Skinny Runner Wins 100 Meter Final

Now that the steroid era is winding down, we are starting to see skill replace bulk in sprinters.

The latest example is skinny little Muna Lee, who, at 5’7” and all of 109 lbs., beat her beefed-up rivals at the 100 meter final at the Olympic Trials in Eugene.

Muna won because she had a much bigger Stride Angle.

The Stride Angle is the maximum opening between the front and trailing legs. It usually occurs at toe-off.

Here are Muna’s Stride Angles on the left and right sides compared to one of her slower, bulkier rivals.

Needless to say, Muna is the one in the lead with the 125° Stride Angle. We haven’t seen a Stride Angle this big since the pre-steroid era. The reason is that lifting weights tears the tens-of-thousands of tiny individual fibers that make up each muscle. As the fibers tear, they also form scar tissue within the muscles.

Trainers, of course, do not tell you that you get stronger by tearing and repairing your muscles. To do so, might not make their professional help so appealing.

But weights do tear muscles, as is well-documented in scientific studies.

This tearing is why steroids help athletes build bigger muscles. Steroids speed up the repair process, so that you can tear and repair more often.

Microfibers

But the downside is that scar tissue not only forms within the muscles, but also in the connective tissue surrounding the muscles. These connective tissue fibers, called microfibers, are what make athletes stiffer from lifting weights. They cannot be released by stretching.

An additional problem is that these microfibers accumulate over time, making the athlete stiffer with age. This is why athlete careers used to be longer than they are now. As you stiffen up from lifting weights, your strength advantage disappears because you cannot cover as much ground with each stride.

Normally, the connective tissue membranes (white) between the muscles (red) are smooth. They allow the muscles to slide past each other, which they have to do in order to stretch.

But when you have even a mild injury (falls on court), overuse (lifting weights, running) or stress , microfibers form as part of the healing process to immobilize the area. Microfibers are nature’s internal cast.

Unfortunately, once the area has healed, the microfibers not only do not go away, they tend to accumulate over time, making athletes stiffer with age.

Thinner, More Flexible and Faster

Muna is covering more ground with each stride she takes. Our studies show that for each degree you increase your Stride Angle, you increase your stride length by 2%. Going farther with each stride means you pass the finish line before your rivals.

Here is a close-up of Muna at the finish line. Her lack of muscle bulk should be enough to convince anyone that you don’t win the 100m final with your muscles—you win it with connective tissue that is free of restricting microfibers.

 
Muna Lee #3--but #1 across the finish line

Hopefully Muna’s win will encourage young girls to become flexible and fast, rather than bulky and slow.