More flexible + Greater range of movement = Greater Stride Length

Posted In: Flexibility

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    Irish100m on #16538

    Is this the case? If so, what exercises and stretches can be done to improve stride length?

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    Craig Pickering on #94860

    It may be the case, but greater stride length = less stride frequency = possibly same running speed!

    Its a dangerous game playing with stride length. Unless you are really tight and feel it is affecting your stride length, I wouldnt bother going for extra flexibility. In addition to this, I actually like a bit of tightness in my muscles, as I feel like they recoil a bit quicker – particularly my hamstrings.

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    davan on #94863

    Stride length should be optimized, not just lengthened, as SpeedFreak alluded to. If you are inflexible and your range of motion is limited, then increased flexibility will help you reach a more optimal stride length and likely result in faster running speeds over time. On it’s own it isn’t going to do much and could possibly cause harm.

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    Josh Hurlebaus on #94866

    Unless you are horribly inflexible then flexibility is not the limiting factor in stride length. You should be stepping downward underneathe your COM, not in front and trying to pull back. It has nothing to do with how far your legs can split apart, only how much power you are putting down that makes you travel further before the next touchdown, which is again directly underneathe you. So I don’t see how, unless you have horrible hip ROM and cant achieve a decent knee drive, flexibility will make your stride length better.

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    COV-GOD on #94909

    there is correlation between muscle flexibility and the effect on SSC (positively) ie the more a muscle is forced through physical paramaters i.e. percieved effort such as plyometrics, starts etc then a more compliant muscle in more beneficial events that are not as ‘dynamic’ such as MD, LD running then the SSC is of less importance and hence less flexibility required.

    one of my athletes recently moved to train in one of the HiPacs here in the uk and one of the first things stated was to improve his active ROM for this reason. i personally beleive active ROm and flexibility is a big player in limitimg amatuer athletes from stepping up a little

    incidently, it is a balance my best starter is extremely flexible (natuarlly due to tendon length) but has poor top speed in comparison due to reduced stiffness at top speed (stiffness not being tight but resistance to gravity)

    type SSC and flexibility into google scholar or even wiki lol just take a look at old pics of athletes such as linford and carl lewis even modern athletes such as usain and asafa…very flexible and great active ROM

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    davan on #94912

    COV-GOD: I think you are confusing elasticity with flexibility. If flexibility was a prerequisite then gymnasts would be terrific at sprinting and elite sprinters would be very flexible (when there are many that have poor ROMs outside of the minimum needed for sprinting/jumping/etc.).

    Just as a slight counter, I’ve talked to one of Asafa’s therapist at length a number of times (counting dozens of hours at this point) and he said Asafa is quite inflexible–much moreso than most other athletes. I don’t personally know the coaches of the other athletes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are others who have relatively poor flexibility as well.

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    JeremyRichmond on #94915

    Increase stride length?

    I saw a newspaper(?)article from Usain Bolt’s coach saying he had to shorten Usain’s stride length(Leighton Levy, Jamaican Gleaner June 15, 2008).

    Increase your stride length at your peril especially if you choose to do so by improving
    flexibility.

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    COV-GOD on #94956

    no i refer to flexibility on its effect of the SSC not as a means of increasing speed by increasing passive ROM but rather active ROM. flexibility has its greatest influence with SSC <30 when body and lower limb angles are at the greatest range for appying force, by reducing stiffness allowing the agonist muscles to exert more force, worrel et al 1994 and wilson et al 1992.

    prior investigated by hortobagyi et al in 1985, where the investigation showed increased flexibility of the quads and hamstrings, showed in improvment in knee extension speed, decrease in relaxation time and increase in stride frequency during sprint. concluded, reduced stiffness of the hamstring in midrange allowed more efficent application of quad torque in overcoming external load. therefore increased flexibility of the hamstrings effectively allowed extension to occur more rapidly.. interesting.

    incidently i have never seen a slow gymnast, find one and ask him to accelerate you will see what i mean, but the exagerated level of flexibility will not be good for top speed imo

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    davan on #94957

    Can you please reference the study? Is this the one you’re talking about:
    Hortobagyi, T., Faludi, J., Tihanyi, J. and Merkely, B. (1985) Effects
    of intense ‘stretching’-flexibility training on the mechanical
    profile of the knee extensors and on the range of motion
    of the hip joint. International Journal of Sports Medicine 6,
    317-321.

    I have seen plenty of slow gymnasts btw, esp on the male side since most of their exercises/events are predominantly upper body in nature. That’s reflected in their top heavy physiques.

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    rainy.here on #100554

    Is this the case? If so, what exercises and stretches can be done to improve stride length?

    I think the biggest issue with new sprinters is inflexibility in the quad and hip flexor. These can retard a natural stride.

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #102627

    Increasing flexibility can actually have the opposite affect….if you become hypermobile or stretch excessively you’ll change the neural thresholds of the muscle and lengthen the tendon which will make you less powerful (and shorten stride length). Stride length is less a function of flexibility and more one of power output. Assuming the athlete has normal ROMs in the lower body, becoming more flexible likely won’t help and may actually hurt stride length (and speed).

    ELITETRACK Founder

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    star61 on #102629

    Increasing flexibility can actually have the opposite affect….if you become hypermobile or stretch excessively you’ll change the neural thresholds of the muscle and lengthen the tendon which will make you less powerful (and shorten stride length). Stride length is less a function of flexibility and more one of power output. Assuming the athlete has normal ROMs in the lower body, becoming more flexible likely won’t help and may actually hurt stride length (and speed).

    Can static stretching reduce stiffness?

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    Carson Boddicker on #102631

    Good discussion so far.

    I would be inclined to say that lots of stretching can reduce stiffness, both passive and active stiffnesses, which would be reflected in slower speeds. I have a few papers somewhere demonstrating sit and reach scores inversely correlated with running economy. Granted, stiffness was not a measure in this sense, I think we could argue that neurologically mediated stiffness is reduced due to some of what Mike has already mentioned.

    I am also careful to differentiate “flexibility” and “mobility.” While it may be a case where we’re just discussing semantics, ranges of motion during challenging movement tasks are not always improved with good ol’ stretching as they would be if we bring the nervous system into the game. We’re looking for improvements in antagonistic activity and quicker “impulse-relaxation” coupling to really have an impact on stride length.

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    comando-joe on #102632

    How can you know if you have enough flexibility. People tell me all the time i need to stretch alot more but the last thing i want to do is go over what i need and actually lose power. Any tests out there for this?

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    DJ Michel on #102634

    What is considered normal ROM for the lower body?

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