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Initial findings of a biomechanical analysis at the 2008 IAAF World Race Walking Cup

The purpose of this study was to examine the walking techniques of the top finishers in the three senior races at the 23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, Russia. Each race was videoed with two cameras placed at the side of the course where the athletes passed on every lap. Analysis was made of the top eight 20km women, top eight 50km men, and the 3rd to 10th place finishers in the men’s 20km. The results showed that a balance between maintaining a long stride length and a high stride frequency was crucial in achieving success. Because of the limitations imposed by IAAF Rule 230, the hip and ankle muscles must have the requisite power and endurance to develop and maintain high speeds. Men and women differ in the amount of rotation that occurs at the hips and shoulders. Men are able to attain longer strides by moving their hips through larger ranges of movement.  In contrast to the joint angles of the legs, there was a large variation in the angles of the shoulders and elbows. It is advisable for athletes to concentrate on maintaining efficient technique in training and in competition.