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Dynamic correspondence between the hang power clean and the acceleration phase of sprinting.

Dynamic correspondence is the ability to identify movements that emphasise a sport specific outcome, talked about in Siff & Verkhoshansky (2009 pp.241) “means and methods of strength training for specific sports should be chosen to enhance the required motor qualities”. Using the principles from siff & Verkhoshansky (1999) to identifying what specifically needs improvement, the requirements of the corresponding movements and how they interact with the desired sporting outcome we can start to find the correspondence in what is required. Looking at sprinting it can be separated into 4 distinct phases “Start, Acceleration Phase, Transition phase, Absolute/Maximum Velocity phase” (Winkelman., 2009). each phase may require a different training movement or method to elicit the desired sporting outcome, and this can be further broken down into stance phase, drive phase and flight phase. Looking at the acceleration phase (AP) of a sprint, it is predominantly made up of the ATP - PCr energy system and requires the highest impetus to break inertia and gravitational forces against the body. The AP may only be responsible for 5% of total race time, but 75% of total maximum velocity is generated within the first 7 steps, with 50% of that being generated within the first two steps (J. Monk, Personal communication, December 2, 2017). The use of a hang power clean (HPC) requires the athlete to maintain a stiffness within the isometric hold position of the hang followed by a maximal vertical force into triple extension to create maximal vertical velocity and displacement with load for the athlete to be able to drop into the receive position. The qualities within the triple extension have a strong athletic carry over into the AP of sprinting performance (Wild., et al., 2011). With Olympic weightlifting (OW) being an explosive sport or training method the predominant energy systems being ATP – PCr. AP and OW both predominantly use the ATP-PCr energy system, therefore there would be a strong correlation in the requirements of the sport specifically looking at the correlation between the AP and HPC. Using the parameters of how we define if something has a strong sporting correspondence, Siff & Verkhoshansky (1999) spoke about the relevance of various factors when trying to establish a dynamic correspondence, these included the amplitude and direction of movement, the region and rate of force development, the regime of muscular work and the dynamics of the effort. Using these principles, we can put together a framework to evaluate how effective a movement might be at eliciting an improvement in sporting performance and if required where a movement should be used within a training cycle in relation to where an athlete is within his or her season. Why does the AP of sprinting and the OW derivative of the HPC have a strong dynamic correspondence? and does performing the HPC within the correct portion of your athletes training cycle elicit a strong sporting specific outcome?

Lots of research has been conducted to find what training modalities transfer to sprint running performance best, OW and derivatives thereof have been found to have similar ground contact times and are explosive in nature as apposed to power lifting style training which lack the necessary triple extension qualities that OW presses (Durck, 1986.; Hoffman., et al., 2004). There are lots of considerations when looking at sprinting, Newton’s 3rd law is one that needs to be considered and states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This law would carry over into the upper body dynamics of sprinting with regards to the arm actions involved, from a dynamic correspondence to the HPC there would be no carry over into sprint running and the arm action could be a skill acquisition, having the ability to transfer forces through the body whilst controlling the rotational forces being created through the extension of the leg and the opposite reaction of the arm is vital for the athlete to maintain momentum, having a rigid torso for transfer of forces and allowing momentum to travel from stride to stride effectively. The HPC requires an athlete to maintain a rigid torso whilst producing force through the floor and maintain control of the barbell and managing rotational forces, this would be some correspondence from the HPC. Vissing., et al., (2008). found that sprint running performance was related to muscle fascicle length and particularly in the lateralis muscle fascicle length, longer muscle fascicles reduced muscle contraction time this was also backed up by Kumagai., et al., (2000) who found that muscle facial length was related to 100m sprint performance. High speed sprinting demonstrates a need for more eccentric strength within hip extensors unlike the AP in sprinting which places a large demand on concentric force generation through the ankle’s, knee’s, and hips. Lots of forces are present during both the HPC and the AP in sprinting, during the HPC you are trying to break gravitational forces and inertia in predominantly a vertical displacement pattern unlike the AP where again the forces of gravity and inertia are present, but the predominant displacement is horizontal.

