Does shorter Arm action = Quicker Leg Frequency???

I would direct everybody to the Vid-Clip of Ben’s 86 Zurich race. This is a clear and unequivical example of the role that accelerating the arms can play in imparting an increase in both stride frequency and length during a race.
Consider that:
1: Gohr is a terrific example of relaxation and rate- but not length, and anyone without full extension will be vulnerable when a fully developed athlete with full extension comes along- the ultimate example- Flo Jo.
2: Nerve impulses DO NOT travel at the speed of light, and they arrive discernibly sooner to the arms than the legs, making the arms the obvious choice for controlling the sprint action.

Maybe another side to Ricky’s question.

If you have a shorter Arm action would that = Quicker Leg Frequency???..

A shorter, closer in arm action doesn’t necessarily mean a quicker arm action.

A shorter closer arm action is good for energy conservation. However, if you want to build speed quickly you need to really use a full powerful arm action.

If the event is longer, you want to use the shorter arm action to maintain pace, (e.g. back straight of 400m) and then bring the arms in later in the race.

There is a shift in arm mechanics throughout the 100. Arms are much more active during acceleration.

The role of arms in Ben Johnson is clear on the Zürich’86 videoclip, but he had a very high level of mastership in sprinting.
However, this advice could be wrong for a not so developped athlete.
I only have the last 40m of that race on tape, but when i’ll get the full version, i will do a step by step analyse to search his stride frequency through that race.

Kenny Mac:
Among today women sprinters, the longest strider is Muriel Hurtis, who did 45.7 steps during her 10.96 last year, and 2m41 average for the last 50m.
In the past, Irena Szewinska, Kathy Cook, Jeanette Bolden and Pam Marshall did 45+ steps too.
The 3 longest stride ever are for Marie-José Pérec (42.8 for 10.96), Grace Jackson (43.0 for 11.13) and Christine Arron (44.2 for 10.73).
As Christine Arron is back (and training with Hurtis), she will be this summer the longest strider of today. At full speed during her 10.73 between 60m and 80m, she had a 2.51m stride, and for her 10.85 the same year, her last 2 strides were close to 3m, nearly bounding like Paddock!

Pérec, Arron and Hurtis were coached by Piasenta, and one of its method to increase stride length to use run-up + 30m runs with marks on the soil, with different spaces, where the runner do 1 step between each mark.
2x30m with space 1m
2x30m with space 1.50m
2x30m with space 1.80m
2x30m with space 2.00m
2x30m with space 2.20m
2x30m with space 2.30m
2x30m with space 2.40m
Times are taken for each race, and compare in order to determine the weaknesses. In 1991, Pérec improved her stride length from 2m30 to 2m50, with a only a slight loss in frequency.

Even the sprinters who used frequency as a base of their sprinting structure improved their speed thanks to an improvement of their stride length, even Marlies Göhr between 1976 and 1977-1983, and Silke Gladisch between 1983 and 1987.
Flo-Jo improved from 2m25 in 1984 to 2m40 in 1988 at max speed.

Thanks pierrejean!

I didn’t know there have been women who have produced stride lengths over 2.3 meters. That is some valuable information. These women are taking the same amount of strides as men today. Just their frequencies are lower.

So these guys frequencies are around 4.3 for the women who post 43-45 steps over 100 m huh?

So what’s Marion longest length?


Kenny Mac~~

Be careful when using total steps to determine stride length as the final strides, as pointed out, may be more of a bound.

Yes, and total steps sometimes doesn’t tell much about stride length at full speed.
Take Heïke Drechsler and Flo-Jo, both 2m40-2m42 stride length at full speed, but Drechsler did 46.0-46.5 steps and Flo-Jo around 48.0.
that’s because Flo-Jo’s first part of the race focused on frequency, and opened her stride much more than any other women during the race.

About Marion Jones, i did an analysis about her 10.72 in Lausanne in 1998, one of her greatest race (no wind, stopped effort after 90m as she saw the wrong finish line…). She did 48.25 steps, at maximum speed (10.75m/s between 50m and 60m) she reached 2.25m length and 4.76HZ frequency.
Christine Arron, who reached the same max speed during her 10.73, had 2.51m and 4.28HZ.
Arron didn’t lift much and did no bounds at all because of injuries in 1998, she did those marks exersises, and also a similar exersise with short hurdles with 1 step between each with an heavy vest.

