Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



An important issue for sports scientists, coaches and athletes is an understanding of the factors within a running stride that can enhance or limit maximal running speed. Previous research has identified many sprint-related parameters as potential kinetic limiters of maximal Center of Mass velocity (Chapman and Caldwell, 1983b; Weyand et al., 2001). Bilateral asymmetry is present for many of these parameters during running; however the degree to which such asymmetries change as running speed increases is unknown. It was hypothesized that asymmetries in key sprinting parameters would be larger at maximal speed than all other tested speeds. Kinematics and kinetics were collected from nine female competitive speed and power athletes (age = 21 ±3 years, mass = 60.58 ±7.48 kg, height = 1.64 ±0.07 m) who completed maximal and submaximal sprinting trials on a force-instrumented treadmill. A repeated-measures ANOVA was completed for each parameter to examine the asymmetry differences across speed. The only parameter for which asymmetry was statistically greater (p<0.05) during maximal speed than all other speeds was effective vertical stiffness, in which the level of asymmetry increased incrementally with speed (r2=0.97). Therefore the hypothesis that asymmetries would increase with speed for all key parameters is rejected. Bilateral asymmetries in effective vertical stiffness appeared to be related to asymmetries in both vertical and A/P propulsive impulse at maximal speed. Furthermore, asymmetries in effective vertical stiffness may force runners to resort to a less stable and less coordinated gait, limiting their ability to further increase stride frequency, and thus limiting maximal speed.

First Advisor

Graham E Caldwell