This study aimed to develop insight into the lower extremity joint coupling motions used in the maximal velocity phase of sprint running. Two-dimensional coordinate data were used to derive sagittal plane joint angle profiles of sprint running trials. Intralimb joint coupling motions were examined using a continuous relative phase (CRP) analysis. The knee-ankle (KA) coupling was more out of phase compared with the hip-knee (HK) coupling across the step phase (mean CRP: KA 89.9° HK 34.2°) and produced a lower within-athlete CRP variability (VCRP) in stance. Touchdown (TD) produced more out-of-phase motions and a larger VCRP than toe-off. A destabilization of the lower extremity coordination pattern was considered necessary at TD to allow for the swing-to-stance transition. The key role that the KA joint motion has in the movement patterns used by healthy athletes in the maximal velocity phase of sprint running was highlighted.
Gittoes is with the Cardiff School of Sport, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, U.K. Wilson is now with the School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, U.K.