Fitness & Health, Sport & Exercise Science

Have the limits of human performance in the 100 metres been reached?

Usain_Bolt_Olympics_cropped Human upper performance limits in the 100 metre sprint remain the subject of much debate.

The aim of a new commentary, published in the March 2015 issue of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance (IJSPP), is to highlight the vulnerabilities of prognoses from historical trends by shedding light on the mechanical and physiological limitations associated with human sprint performance.

The 100-m sprint is one of the most prestigious events in athletics and current world records for men and women are held by Usain Bolt and Florence Griffith Joyner, with 9.58 and 10.49 seconds, respectively.

As world-record performances advance, the limits to human performance remain the subject of much debate.

During the last 2 decades, numerous authors have analysed historical trends to predict the future, with diverging conclusions.

For the purposes of this invited commentary, historical-trend analyses provide a starting point to integrate 3 important aspects that should inform the prediction of human upper limits in sprint:

• the methodology of historical performance analysis,

• the biomechanical limitations associated with human performance, and

• the physiological limitations associated with human performance.

Have the limits of human performance in the 100-m sprint already been reached?

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