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Int J Sports Med. 2002 Jan;23(1):40-3.

Running economy is negatively related to sit-and-reach test performance in international-standard distance runners.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, United Kingdom.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between running economy (RE) and lower body flexibility. Thirty-four international-standard male distance runners (mean +/- s, age 27 +/- 5 years; body mass 64.9 +/- 4.2 kg; VO(2)max 72.8 +/- 3.7 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) gave written consent to participate in this study. The subjects performed an incremental treadmill test for the assessment of RE, lactate threshold and VO(2)max, and the sit-and-reach test was used to assess their general lower body and trunk flexibility. Running speeds below the lactate threshold were used to explore the relationship between running economy and sit-and-reach test performance. At 16.0 km x h(-1), the VO(2) was 50.6 +/- 3.7 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1) (range: 44.2 to 57.1 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)). Pearson product moment correlation coefficients revealed no significant relationships between aerobic demand at 16.0 km x h(-1) and age (r = - 0.19), height (r = 0.15), body mass (r = - 0.18), or VO(2)max (r = - 0.004). However, there was a highly significant relationship between aerobic demand at 16.0 km x h(-1) and the sit-and-reach test score (r = 0.68; p < 0.0001). These results suggest that the least flexible runners are also the most economical. It is possible that stiffer musculotendinous structures reduce the aerobic demand of submaximal running by facilitating a greater elastic energy return during the shortening phase of the stretch-shortening cycle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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