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Ten male recreational runners were filmed using three-dimensional cinematography while running on a treadmill at 3.8 m/s, 4.5 m/s, and 5.4 m/s. A 14-segment mathematical model was used to examine the contributions of the arms to the total-body angular momentum about three orthogonal axes passing through the body center of mass. The results showed that while the body possessed varying amounts of angular momentum about all three coordinate axes, the arms made a meaningful contribution to only the vertical component (Hz). The arms were found to generate an alternating positive and negative Hz pattern during the running cycle. This tended to cancel out an opposite Hz pattern of the legs. The trunk was found to be an active participant in this balance of angular momentum, the upper trunk rotating back and forth with the arms and, to a lesser extent, the lower trunk with the legs. The result was a relatively small total-body Hz throughout the running cycle. The inverse relationship between upper- and lower-body angular momentum suggests that the arms and upper trunk provide the majority of the angular impulse about the z axis needed to put the legs through their alternating strides in running.
Richard N. Hinrichs is with the Exercise and Sport Research Institute, Department of Health and Physical Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287.