Int J Sports Med 2002; 23(1): 40-43
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-19271
Training and Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Running Economy is Negatively Related to Sit-and-Reach Test Performance in International-Standard Distance Runners

A.  M.  Jones1
  • 1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

May 8, 2001

Publication Date:
20 December 2001 (online)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between running economy (RE) and lower body flexibility. Thirty-four international-standard male distance runners (mean ± s, age 27 ± 5 years; body mass 64.9 ± 4.2 kg; V˙O2max 72.8 ± 3.7 ml × kg-1 × min-1) gave written consent to participate in this study. The subjects performed an incremental treadmill test for the assessment of RE, lactate threshold and V˙O2max, and the sit-and-reach test was used to assess their general lower body and trunk flexibility. Running speeds below the lactate threshold were used to explore the relationship between running economy and sit-and-reach test performance. At 16.0 km × h-1, the V˙O2 was 50.6 ± 3.7 ml × kg-1 × min-1 (range: 44.2 to 57.1 ml × kg-1 × min-1). Pearson product moment correlation coefficients revealed no significant relationships between aerobic demand at 16.0 km × h-1 and age (r = - 0.19), height (r = 0.15), body mass (r = - 0.18), or V˙O2max (r = - 0.004). However, there was a highly significant relationship between aerobic demand at 16.0 km × h-1 and the sit-and-reach test score (r = 0.68; p < 0.0001). These results suggest that the least flexible runners are also the most economical. It is possible that stiffer musculotendinous structures reduce the aerobic demand of submaximal running by facilitating a greater elastic energy return during the shortening phase of the stretch-shortening cycle.


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Dr. A. Jones

Department of Exercise and Sport Science · Manchester Metropolitan University ·

Hassall Road · Alsager ST7 2HL · United Kingdom ·

Phone: +44 (61) 247 5656

Fax: +44 (61) 247 6375