Race Walking Ground Reaction Forces at Increasing Speeds: A Comparison with Walking and Running

Gaspare Pavei, Dario Cazzola, A La Torre, Alberto Enrico Minetti

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6 Citations (SciVal)
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Race walking has been theoretically described as a walking gait in which no flight time is allowed and high travelling speed, comparable to running (3.6-4.2 m s -1), is achieved. The aim of this study was to mechanically understand such a "hybrid gait" by analysing the ground reaction forces (GRFs) generated in a wide range of race walking speeds, while comparing them to running and walking. Fifteen athletes race-walked on an instrumented walkway (4 m) and three-dimensional GRFs were recorded at 1000 Hz. Subjects were asked to performed three self-selected speeds corresponding to a low, medium and high speed. Peak forces increased with speeds and medio-lateral and braking peaks were higher than in walking and running, whereas the vertical peaks were higher than walking but lower than running. Vertical GRF traces showed two characteristic patterns: one resembling the "M-shape" of walking and the second characterised by a first peak and a subsequent plateau. These different patterns were not related to the athletes' performance level. The analysis of the body centre of mass trajectory, which reaches its vertical minimum at mid-stance, showed that race walking should be considered a bouncing gait regardless of the presence or absence of a flight phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number873
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • Body centre of mass
  • Force plate
  • Human gait
  • Race walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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