How To Increase Stride Length
Stride length is an integral aspect of what goes into making someone run fast. If you are a sprinter wondering how to increase stride length, this video is for you.
Stride Length For Sprinters
In order to run as fast as possible, sprinters and other athletes must figure out how to increase their stride length, stride frequency, or preferably both. While stride frequency is arguably harder to increase, stride length can be reliably increased by increasing your force and power output capabilities. To do this, you must put together a holistic sprint training program which covers all bases of the force velocity spectrum.
When people ask how to increase stride length, they often think that this simply means reaching out in front of the body. While this would make sense, stride length is not increased by reaching with the foot.
How Is Stride Length & Stride Frequency Defined?
For the purpose of this discussion, stride length can be defined as how far the athlete’s center of mass travels from one ground contact to the next. Stride frequency can be defined as how many strides take place within a certain distance or period of time. Usain bolt has been shown to achieve approximately 4.5 strides per second, with a stride length of somewhere around 2.4 meters per stride. Other fast sprinters of similar performance levels achieve slightly higher stride frequencies, with shorter stride lengths due to their short limbs.
There is a trade-off between stride length and frequency, in that artificial manipulation of one variable tends to have the opposite effect on the other. Increasing stride frequency beyond what is optimal will reduce stride length, since you do not have the time needed to generate large propulsive forces. On the contrary, larger stride lengths tend to increase flight times, reducing the frequency with which you strike the ground.
What Primary Factor Underlies Stride Length?
Stride length is primarily a result of how much force can be applied to the ground in the shortest period of time, in the most optimal direction for that point in the sprint. Early acceleration exhibits a significantly horizontal application of force and these forces are exerted over longer durations of time, whereas maximal velocity sprinting exhibits a more vertical application of force which is delivered in a shorter period of time. At maximal velocity, fast sprinters exhibit ground contact times of approximately .08 seconds, and spend approximately .12 seconds in the air. Therefore, if you want to know how to increase stride length, the answer is to increase the amount of force applied to the ground, and improve how that force is applied.
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