Three-dimensional data-tracking simulations of sprinting using a direct collocation optimal control approach

Nicos Haralabidis, Gil Serrancolí, Steffi Colyer, Ian Bezodis, Aki Salo, Dario Cazzola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Biomechanical simulation and modelling approaches have the possibility to make a meaningful impact within applied sports settings, such as sprinting. However, for this to be realised, such approaches must first undergo a thorough quantitative evaluation against experimental data. We developed a musculoskeletal modelling and simulation framework for sprinting, with the objective to evaluate its ability to reproduce experimental kinematics and kinetics data for different sprinting phases. This was achieved by performing a series of data-tracking calibration (individual and simultaneous) and validation simulations, that also featured the generation of dynamically consistent simulated outputs and the determination of foot-ground contact model parameters. The simulated values from the calibration simulations were found to be in close agreement with the corresponding experimental data, particularly for the kinematics (average root mean squared differences (RMSDs) less than 1.0° and 0.2 cm for the rotational and translational kinematics, respectively) and ground reaction force (highest average percentage RMSD of 8.1%). Minimal differences in tracking performance were observed when concurrently determining the foot-ground contact model parameters from each of the individual or simultaneous calibration simulations. The validation simulation yielded results that were comparable (RMSDs less than 1.0_ and 0.3 cm for the rotational and translational kinematics, respectively) to those obtained from the calibration simulations. This study demonstrated the suitability of the proposed framework for performing future predictive simulations of sprinting, and gives confidence in its use to assess the cause-effect relationships of technique modification in relation to performance. Furthermore, this is the first study to provide dynamically consistent three-dimensional muscle-driven simulations of sprinting across different phases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10975
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by CAMERA, the RCUK Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications, EP/M023281/1. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Haralabidis et al.


  • Athletics
  • Human locomotion
  • Modelling
  • Nonlinear programming
  • Optimisation
  • Parameter estimation
  • Running
  • Sports biomechanics
  • Track and field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional data-tracking simulations of sprinting using a direct collocation optimal control approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this