Push or Pull?

Okay, I don’t really know how to most effectively ask this question, but here it goes: Is sprinting more of a PUSHING action or pulling action? Let me explain my question. I’ve been running all summer with my track club. But a few weeks back I went to a speed clinic where they told us that sprinting is a PUSHING action (essentially they teach their athletes to run the 100 with a forward lean the whole way, pushing with the quads & glutes, similar to what I learned as a drive phase, though much more upright). They told me that my stride was inefficient because I was pulling too much when bringing my leg back down, creating overstriding. However, when I talked to my club coach about all this, he told me that top speed running is a PULLING action with the hamstrings, and that it is in fact impossible to “push” all the way in a 100 or 200. He said that the overstriding was probably because I wasnt pulling back fast enough when bringing my leg back down, leaving it ahead of my COG. I’m very confused because I have great respect for both coaches, but they are at complete odds (each said the other is flat out wrong). Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Thanks so much!

What is Track And field coming to? SD has done a big disservice to track and field…all in the name of money. Show me the athletes who run fast by pulling and show me their hamstrings. Here is a question! If the athlete is already at top speed, what good does pulling the track back do seeing that he/she can’t go any faster? Infact, pulling the track back will cause rapid deceleration. Why? The horizontal speed of the body is peaked (because no effective [net] force can be applied to the ground) therefore any attempts to apply more force would act as a brake. The stride will become shorter as a result. Sprinting is about how fast the body as a unit moves.

If the athlete is already at top speed, what good does pulling the track back do seeing that he/she can’t go any faster?

Just to clarify, when the athlete is at top speed, the “body as a unit” is being propelled forward through a pushing off the ground? Just trying to clarify. Where does hip extension come in?

If your hips are high enough you wont feel either! You’ll just "step down and all will happen as it should. There is nothing conscious you can contribute DURING foot contact- only in the preparation before. (BTW, you DO land ahead of the CG [or bottom dead center as I like to call it- like the rotation of a crankshaft]).

Thanks Charlie! I just read the “Big Toe” thread, and that helped a lot too. I understand now, I think… Maybe another rereading of speed trap is in order.

It IS covered in detail in speed trap.