Rear Vs. Front Foot Runners

Rear Vs. Front Foot Runners Some runners habitually land on their heels while others come down on their toes. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise examined whether there were mechanical advantages to running one way or the other, and whether a runner could gain a competitive advantage by changing running styles.

Running on a treadmill at a pace of 4.5 meters per second, researchers determined that the sum of ankle, knee and hip work was pretty much the same between rear foot strikers and front foot strikers. Average power was also similar. Negative work and power were greater at the knee for rear foot strikers and ankle for front foot strikers. When they were forced to run differently, ankle rotation increased with the switch from rear to front foot landings. Knee abduction movements were much lower for front foot strikers who switched to rear foot landings.

True Strength Moment: Although there's a slight advantage to adopting a rear foot landing style when running, the potential for increased injury risk might nullify any performance benefits. There really isn't an advantage to changing the way you run, so go with whatever feels natural.
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