Looking anatomically at sprint running, activities where maintaining muscle facial length and maximise the relationship between muscle and tendon stiffness, whilst training high eccentric force and overloading velocity may help you to achieve training stimulus (Vissing., et al., 2008). Research into biometric data, and the relationship between fat free mass and the speed at which animals and humans move showed that, relative fat free mass has been found to contribute to speed of movement (Weyand., Davis., 2005). In the study from Roger., (1979) they demonstrated that during the second pull in OW a range of mean times between 0.12-0.16s were demonstrated to complete the movement, this is significantly faster than the first pull which had mean times of 0.27-0.39s reprehensively. During the AP of sprinting the ground contact time decreases over the first four steps (James., et al., 2011). and found the mean contact times to be (0.196, 0.179, 0.164 and 0.152s) as did (Salo., et al., 2005). and Coh, Tomazin & Stuhec (2006) demonstrated that this trend continues for the first 10 steps of sprint running. Horizontal breaking forces also increase over the first four step from -1.5Ns in the first step to -4.8Ns and have been recorded to reach -7.2Ns by the tenth step (Hunter., Marshall., & McNair., 2005.: Salo., Keranen., & Viitasalo., 2005). From AP to maximum velocity sprinting, it has been observed that the duration of contact time in the braking phase increases from 0.012 to 0.048s in the stance phase of maximum velocity sprinting. In the early stages of the AP an athlete will have more ground contact time to produce force and having a positive effect on the athlete’s impulse capabilities. Having sufficient impulse in the AP will allow the athlete to generate large forces to overcome inertia and gravity. Hunter., et al., (2005). suggest that during the AP vertical force production and displacement are favourable to overcome gravitational forces and allow sufficient flight time to reposition the lower limb and producing strength in a horizontal vector to maximise acceleration, they also noted during the AP “the amount of impulse that an athlete can produce relates directly to horizontal velocity”. Whilst considering ground reaction forces during sprinting being vertical and horizontal, these forces cannot be considered in separate entities as they are the result of a single ground reaction and thus must be considered as a single entity, athlete displacement will be dependant upon body position and the muscles being activated (Kugler., & Janshen., 2010). Weand., et al., (2000). showed that athletes that were able to produce the most impulse with the shortest ground contact time had the best horizontal displacement and where able to perform longer strides at a maximum velocity and stated that the amount of impulse relates directly to the horizontal velocity of athletes, the impulse momentum relationship needs to be remembered, an athlete must increase impulse to increase momentum. There is an inherent importance to fast contact times in sprint running, if the impulse is not sufficient the importance of the short ground contact time will be lost.

During all the steps in sprint running the ankle initially dorsiflexes before plantarflexing, although this happens at different parts of the stance phase depending on what part of the AP you are in, in early acceleration it happens at approximately 30% of the stance phase. Kubo., et al (2000). found that even though ankle stiffness stayed consistent across several different running velocities, stiffer ankles are associated with faster sprinters than slower sprinters. In AP, the body’s centre of mass must rotate horizontally around the stance leg (Jacob., & Ingen., 1992). creating torque through the hip extensors, before a rapid triple extension of the stance leg is performed. The need to rotate around the stance leg especially in the AP can be reduced by repositioning the foot contact point further back under the centre of mass, which would help to reduce the negative touchdown distance. During early AP there is larger net concentric force requirements at the ankle and knee extensors as opposed to more eccentric demands at maximum velocity sprinting, the knee during AP typically extends throughout stance phase. During early AP, the hip extensors and flexors work in varying degrees of dominance which gradually transfers from extensors to flexors as the AP progresses to maximum velocity sprinting, faster sprinters tend to have more extension through the hip at take-off increasing the impulse with the ground and decreasing the angle at the hip. (Bezodis., Kerwin., & Salo., 2008.; Hunter., Marshall., & McNair., 2004). It can therefore be noted that during AP of sprint running high net concentric forces are required from the ankle, knee, and hip joints. Durck., (1986).; and Kuitunen., et al., (2002). found that to improve sprint running performance training that increases power through the hip extensors whilst extending at the knee and ankle with the floor under the hip in a proximal to distal fashion are favourable.

