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Do changes in middle-distance running kinematics contribute to the age-related decline in performance?

Dahl, Julian and Degens, Hans and Hildebrand, Frank and Ganse, Bergita (2020) Do changes in middle-distance running kinematics contribute to the age-related decline in performance? Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interactions, 20 (1). pp. 94-100. ISSN 1108-7161

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:The aim of this study was to assess ageing-related changes in middle-distance running kinematics and performance in master athletes. METHODS:Male athletes (n=157; 57±13.3 years) competing in the 800- and 1500-m runs at the German Master Athletics Outdoor Championships 2018 were filmed and the bending-over angle, brake angle, leg-stiffness angle, propulsion angle and hip-flexion angle measured. RESULTS:Leg-stiffness and propulsion angle decreased with age (all p<.001), while bending-over, brake and hip-flexion angle increased (all p<.001). Bending-over, propulsion and hip-flexion angles were smaller in 800- than 1500-m races, while the brake angle was larger in 800- than 1500-m races (all p<.001), with no significant difference in leg-stiffness angle between disciplines. In the last round, hip flexion was lower compared to earlier rounds in both distances (p<.001). Age was the major predictor for performance in both races (800-m Radj2=0.74; p<.001, 1500-m Radj2=0.80; p<.001), with a minor impact of technique (improved Radj2 to 0.84 and 0.86, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:The study revealed that the ageing-related decline in running performance of master athletes was primarily explicable by age with only a small contribution of changes in sprint kinematics.

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