There are some basic questions out there that are difficult to answer, such as what limits human running speed. As technology advances, scientists can better study and start to answer this and other simple questions like what makes one athlete faster than another. Dr. Peter Weyand has spent decades researching locomotion on both animals and humans. His work with elite sprinters has brought some interesting conclusions and is driving the field forward. On this episode of the GAINcast he joins us to discuss his research and its practical implications.
Notes and Quotes
Throughout the episode Weyand explained his background, his research interests, and some of the thought provoking conclusions his lab has reached about running mechanics, ground contact, swing leg action, asymmetry, and more.
Background and training
- 4:00 – Weyand’s athletics background and influences.
- 7:15 – Experiences gained from a decade at the Harvard University’s Concord Field Station, learning from animals, and the art of science: “We think the power of science lies in testing and numbers, but it also lies in creativity. “
The difference makers in sprinting
- 19:00 – What led Weyand to research on sprinting and running.
- 21:00 – The difference maker: “Time in between steps is the same among fast and slow people. All of the action takes place on the ground. “
- 23:00 – The fallout and implications on their conclusions on training.
- 25:45 – Subsequent research. “Top sprinters essentially use their lower fit and lower limb to to throw a punch at the ground. “
- 31:30 – Overground vs. treadmill running and using video to analyze mechanics. “What runners do on one step is influenced by the step before. We know the steps are linked, but we don’t know when you get in a hole you can’t get out of.”
- 36:45 – Results from asymmetry research on Usain Bolt and others.
- 40:00 – Symmetry is not necessarily bad; sometimes the asymmetry is what makes them what they are. “You can’t make the blanket assumption that you want to move everyone towards symmetry. “
- 42:15 – Filters for good and bad research.
- 50:00 – What’s coming up?
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- Don’t forget to join HMMR Plus. Sign up and get access to numerous webinars, online meetups, articles, our sports science newsletter, and more. We are also brought to you by the GAIN Network. Don’t forget to check out the updated GAIN Network site, which includes free video of the opening keynote from GAIN 2017.
- You can find more from Dr. Weyand on Twitter @Dr_Weyand.
- Learn about the Locomotor Performance Lab and read Weyand’ background.
- You hear more about this topic from one of Dr. Weyand’s students, Professor Ken Clark, on GAINcast 21.
- The lab’s recent asymmetry research (and Usain Bolt) was summarized by the New York Times and in their recent press release.
- One book discussed in this episode: Muscles, Reflexes, and Locomotion