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Personal Speed Training – Session #2
The Ultimate Running Speed Equation – Part 5 of 12
Torque #2

Part 5 of 12 – Torque #2: Hip Flexors

The second torque your body must produce in order for you to run your best will come from the leg that is off the ground, and in our example here, it is the left leg. See Figure 1

Figure 5-1. Left leg off the ground on female athlete

Now, looking at it on our female athlete I want you to once again, imagine it is the only force acting on her body. We see then that because it has been thrust out in front of her, which is a function of the hip flexor muscles shown in Figure 2 below,

Figure 5-2. Hip flexors thrusting.

it will exert not a pushing force this time, but rather, a pulling force on the left hip, forward, in this direction as depicted by the white horizontal arrow. See Figure 3.

Figure 5-3. Pulling force by hip flexors

And yes, just like there was a vertical component to the force produced by the glutes/hams, quads and calves there is a similar one to this force as well, shown by the red arrow. See Figure 4.

Figure 5-4. Horizontal and vertical components of the hip flexor force

But to remain consistent, and to make things easier for you to follow, I am going to show the net result of these two components with just one simple horizontal white arrow as before. See Figure 5-5.

Figure 5-5.

Now, again, if this was the only force acting on the body, do you think the effect of it would be to simply pull her straight forward, or, do you think there might also be some additional reaction? Well, the only way this force causes her to move straight ahead, and in no other direction, would be if it were acting along her midline, over here in Figure 6 shown below,

Figure 5-6. Midline force will not cause rotation

but that’s not the case. So, since it’s displaced away from it, again seen in Figure 7, below,

Figure 5-7. Pulling force on left hip

It would not only pull her forward, but would also cause her body to twist, or, rotate. Again, it would have to because it does not fall along her midline where her center of gravity lies. So, if she does rotate, the question then, is, which direction would it be? Clockwise, or, counterclockwise? To help you see this better, let’s look at this from above on our male athlete.

The same force on our female athlete pulling her left hip forward can also be shown pulling on our male athlete’s left hip shown in Figure 8 below.

Figure 5-8. Left hip flexors pulling on male athlete

So, as the force pulls forward on this vertical line that represents the level of his hips, we can see where it will try and rotate it in the… what direction? Care to take a guess? If you said the clockwise direction, then good job, you are correct and let’s show it by the direction of this yellow arrow. See Figure 5-9.

Figure 5-9. Left hip flexors create clockwise torque

And now let’s go ahead and place the corresponding clockwise arrow showing this torque, or, rotational force on our female athlete and perhaps now you can envision this one taking place a little better. See Figure 5-10.

Figure 5-10. Clockwise torques shown on both male and female athletes

So, this is the second torque your body must generate in order to run its best.




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