Sprint running and OW have a noticeably clear difference, running is performed on one leg and thus the forces are produced unilaterally and not bilaterally as they are in OW, ground reaction forces in sprint running vary but forces up to 4.6 times bodyweight are not uncommon. With OW being bilateral this is not a reason to disregard OW as a training stimulus. A simple solution could be to perform the OW derivatives unilaterally or to catch in a split position. By altering the dynamics of the movement some of the stimulus may be lost in translation so this would have to be carefully considered and tested to make sure ground reaction forces are not being altered. When training strength and power the adaptations will increase the force capabilities of the athlete in those planes. In sprint running a force output can be recorded between 20,000-50,000 Ns-1 at a knee angle of 120-140ᵒ, HPC have a force output of between 20,000-60,000 Ns-1 with a force output at a knee angle of 120-145ᵒ (Stone., 2002). Looking at this information the force requirements at the knee specific to the angular force requirement has a dynamic correspondence and could elicit a good training stimulus for the AP of sprint running. An athlete needs to have the ability to extend the hip under load with an upright torso position in sprint running. Bezodis., Kerwin., & Salo (2008) reported that in the AP peak hip power is expressed as the foot travels under the hip and immediately prior to an eccentric contraction within the hip. This is a key piece of information and further highlights the need for skill acquisition of sprint running to be taught for the athlete to be able to direct the force appropriately. Johnson., and Buckley., (2001) suggest that directional force production should be taught through a change in body angle as apposed to changing the proximal relationship of the movement, and exercises that demonstrate a large ankle, knee and hip force production would align well with the ankle, knee, and hip extension evident in all phases of sprint running. Harridge., et al., (1996) brought to light that the ground contact time available during stance phase would make it highly unlikely that an athlete would have enough time to produce maximum force and training should be directed towards increasing rate of force development as opposed to maximal strength. Peak angular velocities are greater in the second pull than in the first, and maximum hip, knee and ankle angle occurred at 0.04s in elite athletes, hip angular velocity was also greater in the second pull indicating that to achieve greater barbell velocity the hip extensors must extend at a higher rate. (Baumann., 1988). During the double knee bend in OW the Stretch shortening cycle (SSC) has been widely evidenced as occurring during this phase, in this sequence the athlete utilises the properties of the knee extensors to create and maximise a maximum force concentric knee extensor action. With the SSC occurring during the lift and sprint running utilises the use of the SSC. Schmidtbleicher., (1992) suggests that the SSC can be classified into fast and slow variations, by their classifications the nature of sprint running would place it within fast SSC where OW would be classified within slow SSC, this information may help determine where in a training cycle OW or derivatives of may be placed. The research indicates that faster sprinters have a better rate of force development, by increasing the rate of force development or the speed that a sprinter can produce force, has more impact than teaching an athlete to spend less time in stance position.

Is there a dynamic correspondence with the HPC and AP of sprint running? In criteria one we are looking at the amplitude and direction of movement, in the AP the athlete is required to break gravitational forces, inertia and produce horizontal and vertical displacement. In the HPC an athlete is required to break inertia and produce vertical displacement but not horizontal and both movements require torque within the hips, It has been evidenced that horizontal force should be produced in AP by changing the angle of the body in relation to the ground as triple extension happens as the foot travels under the hip creating vertical displacement. In the accentuated region of force production, force in the AP was produced with a knee angle of between 120-140ᵒ and in the 2nd pull of OW the angle of force production was between 120-145ᵒ, and both produced similar force outputs, the main consideration for this is that AP sprint running, the force is produced unilaterally and not bilaterally. Both movements produce vertical force through triple extension of the ankle, knee, and hips. In the third criteria, dynamics of the effort, the training stimulus created will be down to correct load selection of the coach, it is possible to create more force production with the HPC and improve the athlete’s rate of force development, If the athlete has poor technical execution of the HPC the transfer to sprinting performance may be lost. Relative lighter loads around 60-70% of 1RM in the HPC have been seen to have better force producing capabilities than loads closer to 1RM. The HPC takes more time to execute movement and has greater ground contact time than the AP of sprint running, but the second pull takes less time to extend than in the first four steps of AP and the HPC can produces a higher impulse and rate of force development which are two key attributes to AP and two desirable attributes to train. The HPC provides a controllable way for the coach to load a force producing exercise whilst working on the coordination skills of the athlete to produce triple extension. In the fourth criteria we have seen that the regime of muscular work is predominately concentric in the AP and predominately concentric in HPC, both movements creating extension through the ankle, knee’s and hips and creating high impulse and power responses through the floor. In AP of sprint running and the HPC they utilise predominately the extensor muscles, as sprint running progresses through a varying range of speeds the knee and the Achilles will be utilised to control stiffness in the knee and ankle, Achilles tendon stiffness has a large correlation to high-speed running performance. In both the HPC and AP there is a large requirement for extension through the hips, knee’s, and ankles with plantar flexion being the last action of sprint running phase and knee extension accounting for up to 90% of the stance phase (Neil., et al., 2013). in the HPC plantar flexion is the last action to happen at the end of the second pull and the knees and hips extend to create vertical displacement of the barbell. In both the HPC and AP they relay on producing high amounts of extension forces, creating torque, overcome gravitational forces and resist rotational forces through the trunk, the main differences are the unilateral nature of the AP and the arm actions and relative rotation involved with AP and sprint running. There is a strong dynamic correspondence between AP and the HPC, considerations need to be taken on where a coach will place this movement in a training cycle and would suit a power development phase or incredibly early season in a general preparation phase so the coach can progress into exercises with a higher dynamic correspondence like relative load sled accelerations, 3% incline sprint accelerations or use of more specific ballistic and plyometric exercises. The HPC matches the requirement for dynamic correspondence and the differences within the two movements are acceptable for training stimulus if specificity to placement in the training cycle is considered.


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