Direct measurement of power during one single sprint on treadmill

J Biomech. 2010 Jul 20;43(10):1970-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.03.012. Epub 2010 Jun 12.


We tested the validity of an instrumented treadmill dynamometer for measuring maximal propulsive power during sprint running, and sought to verify whether this could be done over one single sprint, as shown during sprint cycling. The treadmill dynamometer modified towards sprint use (constant motor torque) allows vertical and horizontal forces to be measured at the same location as velocity, i.e. at the foot, which is novel compared to existing methods in which power is computed as the product of belt velocity and horizontal force measured by transducers placed in the tethering system. Twelve males performed 6s sprints against default, high and low loads set from the motor torque necessary to overcome the friction due to subjects' weight on the belt (default load), and 20% higher and lower motor torque values. Horizontal ground reaction force, belt velocity, propulsive power and linear force-velocity relationships were compared between the default load condition and when taking all conditions together. Force and velocity traces and values were reproducible and consistent with the literature, and no significant difference was found between maximal power and force-velocity relationships obtained in the default load condition only vs. adding data from all conditions. The presented method allows one to measure maximal propulsive power and calculate linear force-velocity relationships from one single sprint data. The main novelties are that both force and velocity are measured at the same location, and that instantaneous values are averaged over one contact period, and not over a constant arbitrary time-window.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis