Effect of starting stance on initial sprint performance

J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Aug;21(3):990-2. doi: 10.1519/R-22536.1.


The effect of different starting stances from a standing position on short sprint times and the subsequent variability in times was investigated in this study. A dual-beam timing light system was used to measure 5- and 10-m times for 3 different standing starts commonly found in the sporting environment: parallel (feet parallel to the start line), split (lead left foot on start line, right leg back), and false (initial parallel start, right leg drops back to split start when movement initiated). The parallel start was found to be significantly (alpha < 0.05) slower than the other 2 stances for both the 5- ( approximately 8.3%) and the 10-m (approximately 5.9%) distances. Within the trial, variation of the different starting stances was equally consistent; however, there was less variability for the 10-m distance (CV = 1.16-1.67%) than the 5-m distance (CV = 1.43-2.15%) for each start for both men and women. The split and false start seem to offer the best option as a movement strategy for minimizing short-distance sprint times. However, the benefits of these 2 starts are less clear if total movement time is the variable of interest.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Running / physiology*
  • Time