Helsinki Biomech Project

Helsinki Biomechanics Research Project will allow “A New View” of athletes’ performances
Thursday 21 July 2005
Monte-Carlo - Led by renowned experts, Professor Paavo Komi of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Professor Gert-Peter Brüggemann of the German Sports University in Cologne, Germany, the IAAF is delighted to announce that Helsinki will be the host of a major biomechanics research project, the first held at an IAAF World Championships in Athletics since 1997.

The gathering of scientific data in Helsinki offers a unique opportunity for coaches to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their athletes, while for the Media and General Public the data enhances understanding of athletic performances with detailed background information about the technical reasons for success or failure.

The project aims to encourage athletics fans and Media to consider a “new view” of athletics, based on scientific and technical evidence for performance and success.

The project will focus on the semi-finals and finals (men and women) of the following events:

(a) 100m, 200m, 400m
(b) 1500m, 5000m, 10000m
© Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump and Pole Vault
(d) Javelin Throw

The research team will perform 3-dimensional motion analysis of the jumping, running events and selected throwing events (Javelin Throw) and to measure directly velocity and velocity changes during the sprints and the horizontal jumps. Centres of mass trajectories, joint angles and kinetic energy changes of the jumpers will be analyzed to find out which limiting factors influence the final results.

The main aim of the project is to acquire up to date data regarding the technique used by the world’s best athletes.

What is outstanding about the Helsinki project is that Force Measurement systems have been installed in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium for the jumping events. This means that, for the first time ever during a major competition, vertical ground reaction forces will be measured during the last two strides and take-off phase. EMFI (high-tech ferro-electret film sensors) technique will also be applied. These measurements will be unique and will greatly improve our general knowledge about limiting factors in these events.

In addition, a special pole planting box will be installed for the Pole Vault finals. This will allow measurement of the most significant data regarding the mechanical work done on the pole by the athlete during the pole bending and stretching phase. For the first time, it will be possible to measure the impact of the pole in the box; this will reveal how much energy has been absorbed and how much of the energy stored in the pole can be transformed for use by the athletes. In addition, it will be possible to compare men and women, as well as the potential energy delivered by poles of different stiffness.

In running events and during the run-ups for jumping events, velocity and velocity changes will be measured by lasers (Laveg) and radar guns.

The total number of the research staff for the Helsinki Biomechanical Research Project will be 20 people, including 3-4 external experts from Japan and Germany.

After detailed and sophisticated data analysis, detailed results, a DVD and Final Report will be presented during an IAAF Conference which will be open to the Media. This is scheduled to take place October 2006 during the “Conference in Memory of Carmelo Bosco” at the IAAF ATC in Kourtane, Finland. A preliminary project report will also appear in the IAAF publication, New Studies in Athletics (issue 1/2006).

Three dimensional motion analyses will use state of the art optical techniques. Two and more cameras will videotape each event and allow a 3D-reconstruction of the athletes’ action. Cameras will be located outside the field and will not disturb athletes, spectators or the Media. Centre of mass trajectories, joint angles and kinetic energy changes of jumpers during will be analyzed to find out which important factors influence the final results. Digitalization and further analyses of the video sequences will be performed immediately after the finals or semi-finals.

Very good news hope will we discus about the results on this forum :slight_smile:

Excellent news! This is what the IAAF can offer if they put their minds to it.

Let’s hope all of the top sprinters are ready (not injured) to run fast at this meet so we can have an accurate assessment of their outstanding performances.

Let’s also hope that conditions allow for good performances

22 years ago at the inaugural World Champs, the performances were not exceptional in short sprints, Lewis 10.07, Göhr 10.97, both a tenth or more off their best. Czech scientific team ran analysis but they didn’t had much impact due to relatively poor performances and little publication.

I don’t know what to expect for the performances there, Helsinki meeting on Monday will give us some clue though.
Can someone tell us from his experience if it’s better to train in Helsinki’s condition to perform well in Helsinki, or is it better to find better conditions, like training camps under the sun, or fighting the worse by the worse in going to some even more frozen places?

