Biomechanical factors affecting energy cost during running utilising different slopes

Keitaro Seki, Heikki Kyröläinen, Kanami Sugimoto, Yasushi Enomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to examine the characteristics of electromyography (EMG) and kinematics of the supporting leg affecting energy cost while running at incline, level, and decline slopes. Twelve male Japanese middle- and long-distance runners volunteered for this study. The subjects were asked to run at 13.5 km·h−1 on a treadmill under three slope conditions. Sagittal plane kinematics and the EMG of the lower limb muscles, respiratory gases were recorded. Energy cost differed significantly between slopes, being the lowest in decline slope and the greatest in incline slope. Integrated EMG (iEMG) of leg extensor muscles was greater in the incline slope than in the decline slope, and iEMG of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles correlated positively with energy cost. The knee and ankle joint kinematics were associated with energy cost during running. In incline slope, the knee and ankle joints were more extended (plantarflexed) to lift the body. These movements may disturb the coordination between the ankle and knee joints. The gastrocnemius muscle would do greater mechanical work to plantarflex the ankle joint rather than transfer mechanical energy as well as greater mechanical work of mono-articular muscles. These muscular activities would increase energy cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • EMG
  • Running economy
  • inclination
  • kinematics


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