One of the best runners know that symmetry issues. Whenever you apply power equally on the left and proper sides of your physique, you change into a extra environment friendlyand soonerrunner. Extra importantly, you’re much less vulnerable to harm.

Floor Contact Time (GCT) Stability is a metric that may assist enhance your working symmetry. 

On this article, stand up to hurry on floor contact time stability and see our 5 ideas for enhancing working symmetry. 

What’s floor contact time?

To know floor contact time stability, let’s begin with floor contact time, or GCT for brief. That is the size of time your foot is involved with the bottom when working. For many runners, a GCT between 200 and 300 milliseconds is regular. Elite distance runners are able to sub-200ms floor contact occasions.  

The bottom contact portion of your working gait is often known as the stance section. The stance section begins with the preliminary foot strike, continues by means of the ‘load bearing’ midstance, and ends with toe-off.  

Why does floor contact time matter?  

Operating velocity depends on the flexibility to use power by means of the bottom rapidly. The sooner you may apply power by means of the bottom, the faster you’ll be propelled ahead. 

Scientists have studied the hyperlink between floor contact time and working velocity for many years. However till lately, GCT was an inaccessible metric reserved for biomechanists in a laboratory. 

man working on running technique

Biofeedback and wearable know-how

Wearable health units have revolutionzed health coaching and the way we observe our efficiency.  Trackers and accelerometers now provide correct, real-time biofeedback for runners in all places.And so they work.

A 2020 examine was the primary to overview the results of wearable gadget biofeedback on working biomechanics.[1] The outcomes had been constructive. Seeing GCT biofeedback decreased runners’ vertical displacement (bouncing) and working time and elevated knee flexion–key elements for efficiency and harm prevention.  

That brings us to the subsequent evolution in biofeedback: GCT stability. 

What’s floor contact time stability?

Floor contact time stability is the measure of how related your left and proper leg floor contact occasions are. GCT stability is often displayed as a proportion cut up. A 50/50 cut up is the theoretical optimum and signifies an equal GCT for each legs. In actuality, GCT stability isn’t 50/50. Something between 49% and 51% is taken into account pretty symmetrical. Nonetheless, in case your GCT stability is past 49/51 (an imbalance of greater than 2%) the asymmetry might have an effect on your efficiency and put you prone to harm. 

Floor contact time stability is the measure of how related your left and proper leg floor contact occasions are. 

GCT stability is often displayed as a proportion cut up. A 50/50 cut up is the theoretical optimum and signifies an equal GCT for each legs.  

In actuality, GCT stability isn’t 50/50. Something between 49% and 51% is taken into account pretty symmetrical. Nonetheless, in case your GCT stability is past 49/51 (an imbalance of greater than 2%) the asymmetry might have an effect on your efficiency and put you prone to harm. 

Why does floor contact time stability matter?

Some health tracker options are little greater than gimmicks (e.g., oxygen saturation)[2][3]. So what makes GCT stability any completely different? 

GCT stability issues as a result of symmetry issues. Elite athletes show excessive ranges of symmetry, and the quickest runners are probably the most symmetrical. [4]

Asymmetry, then again, is metabolically and biomechanically inefficient. It is because one aspect of your physique is working more durable to compensate for the opposite.  

For environment friendly ahead movement, front-to-back (sagittal) motion is simplest. When an imbalance exists, power is wasted shifting your physique within the frontal airplane (suppose hip adduction) or transverse airplane (suppose trunk rotation) to counter the asymmetry.  

For instance, if one leg is weaker or much less versatile, we are inclined to compensate with extreme arm swing or trunk rotation.  

What the science says about GCT stability 

The Worldwide Journal of Train Science printed analysis final yr on the impression of GCT imbalance on working economic system. [5] 

Remarkably, the examine confirmed that for every 1% imbalance in GCT, working economic system was decreased by virtually 4%. 

To place that in perspective, for a GCT stability of 49/51 (the place one leg is involved with the bottom simply 2% longer than the opposite), the power required to run on the identical velocity is 7.4% better. 

For a 70kg runner at 15km/hr, this might enhance oxygen consumption by ~4ml.kg.min. That’s an enormous chunk of your V̇O2 max. 

The science is unclear concerning the extent to which asymmetry causes harm. [6] Anecdotally, nevertheless, any weak point on one aspect is more likely to put further pressure on different muscle tissue and joints, placing you prone to additional harm. [7]  

Briefly, balancing the time you spend on every foot issues for stopping harm and enhancing economic system and efficiency.  

Listed below are 5 Suggestions for enhancing working symmetry and floor contact time stability 

1. Establish the asymmetry 

Use the GCT stability metric to determine which leg is slower. The leg with the upper GCT stability proportion (>50) is spending extra time involved with the bottom. The slower leg is the one to work on.  

Take a look at the asymmetry by performing a stretch or train on every leg. This may aid you establish variations in power, stability and adaptability. 

  • How lengthy are you able to stand on every leg along with your eyes closed?   
  • Does your knee flip in on one aspect throughout a lunge?  
  • How far does every leg attain when mendacity in your again and stretching your hamstring? 

woman identifying her muscle asymmetry

2. Deal with outdated accidents 

In lots of instances, asymmetries stem from previous accidents. The ache or weak point of 1 injured physique half can result in overcompensation in others. Asymmetry turns into a vicious cycle of overcompensation, inflicting additional weak point on the injured aspect as a result of underuse.   

Use GCT stability biofeedback to appropriate asymmetry when recovering from harm, or to retrain after adaptation to outdated accidents.

3. Strengthen muscle

To enhance working symmetry and overcome imbalances in floor contact time, deal with growing muscular power and energy.  

Single leg (unilateral) workout routines like lunges and calf raises are efficient at growing your weaker leg and forestall the dominant leg from taking up. 

4. Optimise flexibility and stiffness

Inflexibility as a result of harm (from scar tissue for instance) will increase the probability of asymmetry. Embrace flexibility coaching in your schedule to beat harm associated tightness. 

Your vary of movement ought to be particular to your exercise. You don’t want a gymnast’s flexibility to run lengthy distances. In truth, a sure diploma of ‘tightness’ might even improve efficiency. [8]  

A current examine confirmed that runners naturally adapt leg stiffness and floor contact time to optimise working economic system. [9] A stiffer leg spring will return extra power after compression.  

Incorporate single leg plyometric workout routines into your programme to boost leg spring stiffness and shorten floor contact time. 

5. Differ terrain 

Operating over monotonous terrain can exacerbate asymmetry. Attempt running over tough floor and quite a lot of gradients to boost proprioception, stability and power. 

In the event you run on a observe, alternate between clockwise and anticlockwise laps to keep away from asymmetry as a result of leaning into the curve. [10][4]