Balance necessary for sprinting?

Alright, this is just a simple question that I’ve been wondering about lately. Would having better balance improve sprint times? Logically you could think that if you have better balance you’d use energy more efficiently in projecting yourself forward but I would like a more expert opinion on this. Right now I have an injury so just doing some balancing excercises at home would be no problem for me if there is benefit, because my balance is awful and held me back when I played football and hockey.

ur hammy still havent gotten better.

do you mean balance or co-ordination?

If you are doing balancing exercises on a wobble board or swiss ball or bosu ball, and hoping to improve your sprint times, you are sniffing up the wrong tree.

(SAID - Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands)

If you are running out of your lane in the 100m, that is a different problem and can relate back to asymmetry in your body (tightness, weakness) or over-pushing on your strides.

Balance, we are talking about balance here?

What kind of track are you running on that you need to worry about balance I sure dont want to run there. Your running in a straight line, well or atleast around an oval that is a flat surface balance training isnt going to do much of anything.

Plus what kind of exercises are you going to do
to mimic the kind of balance needed to have any carry over to running full speed, stand on a ball?

No not yet, I haven’t had any set backs and I should be giving spikes a try again in about a week and then I’ll work my way back.

And okay, let me clear this up. I’m not worried about falling out of my lane, that’s rediculous. What I’m saying is when you plant your foot while you run, if you have better balance wouldn’t you save energy / momentum that you’d otherwise have to use to keep you in proper position to run or am I just nitpicking?

I’m sure that having a strong core (low back, lats, obliques and abs) would let you transfer energy better… :confused:

Is that what you are referring to?

I don’t think it would make a difference. As short as the ground contact time is, there really isn’t won’t be any need for any concentration on balance. In sprinting, and really any sporting event with the exeption of maybe skateboarding and surfing, efficiency of movement is generally the muscles and tendons elasticity and the ability to absorb force.

Alright thanks that clears things up

Ya I was talking mostly about the foot plant to everyone else.

The ab work, already in place, will greatly improve your balance.

Stupid question - if you improved your ability to absorb force through, say, inserts (in your spikes) - would it help you or hinder you?

I ask this because I need to get inserts in my shoes and I’m wondering whether I should get a set for my spikes as well.

I guess it would depend. I don’t know a whole lot about the proper alignment/mechanics of the foot so hopefully someone else can help you out there. How are your feet?(flat footed, arched etc.)

I have always wondered this. First time I set foot on the track I got 11.26. Then I started training WITH orthotic inserts and lowered pb to 10.83. Found I got shin splints very easily without them. I am going to take the inserts out and see if there is any difference, will let you know about the results if your interested.

I used inserts last season, didnt seem to make a difference in the sprints and maybe a slight advantage in the jumps.

Definately helped with shins splints and other issues I was having.

Makes the track feel a lot harder when you start running again without them on the track.

Having coached a qualified physio for many years I know this much. Having good balance stems from having good core stabilty which helps you to maintain the sprint position. If stability and balance are lacking it will have an impact on the hip/knee/ankle joints due to excessive lateral movement. A good test is to stand on one leg, then try closing your eyes. If you feel your having to work excessively hard with the ankle joint to keep upright then its a fair bet you need to do something about the muscles that control the core of the body.

ya thats me, I have to work pretty hard to stay up like that

I do core work in the mornings 5 times a week (Mon - Fri) Just like 10 minutes of abs, obliques and lower back.

Balance is such a mis-understood topic. There is no such thing as a “general balance” ability because it is specific to whatever the heck you are doing.

I acutally wrote an article for on this a few years back for any of those interesed in learning a little more about the science of balance:

Interesting replies re: the inserts.

I dunno whether my feet are arched or flat. I did a simple test (wet feet and step on to a piece of coloured paper) and had very arched feet. However, the physio said I have flat feet - although she never really looked properly.

Would be very interested Ras.

Even if they don’t improve my sprint times, I am looking forward to see whether the majority of those bloody niggles in my achilles, shins and knees go away.

EDIT: was CF down for a week or so?

Well then I guess there’s no such thing as “general strength” because it’s specific to what you’re doing.