The relationship between muscular power, sprint performance and spatiotemporal sprint characteristics
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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It is well established that muscular power is essential for sprint performance. However, the mechanism by which muscular power facilitates faster running speeds is weakly reported. The aim of this study was to identify the missing links between muscular power and sprint performance, playing specific attention to spatiotemporal sprint characteristics. The study hoped to create the missing links between cause and effect, understanding how the more powerful athlete alters their step length, step frequency and ground contact time to attain greater velocities. 18 undergraduate sports students from Cardiff Metropolitan University (age 19 ± 1.04 years, stature 175.5 ± 8.54 cm, body mass 77 ± 11.74 kg) volunteered to take part in the study. Both dynamic and isometric tests of muscular power were performed and correlated against maximal velocity sprint performance. The findings report a strong significant relationship (p <0.01) between countermovement jump (CMJ) height and sprint performance; 30-40m split time (r = -.759) and average velocity (r = -.759). CMJ performance was found to be an accurate predictor of maximal velocity sprint performance, step length (SL) and step frequency (SF) through multiple stepwise regression. The justification of this relationship has been explored, suggesting a likeness in exercise nature as the associated factor. In contrast, rate of force development (RFD) from the isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) only conveyed weak to moderate relationships with sprint performance (30-40m split time and average velocity) and spatiotemporal sprint characteristics; SL, SF and ground contact time (GCT). The strength of these findings were increased when the data was made relevant to body weight, identifying moderate significant (p <0.05) relationships between relative RFD 0-250ms and sprint performance; 30-40m split time (r = -.499) and average velocity (r = .492). Despite only being moderate in strength this supports the existing literate, holding greater correlations with sprint performance than absolute force production. Future investigations could look to implement the same methodology within a more specific population, allowing greater confidence when applying the findings. In addition to this, an investigation into horizontal force production as a predictor of sprint performance would be of value given its importance to the manifestation of sprint speed. KEY WORDS: Muscular Power, Sprint Performance, Rate of Force Development, Spatiotemporal Sprint Characteristics
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