It was a slow track as well as cold weather and the warm-up track was a huge distance from the competition track.

Training poorly in Bad Conditions never Helped anyone

Always better to train in good conditions and face the bad stuff when you must! If the opposite were true, Canada would lead the world!

ah ah very true! I once red an article about those famous and BS “Russian Secrets” advocating training for speed in the cold, whatever the reason i’m sceptic …

The findings may not be available before their first publication in New Studies in Athletics 1/2006. The reason is that they didn’t have the possibility to analyse in Helsinki the data recorded during the Champs… So let’s be patient…

It is the scientific process that in essence allows athletes to perform at world class levels. Its a step forward that the forum is willing to embrace the scientific method.

Really? It’s the “scientific process” and not coaching that has produced world class results? I can only speak for myself but, which lab does John Smith answer to? Which for Trevor Graham, Steven Francis?
I also wonder if the Helsinki Project would be classified that way, or rather as a tool for coaches to refer to.
Science can be a great supporting tool for refinement but will never lead through innovation, because, before something can be studied, first it must be thought of.
I’ll give a clear example from your neck of the woods. ATP was used there first with much anecdotal success. When I presented it to scientists here, it was dismissed as a waste of time because:
1: You can’t get more power by putting more gas in the tank.
2: Excess ATP would be burned off during the warm-up and the ATP stores would only re-charge to normal levels.
No one thought then of the fact that additional ATP has an effect on the smooth muscle, raising the temperature around the muscle motor neurons. This might explain the observations of more power…
BUT, this is being debated now and the observation was made 25 years earlier and has been used ever since in the real world.

Whwe is it being debated? People always tell me ATP doesn’t work.

I think this guy is trying to wind us up but incase he is for real I suggest reading some Epistemology and philosophy of science starting with Basteson’s ‘Science Never Proves Anything’. Then he can debate his ideas with some of the greatest thinkers of our time.

Tc0710, don’t worry Sharmer and Charlie go way back.

Can you buy supplemental ATP?

I can’t find that on amazon, when is it from?

How does it compare to Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn?

It is in the book “Mind and Nature” but you can probably find the article online if you search for it. It might also be found by searchin gor “Every schoolboy knows” as this is the name of the chapter from Mind and Nature. Bateson is very very interesting but hard to read, he has inspired a lot of different thinkers since and many people consider him the unsung genious of the 20th Century. I would love to have had him as a lecturer.

One specific austrailian manufacturer has it in lots of thier products. PM me for more info.

I find it extremely ironic that you are continually critical of science. Yet at the same time the entire website is premised on the basis of a scientific discussion. This is evidenced by the fact where engaging in a discussion under the biomechanics and physiology thread. Maybe its a marketing tool you use in order to promote your website however it does reflect a level of hypocrisy.

The scientific method has had a major effect on coaching it in essence guides coaches by allowing for direct measurement of performance. If we consider velocity or speed the most fundamental quantities for sprinters, how do we measure these quantities? Science has equipped coaches with the following measurement tools - speed guns, high speed cameras, light gates, stop watch etc…

[b]How do you know if a athletes is running at their target times for training?

How do you calculate what the target times are ?

How do you know what the max velocity, or what the acceleration patterns of a athlete are ?

How do you calculate stride rate, stride length, or coupling time? [/b]

Do coaches rely on their eyes and convey these quantities based on what they see or do use calibrated scientific measurement devices.

Science consists of direct measurement and factual analysis. It is this process that allow sports to progress further with their performances.

No one thought then of the fact that additional ATP has an effect on the smooth muscle, raising the temperature around the muscle motor neurons. This might explain the observations of more power…
BUT, this is being debated now and the observation was made 25 years earlier and has been used ever since in the real world

Ok you had theory that might be validated 25 years later. Yet however how would you know if your theory was true at that time? Do you accept to be true based on reason alone, or if you establish a hypothesis and construct a study to prove what you saying. Then we have at least a certain level of proof behind your theory.