Kinematic factors associated with start performance in World-class male sprinters

Josh Walker, Athanassios Bissas, Giorgos P. Paradisis, Brian Hanley, Catherine B. Tucker, Nils Jongerius, Aaron Thomas, Hans C. von Lieres und Wilkau, Adam Brazil, Matthew A. Wood, Stéphane Merlino, Pierre Jean Vazel, Ian N. Bezodis

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The aim was to investigate the kinematic factors associated with successful performance in the initial acceleration phase of a sprint in the best male athletes in the World at the 2018 World Indoor Athletics Championships. High speed video (150 Hz) was captured for eight sprinters in the men's 60 m final. Spatio-temporal and joint kinematic variables were calculated from the set position to the end of the first ground contact post-block exit (GC1). Normalised average horizontal external power (NAHEP) defined performance and was the dependent variable for a series of regression analyses. Clear relationships were found between GC1 NAHEP and 10-m time, 60-m time, change in velocity, acceleration and contact time in the first ground contact (r = –0.74, –0.64, 0.96, 0.91 and –0.56, respectively). Stepwise multiple linear regression of joint kinematic variables in the first ground contact revealed that trunk angle at take-off and thigh separation angle at take-off explained nearly 90% of variation in GC1 NAHEP (R2 = 0.89). The athletes’ projection at take-off with a forward leaning trunk and large thigh separation is characteristic therefore of excellent initial acceleration performance and this will be a good visual guide for technical coaching instruction. This was the first study of its kind to adopt such a research design in a World-class sample in a representative environment. Future studies that combine detailed kinematic and kinetic data capture and analysis in such a setting will add further insight to the findings of this investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110554
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Early online date7 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank SEIKO Timing Services for accommodating our data collection requests.


  • Acceleration
  • Athletics
  • Elite
  • Power
  • Running

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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