T Nation

Help Me Win This Argument

ok at work( a personal training/Physcial Therpay facality) we’re having this argument about what is the most important muscle for sprinters and all out speed. I said “hamstring” but a majority of others are saying “psoas” or glutes

So help me win the argument as to why hammies are the most important muscle

Hey! I’m more than happy to help you since i think you are right!

To quote my coach on this:

Starting Strength = Start

Quad and Gluteal Push Strength + Power to BW ratio = Accel

Pure Reactive and Rear Chain Strength = Top Speed

Yes, psoas muscles help in upper the leg fast but they are not often the limiting factor, in this view hams may be the most important muscle to reach top speed.

Keep fighting

anyone else?

Well, the hams are known to have the highest percentage of fst twitch fibers. The quads have the greatest force producing capabilities when the hip is at 80-110 degrees of flexion and at top speed in sprinting, the knees drops primarily due to gravity. The hamstrings are highly tendonous for a reason, speed.

Also, quite clearly the strength discrepancy between a sprinter and everyone else is by far the greatest in the hams. I have heard of sprinters being able to leg curl over 240 pounds with say a 400 pound squat, while I’ve known 400 pound squatters who couldn’t leg curl 100.


Much research has shown that it sprinting speed can be greatly reduced by hamstring tightness. So that also could be a factor in your arguement. Consider that when a muscle is too tight the actin/myosin is not lined up in the most “effective” manner thus reducing the overall strength of the contraction. Also, tight hamstrings severely limit stridge, more so then an equally tight quad (which rarely occurs). ALSO, consider that most runners have hamstring tightness issues thus implying that hamstrings are emphasized more in training/races (Athletic Training experience).