Is Soleus Muscle Tendon Unit Behavior Related to Ground Force Application During the Sprint Start?

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


PURPOSE: This study aimed to describe the stretch shortening behavior of ankle plantarflexing muscle tendon units during the push off in a sprint start.

METHODS: For this purpose, 54 male (100 m PR: 9.58-12.07 s) and 34 female (100 m PR: 11.05-14.00 s) sprinters were analyzed using an instrumented starting block and 2D high speed video imaging. Analysis was performed separately for front and rear legs, while accounting for block obliquities and performance levels.

RESULTS: The results showed clear signs of a dorsiflexion in the upper ankle joint (front block 15.8 ± 7.4°, 95% CI: 13.2 - 18.2°; rear block 8.0 ± 5.7°, 95% CI: 6.4 - 9.7°) preceding plantarflexion. When observing the athletes using their natural block settings, block obliquity did not show to significantly affect push off characteristics. It seems that the SSC like motion of the soleus muscle tendon unit has an enhancing influence on push off force generation.

CONCLUSION: This study provides the first systematic observation of ankle joint stretch shortening behavior for sprinters of a wide range of performance levels. Our findings highlight the importance of reactive type training for the improvement of starting performance. Nonetheless, future studies need to resolve the independent contributions of tendinous and muscle fascicle structures to overall muscle tendon unit performance.

ZeitschriftInternational journal of sports physiology and performance
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 21.07.2016


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