Relationship Between Shock Attenuation and Stride Length During Running at Different Velocities

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Aug;87(4-5):403-8. doi: 10.1007/s00421-002-0646-9. Epub 2002 Jun 14.


The purpose of the study was to investigate the characteristics of shock attenuation during high-speed running. Maximal running speed was identified for each subject [n = 8 males, 25 (SD 4.6) years; 80 (8.9) kg; 1.79 (0.06) m] as the highest speed that could be sustained for about 20 s on a treadmill. During testing, light-weight accelerometers were securely mounted to the surface of the distal antero-medial aspect of the leg and frontal aspect of the forehead. Subjects completed running conditions of 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100% of their maximal speeds with each condition lasting about 20 s. Stride length, stride frequency, leg and head peak impact acceleration were recorded from the acceleration profiles. Shock attenuation was analyzed by extracting specific sections of the acceleration profiles and calculating the ratio of head to leg power spectral densities across the 10-20 Hz frequency range. Both stride length and stride frequency increased across speeds (P < 0.05) and were correlated with running speed (stride length r = 0.92, stride frequency r = 0.89). Shock attenuation increased about 20% per m x s(-1) across speeds (P< 0.05), which was similar to the 17% increase in stride length per m x s(-1). Additionally, shock attenuation was correlated with stride length (r = 0.71) but only moderately correlated with stride frequency (r = 0.40) across speeds. It was concluded that shock attenuation increased linearly with running speed and running kinematic changes were characterized primarily by stride length changes. Furthermore, the change in shock attenuation was due to increased leg not head peak impact acceleration across running speeds.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Head / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Time Factors