KINEMATICS OF RACE WALKING

  • Sally J. Phillips

Abstract

The race walker exhibits a movement pattern classified within the category of upright locomotion. As such, race walking has numerous similarities to other locomotor acts, yet retains its own uniqueness. The cyclical motion of the lower extremity in skilled locomotor performance must be controlled by an automated underlying motor program so that minimal variation occurs across repetitive cycles. It is conceivable that a single theory could account for the gait patterns of walking, race walking and running; however, we need to expand our knowledge of race walking kinematics and kinetics before such a unifying theory can be posited. Despite the similarities with both walking and running, race walking has simply not been the subject of equal investigative interest. We know little of the kinematic parameters of the race walking technique beyond qualitative descriptions (Marchetti , Cappozto, Figura and Felici, 1982; Kitchen , 1981; Elson, 1967) and coaches' recommendations (Hopkins, 1978; Arnol d, 1980). From a purely practical standpoint, the lack of quantitative, biomechanical data concerning this Olympic sport is somewhat surprising. Thus, the purpose of this initial investigation is to quantify selected kinemitic features of elite race walking performance in order to lay the foundation for future practical and theoretical work.
Published
2008-03-27
Section
Coaching and Sports Activities