Mechanical power in running: a comparison of different approaches

J Biomech. 2000 Apr;33(4):457-63. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(99)00187-6.


The purposes of the present study were: (1) to compare four different methods of calculating mechanical power in running on the basis of comparable data over a wide range of running velocity; (2) to examine the linearity of the relation between mechanical power as calculated with the four methods and running velocity. Eight runners participated in the investigation (height: 1.82 +/- 0.03 m, body mass: 81.05 +/- 4.69 kg). A Kistler force platform registered all components of the ground reaction force (1000 Hz) during one foot ground contact, which was additionally video taped using two high-speed video cameras running at 120 Hz. Four different methods were used to calculate mechanical power. Two methods determined the mechanical power due to the work done on the athletes' center of mass and two were calculated from the motion of the athletes' segments. The four different methods provided different relations between mechanical power and running velocity. The calculations on the basis of kinematic data cannot be recommended to determine efficiency of movement. The methods based on ground reaction force measurements revealed significant linear relations (r = 0.90, r2 = 0.84) between running velocity and mechanical power.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Physiology / methods*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Time Factors