The current body of sprinting biomechanics literature together with the front-side mechanics coaching framework provide various technique recommendations for improving performance. However, few studies have attempted to systematically explore technique modifications from a performance enhancement perspective. The aims of this investigation were therefore to explore how hypothetical technique modifications affect accelerative sprinting performance and assess whether the hypothetical modifications support the front-side mechanics coaching framework. A three-dimensional musculoskeletal model scaled to an international male sprinter was used in combination with direct collocation optimal control to perform (data-tracking and predictive) simulations of the preliminary steps of accelerative sprinting. The predictive simulations differed in the net joint moments that were left ‘free’ to change. It was found that the ‘knee-free’ and ‘knee-hip-free’ simulations resulted in the greatest performance improvements (13.8% and 21.9%, respectively), due to a greater knee flexor moment around touchdown (e.g., 141.2 vs. 70.5 Nm) and a delayed and greater knee extensor moment during stance (e.g., 188.5 vs. 137.5 Nm). Lastly, the predictive simulations which led to the greatest improvements were also found to not exhibit clear and noticeable front-side mechanics technique, thus the underpinning principles of the coaching framework may not be the only key aspect governing accelerative sprinting.
- forward simulations