Walking and Running mechanical analysis:Meaning and its phases

Walking and Running is the most common activity in our day-to-day life. Walking and Running mechanical analysis will help us to walk and run properly; moreover, it helps us to reduce injuries. It also helps us to make our walking and running movement efficient without causing much stress on other parts of body. There are many reasons why people start walking and running. Walking and Running Mechanical analysis helps to keep the heart in a healthy state, improves mood, relieves stress, fresh our mind, build strength etc.

Walking and Running mechanical analysis


Walking is rolling down from heel to toe action. The first phase is heel strikes the Walking and Running mechanical analysis ground followed by the transfer of weight and balance making. Afterwards the heels is rolled forward and push is given by toe and swing comes after.During walking the head should be straight without tension in shoulder. In the torso region the abdomen muscles should be slightly tightened. Loose abdomen muscles cause back pain. The arm swings helps to gain speed in walking. The smooth and non-jerky arm should be followed in walking. The fist should not be made as it increases the tension in arm muscles. To maintain best balance arms should not be raised above the breastbone (sternum bone).

Mechanical analysis of Walking:

Walking and Running mechanical analysis

  • Hold your head high.
  • Move shoulders naturally, freely.
  • Focus your eyes 15 feet to 20 feet in front of you.
  • Keep your chin parallel to ground.
  • Gently tighten stomach muscles.
  • Tuck your pelvis under your torso.
  • Position your feet parallel to each other, if comfortable and a shoulder width apart.
  • Swing your arms in a natural motion while walking briskly.

Proper walking depends upon the good coordination of heel and toe action. The heel should gently hit the ground first then gently rolled towards the front foot toe. The force or thrust is provided by calf muscles  (Gastrocnemius muscle) is horizontal direction. The shoes sole must be thick enough to absorb the shock, and it should be flexible enough to move through the rolling foot motion.


Running is a toe action movement. For running the focus is on the three major producing actions- Push off, Knee-drive and Paw-back. These three phases are done in a sequential manner to provide efficient running action.

PUSH OFF: “Push off” is the primary toe action movement needed to supply the driving force in forward direction. The force comes from the powerful contraction of calf muscles by extension of ankle joint. The slight flexion of knee joint provides horizontal force instead of vertical force. Body is also bent forward.

KNEE DRIVE: ‘Knee-drive’ is coordination and knee joint with push off. It provides additional forward momentum. In knee-drive, the thigh is driven forward from position behind the body to the front of body. The knee is raised high to generate maximum force by the contraction of hip flexor muscles. Higher knee-drive causes longer strides and uses less energy.

Walking and Running mechanical analysis

PAW BACK: In this action the leg is straightend and brought backward and downward action to make contact with the ground.

Mechanical analysis of Running:


■ Driving one knee forward and opposite elbow back. Keep back straight.

■ Imagine stepping over a log. The faster your pace, the bigger the log.

■ Ankle should never extend in front of the knee.

■ Knee drive comes from hips and glutes; the rest of the leg hangs relaxed.

■ Position foot for gliding approach. Farefoot will strike ground first.

■ Heel touches down gently after forefoot. As soon as foot touches down, begin cycle with opposite leg.

Walking and Running mechanical analysis

The opposite hands are alternately swinged up and down with half flexion. Hands remain in relaxed position during this movement. It also provides sideward Balance; moreover, provides direction during running.

Walking and Running mechanical analysis


The basic difference between walking and running is loss of contact with the ground in running; while in walking the contact with the ground is maintained. During running the feet contacts the ground is minimal in floating phase (push off). The other difference is that during running the ‘propulsive force’ is greater as compared to walking; moreover, the knees are bent during running.

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