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The motions of the landing leg in the final three strides of the approach in the long jump are described, as are the relationships of these landing leg motions with performance. Film analysis of 19 elite male long jumpers competing in the 1986 and 1987 TAG (U.S. national) Championships showed that backward sweeping, or “active,” landings were used in each stride considered. However, the landing in the last stride was less active than those in the two preceding strides. A mathematical model showed that muscle action reduced the forward horizontal velocity of the landing foot in each landing. There were no statistically significant correlations of measures of landing leg motion with measures of performance. However, there was some indication that landing leg motion plays a role in lowering the center of gravity in the second-last stride and that this lowering increases the distance of the jump. There was also some indication that placing the landing foot well forward of the body at the end of the last stride benefits the distance of the jump, perhaps by promoting the development of vertical velocity during the support phase of the jump. This appears to be more important than minimizing the loss in horizontal velocity during the support phase of the jump.
Timothy J. Koh is with the Biomechanics Section, Dept. of Musculoskeletal Research, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44106. James G. Hay is with the Biomechanics Lab, Dept. of Exercise Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.