Leg stiffness in human running: Comparison of estimates derived from previously published models to direct kinematic-kinetic measures
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
It is not presently clear whether mathematical models used to estimate leg stiffness during human running are valid. Therefore, leg stiffness during the braking phase of ground contact of running was calculated directly using synchronous kinematic (high-speed motion analysis) and kinetic (force platform) analysis, and compared to stiffness calculated using four previously published kinetic models. Nineteen well-trained male middle distance runners (age=21.1±4.1 yr; VO2max=69.5±7.5 mlO2 kg−1 min−1) completed a series of runs of increasing speed from 2.5 to 6.5 m s−1. Leg stiffness was calculated directly from kinetic–kinematic analysis using both vertical and horizontal forces to obtain the resultant force in the line of leg compression (Model 1). Values were also estimated using four previously published mathematical models where only force platform derived and anthropometric measures were required (Models 2–5; Morin et al., 2005, Morin et al., 2011 and Blum et al., 2009, Farley et al., 1993, respectively). The greatest statistical similarity between leg stiffness values occurred with Models 1 and 2. The poorest similarity occurred when values from Model 4 were compared with Model 1. Analyses suggest that the poor correlation between Model 1 other models may have resulted from errors in the estimation in change in leg length during the braking phase. Previously published mathematical models did not provide accurate leg stiffness estimates, although Model 2, used by Morin et al. (2005), provided reasonable estimates that could be further improved by the removal of systematic error using a correction factor (K=1.0496 KModel2).