In fast runners the archilles tendon lays back only short distances.
Reading aloud Good sprinters often have short heel bones. This has been shown by American biomechanics in the study of athletes. With a short-lever heel, is the speed at which the muscle contracts? However, he can transfer higher forces and thus ensure greater acceleration during the sprint. The special anatomy of many good sprinter on the track, the researchers came in tests on an American football player whose sprint training to improve the scientists wanted. When measuring the movement, as it occurs when the foot repelled, it was found that the path traveled here by the Achilles tendon was unusually small. The calf muscles had to travel with this athlete when accelerating so only a shorter way. Since muscles that move only slowly can generate more power, a greater acceleration was possible through the foot movement.

Animated by these results, the scientists studied a number of sprinters and long jumpers at an American university and compared the results with measurements on non-athletes. This showed that the distances traveled by the tendons were about 25 percent shorter. A simulation in a mathematical model confirmed the results: The greater muscle power also led to higher acceleration values ​​in the calculation.

In addition, the toes of the sprinters were around one centimeter longer, the further investigations revealed. This allows athletes to stay in contact with the ground for longer and thus achieve greater acceleration.

Stephen Piazza (State University of Pennsylvania) et al .: Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 212, p. 3700 ddp / science.de? Ulrich Dewald ad

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