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Why don't humans gallop when they run?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by NewsBot, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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    Biomechanics of human bipedal gallop: asymmetry dictates leg functions.
    Fiers P, De Clercq D, Segers V, Aerts P.
    J Exp Biol. 2012 Dec 13.
  2. The only way a human could gallop would be if they locomoted on the feet and hands. The term "gallop" is a term reserved for quadripeds, not bipeds.

    That is why humans could never "gallop" when they run.

    The article would have been better titled: Biomechanics of assmetrical running gait patterns in humans.

  3. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Yes Kevin, I was left scratching my head also (that is if you were scratching yours) :confused:.

    Some of the research topics these days is nearly beyond belief.

    Come to think of it, I did remember a Monty Python scene where humans did seem to be galloping... :rolleyes:

    I think this was it...

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  4. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    No that is definentely a canter ;)

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  5. One of the courses that I took at the age of 20 in my undergraduate studies in Animal Physiology at the University of California at Davis (before I entered podiatry school in 1979) was titled "Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy" taught by Milton Hildebrand, PhD who I was very fortunate to have as an instructor for two courses. Dr. Hildebrand was one of the professors at UC Davis who was teaching from his own book for their course. For his Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy course he taught from his book Analysis of Vertebrate Structure published in 1974. I still periodically pull my copy of Analysis of Vertebrate Structure from my library shelf for reference.

    In Hildebrand's book (illustrated very nicely by Hildebrand and his wife), there is a whole chapter devoted to methods of running and jumping locomotion in all forms of vertebrates.

    Here are some of the symmetrical gait patterns of tetrapods he lists:

    moderate walking pace
    moderate walking lateral sequence singlefoot
    moderate running lateral sequence singlefoot
    fast running trot
    moderate diagonal sequence walk
    fast running diagonal sequence singlefoot

    and some of the asymmetrical gaits of quadripedal mammals:

    moderate and fast gallop

    He also discusses the saltators and bipedal cursor vertebrates that are jumping animals such as the frog, rat kangaroo, rabbit, kangaroo, jerboa, and wallaby.

    This is a fascinating subject. By studying the complexities of the wide range of animal gait patterns, one can better appreciate the complexity of human bipedal gait patterns.

    In other words, the bipedal human can not gallop.

    For those interested in more information, here is an article on limb compliance in mammals by the father of the Harvard Tuned Track, Tom McMahon (McMahon TA: The role of compliance in mammalian running gaits. J.Exp. Biol. 115:263-282, 1985).
  6. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

  7. musmed

    musmed Active Member

    Dear all
    After viewing your article of the ancient Aussie men running at 45Km/hr, who was their steroid chemist and why was it not passed down.
    Mr. Bolt may be doing 60Km/Hr by now

    wet and miserable
    no summer yet again in NSW OZ
    Regards and a Merry santa to sll
    Paul Conneely

  8. Human tendons also store energy to increase energy efficiency. Do yo, uSicknote, just make up everything you say here on Podiatry Arena? I sometimes think so.:boxing::bang::butcher:
  9. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member


    Kevin has already said it, 2 legs can't gallop the definition of gallop only applies to a certain time beat of 4 legged gait. Its like saying can you dance the salsa to a 5 beat rythm, No Its an 8 beat dance, if you do the same moves to a different beat then its not the same dance. Or it would be as nonsensical as saying can a bicycle have better traction with 4 wheel drive.

    Regards Dave
  10. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    How do you know Bolt's not on steroids already?.

    The guys as big as a house.

    Ahhh but...


    ^ That is what I'm trying to get at. Our tendons are much stiffer?, less stretch/recoil. Yes/No?.

    Animal Olympians: Triple Jump.

  11. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    I came across this... & thought it deserved to shared ;)... to help work on our "horse gait"...

    ... "so let's stop talkin' & do some walkin'"...

    There is even an official website (yes I've done some research & gone beyond YouTube)... Prancercise® A Fitness Revolution!

    She doesn't look to be a spring chicken... but she does look fit & slim. Hence, there maybe something in it :rolleyes: .

    Here's where you can sign up... sign up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  12. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    Possibly joined up cartwheels is the nearest a human can get to galloping, at least in terms of the limb ground contact.

    Search for most cartwheels in a row. (I tried to copy the URL but without success).

    Apart from the slightest difference in body motion it looks identical to a horse galloping, no?

  13. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    The pattern of limb contact with the ground makes the cartwheel a form of gallop only if gallop is defined by beat and patterns of rear limb fore limb contact. The body position needs to be defined as part of the definition of gallop. Unfortunately the rotating body movement, inherent in cartwheels, also causes problems of defining rear limb and forelimb and to a certain extent left and right.

    Conventional orientation of the body is literally thrown on its head to such an extent that, in a cartwheel, the limb making contact with the ground is, due to body rotation, always a front limb and given the side on nature of cartwheels it becomes difficult to differentiate between left and right.

    Still I would like to see professionals, eg gymnasts or circus performers, in a 100m cartwheel race.

    If a gallop is the fastest form of motion for horses, etc, perhaps the modified gallop/cartwheel has the potential to be the fastest form of unassisted horizontal motion for man?

    No matter. I think that the fastest 100m cartwheel would at least make an interesting entry in the "Guiness Book of Records".

    Given that the factors limiting the horizontal velocity would be the the effective diameter of the cartwheel and the rate of rotation, would that mean that potentially the cartwheeler could blackout from the centrifugal force or does the head alternate between being at the centre of rotation and then on the circumference of the rotation?

    Ready, steady, roll em.

  14. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Am I the only one here who wants to see a Pantomime horse gallop?

    I really do.
  15. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Having watched about 3 seconds of the vid I easily identified the reason it didn't catch on:D.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  16. wdd

    wdd Well-Known Member

    It's actually easier than you think.

    My wife and I practised it for ten minutes yesterday and 'though we weren't ready for the Derby it was certainly a pantomime.

    It's best to do the initial practise seperately.

    The first thing to do is perfect the foot position which is maintained throughout the gallop. The person in front puts one foot forward and one behind puts the other foot forward.

    The next thing to practice, individually is moving forward keeping the same foot in front. A kind of one two jump forward, one, two jump forward for the person who is going to be at the front and three four for the person who is going to be at the rear.

    Next step is to get together. If you have selected a sound reflecting surface you each will be able to hear the foot strike of the other (unless you are making so much noise laughing). If the surface is not sound reflecting the person in the rear presses the person in front with each hand alternately as their feet hit the ground. If that doesn't work count out loud.

    The foot steps take two of the four beats and and the jump forward takes the other two.

    Moving in a coordinated syncopated way sounds like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time but it rapidly transforms into a duo or a drummer using left and right hands rhythmicallly.

    Perfection comes when you recognise that the one, two, three, four aren't necessarily even, although the time for beats one and two and three and four must occupy the same time. It's useful if the person in the rear keeps remembering that they can't occupy the same space as the person in front at the same time without unfortunate consequences.

    It will probably take a bit more than ten minutes of practise before you are ready to buy the suit.

  17. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran


    I'm seriously impressed!
  18. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    "3 seconds" :eek: You need to watch the whole 5 min. (I felt compelled to do so)... if not just for the nifty music!... besides her moves are somewhat hypnotic :wacko:... great foot work; she is a forefoot/midfoot striker - which should now close the case on heel striking :D.

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