The effect of the bend on technique and performance during maximal effort sprinting

Sarah M. Churchill, Aki I T Salo, Grant Trewartha

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This study investigated changes in performance and technique that occur during maximal effort bend sprinting compared with straight-line sprinting under typical outdoor track conditions. Utilising a repeated measures design, three-dimensional video analysis was conducted on seven male sprinters in both conditions (bend radius: 37.72 m). Mean race velocity decreased from 9.86  to 9.39 m/s for the left step (p = 0.008) and from 9.80  to 9.33 m/s for the right step (p = 0.004) on the bend compared with the straight, a 4.7% decrease for both steps. This was mainly due to a 0.11 Hz (p = 0.022) decrease in step frequency for the left step and a 0.10 m (p = 0.005) reduction in race step length for the right step. The left hip was 4.0° (p = 0.049) more adducted at touchdown on the bend than the straight. Furthermore, the bend elicited significant differences between left and right steps in a number of variables including ground contact time, touchdown distance and hip flexion/extension and abduction/adduction angles. The results indicate that the roles of the left and right steps may be functionally different during bend sprinting. This specificity should be considered when designing training programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-121
Number of pages16
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2015


  • 200 m race
  • curve
  • lean
  • Three-dimensional kinematics
  • track and field


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