PJ what do you think Marion had of run if she hadn’t mistaken the finish line???
10.60-10.65s range…

I timed her at 90m in 9.71, so according to her speed curve, she was on the way to run 10.68-10.69.
She’ll never make the same mistake, but it happens sometimes when the 90m line is too eye-catching.

Originally posted by pierrejean
I timed her at 90m in 9.71, so according to her speed curve, she was on the way to run 10.68-10.69.
She’ll never make the same mistake, but it happens sometimes when the 90m line is too eye-catching.

Maybe she saw this French guy with his stopwatch out of the corner of her eye at the 90m mark and thought that was it :slight_smile:

Was it a Dr Dre kingsize ?

Originally posted by pierrejean
I timed her at 90m in 9.71, so according to her speed curve, she was on the way to run 10.68-10.69.

Thankyou very much for your reply PJ.

Originally posted by gloopzilla
Was it a Dr Dre kingsize ?

I was thinking more Flavor Flav.

That’s the one -
damn memories goin :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for this explanation and insight Charlie. On another note, Charlie, who do you view as the ultimate example regarding the fully developed athlete with full extension for the men?

Maybe, present day examples: A.Powell? T.Gay? D.Atkins?

Going back through the years: J.Gatlin? M.Greene? B.Johnson?

Pierre Jean, would you view Gatlins 9.77 race as similar to Flo-Jo’s races, in terms of how their stride opened up?

When I analyzed the Gatlin9.77 race the stride became longer and longer, marginally, as the race went on right till the end. I had the race analyzed as something like this:
0-20m: 12 strides
20m-40m : 8 strides
40m-60m : 8 strides
60m-80m : 7.5 strides
80m-100m : 6.5 strides

Does shorter Arm action = Quicker Leg Frequency???

Definitely IMO.

I have spent years training on my hand cycle, strengthening shoulders, arms, core, improving arm endurance, it shortened my arm action dramatically or decreased ROM & increased stride frequency greatly, improving acceleration. When it comes to frequency I’ve come to realise its arms, shoulders & core, the squat rack & deads did $hit for improving my frequency.

BUT & a big but…

I feel at the expense of stride length, due to the massive ratio differential in hip flexor to hamstring/quad strength due to the hours of road cycling I do. Faster arms, faster legs, faster frequency, but shorter strides.

I’m not a 100m sprinter, I’m a footballer (soccer player). 0-10m guy. Winger. The legs defiantly follow the arms IMO.

Not to stray too far off topic, but isn’t ground contact time, at least for an elite sprinter at max speed, simply a byproduct of speed? You go faster your foot spends less time on the ground. Assuming speed over ground remains the same, how can you reduce ground contact time without contacting farther back in the stride or toeing off sooner? If the force applied is greater, speed increases, therefore ground contact time is reduced. It may be semantics, but I see so many people talking about training to reduce ground contact time when, IMHO, the should be training to 1) apply more force per stride (power) and 2) applly at faster (RFD).

Segement contributions ( role of arms) to sprint running is always difficult to measure, the arms do have a role in transfering angular momentum which enables the trunk and COM to be in better position’s throughout the sprint cycle.

I’m not sure that if you are trying to suggest and advantage of short arms over long arms?

Usain Bolts’ arms are the longest and so his arms have the greatest vertical impulse influance of any sprinter.

It has been said that the lift of the rear elbow, and the raising of the front hand contricute significantly to vertical impulses. The length of the fore-arm, the power of the triceps, the speed of the down-wards swing, these help the foot land powerfully.

But I have noticed that sprinters with longer arms such as Usain and Asafa Powell, tend to have a slightly more closed arm when hand is raised, but still get an open arm on the down swing, so they have more change in r.o.m at the elbow.

Where-as Konstantinos Kenteris, and a lot of eastern european (especially triple jumpers and many white female sprinters for some reason) tend to have less closure of the arm on the up - swing.

What ever your arm length, peeps tend to adjust the way they use their arms, depending on various factors. Got to go, running late for an appointment… I’ll be more clear next time…

Anyone know if there is any truth in the quote below, regarding arm action?.

It is worth remembering however that your leg and arm speed is linked, your legs can only go as fast as your arms will move. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to move your arms up and down like a sprinter. What I am saying however is that by tidying up your arm movement and alignment you it can help tidy up your over all efficiency.

Wouldn’t moving the arms too fast “just spin your wheels” (insane leg frequency)?.