Background: Running is one of the most popular branches of athletics. Running has several physiological benefits, such as a higher maximal oxygen consumption, increased muscle mass and reduced blood pressure. There have been plenty of discussions about what the most efficient running technique might be, should you use a short step length and a high step frequency or vice versa. It is generally known that you can increase your running speed by increasing your step frequency or your step length, and also both. However, maximal speed is achieved by increasing your step frequency rather than your step length. For endurance runners it is important to have a good running economy, because runners with a good running economy use less energy while running, and therefore require less oxygen than a runner with poor running economy. Previous research have not found any correlations between the length of the leg with step frequency or step length.
Aim: The aim of this study was to examine whether there are any significant correlations between the length of the leg in relation to the step frequency or the step length while running in different speeds.
Method: 15 trained males participated in this correlation study. All participants’ leg length were measured with a measuring tape. Three running trials, with the speeds of 12, 16 and 20 km/h were performed on a treadmill during 1 minute each. Between each trial the participants rested for 3 minutes. The trials were recorded with a video camera, and the participants individual step frequency, step length and heel or fore foot strike were collected. Persons coefficient of correlation test was used to analyze if there were any significant correlations between the length of the leg with step frequency and step length. Also a paired samples T test was performed to see if there was a significant increase between step frequency and step length with the speeds.
Result: There were no significant correlations (p>0,05) found between the length of the leg and the step frequency or the length of the leg and step length in any of the different speeds. The paired samples t-test showed a significant (p<0,001) increase in step frequency and step length with the different speeds.
Conclusion: In conclusion, according to the present study, there were no significant correlations found between the length of the leg with step frequency or step length, which is in consensus with previous research. Therefore, it is not advisable to predict an individual’s step length based on their leg length. There are various factors involved in determining a person’s step length and step frequency, and this study showed that running speed is one important factor. This information may be useful for runners and their coaches to apply, so they avoid making interventions involving alternations in the runners step length based on their body dimensions, such as leg length.
2016. , 26 p.