Lower-Limb Muscular Strategies for Increasing Running Speed

How to increase your running speed?

To all of you out there who like to Sprint,  have you ever wanted to know which muscles are used to increase your speed from a light jog to a sprint?

Maybe this can help you!

Keep in mind a light jog for the average person is at around 8-10km/h, or 2-3 meters/sec (m/s).

  • A variety of studies and approaches have been taken to evaluate lower-limb muscle function during running. These include direct recordings of muscle electromyographic (EMG) signal, inverse dynamics-based analyses, and computational musculoskeletal modelling.
  • Progressing running speed from jogging to sprinting is mostly dependent on ankle and hip muscle performance. For speeds up to approximately 7.0 m/s (25 km/h), the dominant strategy is to push on the ground forcefully to increase stride length. The major ankle plantar flexors (soleus and gastrocnemius) have an important role in this regard.
  • At speeds beyond approximately (25 km/h), the force-generating capacity of these muscles becomes less effective. Therefore, as running speed is progressed toward sprinting, the dominant strategy shifts toward the goal of increasing stride frequency and pushing on the ground more frequently. This strategy is achieved by generating substantially more power at the hip joint, thereby increasing the use of the proximal lower-limb muscles such as the iliopsoas, gluteus maximus, rectus femoris, and hamstrings.

If you would like to work on increasing your speed and want to know the exercises to do so, then be sure to mention it next time you see your physio!

Many Thanks

Aaron Thomas

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