Sprinters are always looking for an improvement in their time, from the gun going off until the finish. An effective start can lead to reaching top velocity sooner and a decreased finish time. New developments in starting blocks, more specifically the width of the starting block pedal, has allowed for variation in foot placement in the blocks. With the ability to change how wide an athlete can place their feet in the blocks, this study looked at trying to find an optimum spacing for college level sprinters. Thirteen Male College Sprinters (mean age = 23.08 years) participated in this study. Subjects self selected their longitudinal block spacing with 3 different lateral positions being tested. In position 1, the feet were placed as narrow as was allowed by the starting block, simulating the width of a traditional set of blocks. Position 2 was defined by the hip width of the individual, distance between right ASIS to left ASIS. Position 3 was the preferred foot width of the subject as determined by completing a vertical jump. Measurements of peak force on the blocks at the time of the start as well as time to 10 m were taken. Neither peak force nor time to 10 m were different between conditions (p = .887, p = .135). The normal condition, position 1 (20cm), was measured to be the narrowest width with position 3 (mean = 37.6cm) being the widest in all subjects. The use of wider pedals on starting blocks is a fairly new idea in track and field, and is something that many athletes have not had the chance to practice with. Since the older style of starting blocks only allowed for a narrow stance that is what track athletes have become accustomed to and could possibly explain why there was no significant difference seen between the 3 starting positions. More research should be done after a time of adaptation to the new starting blocks by the athletes.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





starting blocks, peak force, time to 10 m, lateral foot width