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.

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Train less and be better

In a recent scientific study just published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that doing 30-second ‘sprints’ of exercise – whether jogging, cycling or swimming – boosted fitness levels quicker than exercising at the same pace continuously.

Lead by Human Kinetics’ author Jens Bangsbo, they demonstrated that reducing the volume of training by 25% and introducing the so-called speed endurance training (6 to 12 thirty second sprint runs 3 or 4 times a week), endurance trained runners can improve not only short-term but also long-term performance.

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100 metre sprint world record could go as low as 9.48 seconds – but probably no lower

2008 was a great year for sports fans, with highlights including Usain Bolt shattering both the 100m and 200m world records at the Beijing Olympics and knocking tenths of a second off each in the process. The fact is that athletes have been getting faster and faster since times have been accurately recorded, but is there an upper limit to how fast athletes can run?

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