’ quadrupeds, and from the greyhound pelvic limb, suggesting that it may be used to some extent in propulsion, or alternatively that stabilisation is very important in this animal.
Muscle power patterns in the mid-acceleration phase of sprinting
The role of the knee appears to be one of maintaining the centre of mass height and enabling the power generated at the hip to be transferred to the ankle, with the plantar flexors producing the greatest peak power.
Load‐displacement properties of the human triceps surae aponeurosis and tendon in runners and non‐runners
The larger tendon cross‐sectional area in trained runners suggests that chronic exposure to repetitive loading has resulted in a tissue adaptation.
Walking, running and the evolution of short toes in humans
A biomechanical model of toe function in bipedal locomotion is proposed that suggests that shorter pedal phalanges improve locomotor performance by decreasing digital flexor force production and mechanical work, which might ultimately reduce the metabolic cost of flexorforce production during bipedAL locomotion.
Longer moment arm results in smaller joint moment development, power and work outputs in fast motions.
Dependence of human squat jump performance on the series elastic compliance of the triceps surae: a simulation study.
  • M. Bobbert
  • Engineering
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 2001
It seems that long compliant tendons in the plantar flexors are an elegant solution to the problem of maximizing jumping performance, as they allowed for a higher power output at the ankles.
Fascicle length of leg muscles is greater in sprinters than distance runners.
Great fascicle length and lesser pennation angle observed in leg muscles of SPR, compared with DR, would appear to favor shortening velocity as required for greater running speed.
In vivo measurement of the series elasticity release curve of human triceps surae muscle.
  • A. Hof
  • Biology, Engineering
    Journal of biomechanics
  • 1998
In vivo measurement-based estimations of the human Achilles tendon moment arm
Estimating and comparing in vivo measurement-based Achilles tendon moment arm lengths at rest and during isometric plantarflexion maximum voluntary contraction using the centre-of-rotation (COR) and the tendon-excursion (TE) methods found disagreement in moment arms during MVC.
In vivo dynamics of human medial gastrocnemius muscle-tendon complex during stretch-shortening cycle exercise.
The present results suggest that tendon structures make the dynamics of MTC more efficient during stretch-shortening cycle exercises by changing their lengths.