It’s science

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Best part of my day:

My goal for the standing broad jump has been 10 feet, but I’ve been hovering right around 9’8”-9’9”. Well today I added about 3 inches to my broad jump just by changing my angle of trajectory. It didn’t feel like I was jumping as far, but I was actually jumping further. It happened by accident at first, but then I started imagining a small hurdle in the middle of my jump that I try to get my feet over. Now I think I’ll be able to make my goal of 10 ft. Good stuff.

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What I’m thankful for today: the knowledge and experience to cut through all the BS in the world and decide things for myself

I’m a skeptic, and a pretty strong one. I don’t know if I was born that way, if it’s a result of the events of my life, or if it’s the analytical mindset that comes from an engineering education, but I’ve noticed it more the older I get. What makes me think of this today is that there’s a lot of training and technique advice that doesn’t make sense. I’m thankful that I’m able to apply what I’ve learned and decipher what’s true and false, but it’s still upsetting when something can be so widely accepted without much scientific basis.

Case in point: 40 yard dash starting stance

So many sources say that you should get your feet as close to the starting line as possible. You’ll hear phrases like “steal every inch” or “starting closer to the finish line”. Even though these people usually know a lot about exercise, they clearly don’t understand physics, and that’s where their theories go wrong. Moving faster in any direction isn’t about moving your feet—it’s about moving your center of mass. For example:

This is a stance that many of these experts would recommend (it was even labeled “proper start”).

As you can see, his feet are almost directly underneath his center of mass. This means that when he pushes off, almost all of the force will go straight down—propelling his body UP, not out.

 

 Now here’s an example of what I think is a better stance. As you can see, the runner’s feet are much further back, and at first glance this might appear like he’s disadvantaging himself. But notice that his center of mass hasn’t moved much. More importantly, the point of contact with the ground is further behind the center of mass. This means that when the runner pushes off, it will propel his body OUT, not up.

Moral of the story: apply your knowledge instead of believing everything you hear.

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~ by izikoosumohdum on March 31, 2011.

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