Front mechanics

Thanks Clymb…I’m looking forward to getting more feedback from you…You shouldn’t leave this post just yet because we know what frontside mechanics are because we still need more info on how to improve frontside mechanics…I would really appreciate your input.

I listned to Ralph Mann at a conference last year. The gist of it was - increased strength with sound technique i.e. with frontside mechanics = faster more powerful ground contact during sprinting - simple, and only one paragraph.

Did he mention ways to improve frontside mechanics?

Question for everyone. Mann’s assertions, or at least the assertions made by those referencing Mann’s data, seem to center around GCT, which is why I addressed it. In terms of reducing GCT intentionally (not just because your’re running faster) I ususally see references to terminating GCT early, or mimimizing backside mechanics. How does improving front side mechanics play into this? The only way I can see front side mechanics reducing GCT is to initiate GCT further under the body. Is there reliable data that indicates elite sprinters tend to step down further under the COG and sub-elite step down further in front?

Note: Even if it were true, any advantage could also be explained by reduced braking and not necessarily by increased frequency due to reduced GCT.

Front side mechanics can be improved with better posture. The knee simply can’t come up enough if the torso is not perpendicular or nearly so at max. velocity. and without that ideal posture, GCT will be increased due the survival mechanism/braking action-lean forward and the foot will land further ahead of the COM to “save” yourself and thus leading to a longer GCT. My belief on decreasing GCT due to improved front side actions is, in part, due to more powerful efficient counter thrust (I think that is the correct term?) that CF spoke of. If the arms/hands are coming up high enough to face or eye level, the drive knee will also come up in part as a reaction to those actions which have immediately preceded it-i.e. establishing or at least maintenance of correct posture and and active and complete arm swing. If the posture is correct and the arms are moving actively up and to the center line again as CF said many times, there is an improved “un-weighting” taking place on the support leg. That is, you will be on and the off that support leg more quickly referred by some as bouncing. Also, to clarify, the knee lift that takes place in the front side is a reaction to both counter thrust from the arms but also the reaction to ground forces and there should be no concious effort to lift the knees up higher.

Someone with more pronounced back side mechanics will usually not have proper posture and too much “dangle time” will take place with the recovery leg and thus that leg has a long distance and time to travel in the swing to get the knee up whereas I think most sprinters/coaches want to see the recovery leg/knee moving forward instantly when the foot leaves the ground. The athlete with more back side action relative to front side will take more time (I realize not everyone will agree with this assertion) and distance to get to the front-if it ever does completely.

Nice Post pioneer!

Thanks Pioneer. Is there any research that suggests sub-elite as a rule, tend to touch down further in front or toe off closer to center, than elites?

I am not sure what the article was called, but I have read that elites tend to touch down 5-11 centimeters closer to their cog than sub-elites.

Star61, I am not aware of any research that does indicate that with respect to toe off, though as Izzle1989 states, I too have seen some research that does indicate that for touchdown. Maybe someone else can cite the article(s)?

Further on toe off, I’ve seen personally witnessed numerous examples of athletes (with improper postural alignment) who’s heels came up higher than would be considered optimal. It was pointed out by Winckler at a track camp I worked at in the 90’s that those athletes who’s heels came up higher behind them than the norm (for lack of a better term) in almost every case had too much forward lean at or near maximal velocity-backs not held straight/possibly even slightly rounded forward and the pelvis down and not held neutral or “up”. This (heels coming up fairly high behind the athlete) was considered a symptom of overstriding-excessive back kick or butt kick.

I believe that part of the explaination I’ve heard over the years is that the athlete with the pelvis tilted “upwards” or in neutral will also have the advantage over those who don’t of placing the hip flexors on great stretch and thus the instant the foot leaves the ground this stretch (along with correctly and actively working the arms) will cause the knee of the support leg to move and actually be pulled forward which should be considered at least closer to ideal. Those athletes who’s pelvis is down tend to have their heels go up first with the knee moving forward later than would be considered optimal thus resulting in the extra dangle time and overstriding.

The elites have their knees moving forward once the foot of the support leg toes off with only minimal back kick whereas a non elite may or may not have this happen and a large part of this phenomenon appears to be a reaction to the stretch and the postural alignment but also as part of the arm action or in each case, possibly a lack of.

If you cannot hold Posture, you just running fast, not sprinting.
The reasons as to why you cannot hold posture are different for everybody, either due to tightness and or weakness from front to back and or left to right.

This is why you need a good coach - who can see these issues and fix them.

Once you have good posture, and move from running fast to sprinting, your GCT and front side mechanics Will be much, much better

This is exactly what I have learned about myself over the last four years. I had a lot of back-kick which would cause me to over stride and ease up during the latter parts of my races in fear of pulling a hamstring. Since then I have made it a focus to improve posture which I believe is the reason why I haven’t pulled a hamstring in over two years.

I have also figure out that mechanics cannot be improved if posture is not improved. If someone with less than ideal posture tries to limit the back-kick they will most likely cut off the stride too early which will limit force output. I know this because I have had problems with this. Now I just focus on having the best posture possible, pump the arms, and step down. Those cues have really help to make dramatic changes to my mechanics. I still have a long way to go but I now know that my training on the track, in the weight room, during stretches, and foam rolling are suppose to be geared towards improving my posture by releasing tension and/or increasing the strength of the antagonist muscles. Now I am focusing on release the quads/psoas while increasing the strength of the hip ex-tensors and abdominal muscles.

I’ve had athletes who did not necessarily have a strength or strength endurance problem (though some others certainly have had those issues) with regards to their posture but rather a faulty, incorrrect understanding of how to and why they should try to achieve a hips tall/back straight or that it was an issue at all. These people simply had not been told to emphasize that by previous coaches or with some, it was addressed one or two times then never mentioned again. Like the athlete, the coach must be persistent about those technical issues that need to be continually addressed particularly those issues which involve altering/changing motor patterns let alone the establishment of new motor patterns.

I think that was my main problem along with consciously TRYING to alter my stride.(pushing too long during acceleration and reaching for a longer stride during max velocity)I would also TRY to lean forward during max velocity thinking it would make me faster lol :slight_smile:

Pioneer hit the nail on the head - for every New skill learned, you may have to re-learn everything - you almost Rob Peter to Pay Paul so to speak. Learn one new skill and not let the rest of the body adapt can be bad management and you end up worse than before.
Imagine giving a hair cut over the phone or the net - same thing :slight_smile:

Exactly! I love the use of that analogy. As Charlie would say “Paralysis by Analysis” Now I will just continue to keep it simple instead of trying to correct symptoms I will look at the root cause.

[QUOTE=clymb420;240626] I think original question of “what are front mechanics” has been answered.

I hear the term used often, would any one care to share how to achieve it.

[QUOTE=star61;240765] The only way I can see front side mechanics reducing GCT is to initiate GCT further under the body.QUOTE]

The faster a wheel spins the faster the reaction in the recovery zone. Isn’t it nothing more then a reaction

Didn’t Charlie say that when a wheel is already spinning fast something about power angles


Good posture/a neutral to posterior tilt of the pelvis.