Sprint Running: Running at Maximum Speed

  • Michiyoshi Ae
Reference work entry


Running, one of the most basic human motions, is characterized by a typical cyclic motion and an airborne phase involving projection of the body. Sprint running is recognized as the fastest mode of unaided human locomotion. Our understanding of sprint running has rapidly increased in the last three and half decades thanks to the efforts of researchers, sprinters, and practitioners aiming to improve running techniques and performance and prevent injury. Running speed (RS) is determined by the product of step frequency (SF) and step length (SL). Recent world-class male sprinters have a RS of more than 12 m/s with a SF of 4.5 to 5.9 Hz and SL/body height of 1.3 to 1.4 (real SL of about 2.80 m in the case of tall male sprinters). Analysis of elite sprinters during races provides us with an abundance of scientific information that helps us understand how these extraordinarily fast individuals run, thereby increasing the body of knowledge on sprint running. First, we describe elite sprinters’ motions in a real 100-m race, noting that the extension velocity of the support knee and ankle joints at toe-off negatively correlates with sprinting speed. The other topics covered are kinematics of body segments; ground reaction forces; joint kinetics of the hip, knee, and ankle; electromyographical activity of leg muscles; musculoskeletal model analysis; mechanical work done by joint torques and performance descriptors; change in the joint mechanical work in 100-m sprint; and mechanical energy flow in the lower limbs.


Sprint running Sport biomechanics 100-m race Kinematics Kinetics Electromyography Musculoskeletal model Lower limb 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Sport ScienceNippon Sport Science UniversityTokyoJapan

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gert-Peter Brüggemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biomechanics and OrthopaedicsGerman Sport University CologneKölnGermany

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