Stride length in distance running: velocity, body dimensions, and added mass effects

  • Cavanagh P
  • Rodger Kram
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The preferred stride frequency (SF) and stride length (SL) of male recreational distance runners were measured on a level treadmill under a variety of conditions over the typical distance running speed range of 3.15–4.12 m·s−1. At a given speed, the correlation coefficients between the subjects' anthropometric variables (APV) (such as stature, leg length, and limb segment mass) and their preferred stride variables were consistently low (·0.36) and not significantly different from zero. As speed increased through the experimental range, SF remained nearly constant (only a 4% increase) while SL increased by 28%. The use of dimensionless velocity was shown to be no more effective than conventional methods in the prediction of a SL vs velocity relationship, but the dimensionless form of the relationship was remarkably similar to those observed for other animal species and other forms of gait. The addition of masses up to 1.1 kg at each ankle produced no significant change in SF or SL. The results indicate that factors other than APV are the primary determinants of preferred SF and SL. Since it has been shown previously that the preferred SL is usually the most economical, APV cannot be used to accurately predict or prescribe SF or SL on an individual basis.

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  • PMID: 2674599


  • Peter R. Cavanagh

  • Rodger Kram

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