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What Runners Can Learn From Cheetahs -

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Dr. Wilson is now collecting data on wild cheetahs, but even in the zoo-bred animals, there were hints of their capabilities. When the cheetahs “felt like it,” Dr. Wilson says, their leg turnover rate spurted and their pace dramatically increased. They began bringing their legs around faster and faster, their strides lengthening, even as the frequency of their strides increased.

The greyhounds, on the other hand, maintained a fairly even stride frequency throughout their entire run.

The cheetahs also hit the force plates differently from the greyhounds, their paws remaining on the ground slightly longer — an action that presumably allows the legs to absorb more of the forces generated by the pounding stride.


“By having his foot on the ground for longer, Bolt is able to apply this force over a longer, optimal time frame.

“Cheetahs do a similar thing with gait mechanics that prolong periods of ground force by increasing ground contact time.

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