One of the best runners know that symmetry issues. Whenever you apply pressure equally on the left and proper sides of your physique, you change into a extra environment friendly—and sooner—runner. Extra importantly, you’re much less susceptible to damage.
Floor Contact Time (GCT) Steadiness is a metric that may assist enhance your operating symmetry.
On this article, rise up to hurry on floor contact time steadiness and see our 5 suggestions for enhancing operating symmetry.
What’s floor contact time?
To know floor contact time steadiness, let’s begin with floor contact time, or GCT for brief. That is the size of time your foot is in touch with the bottom when operating. For many runners, a GCT between 200 and 300 milliseconds is regular. Elite distance runners are able to sub-200ms floor contact instances.
The bottom contact portion of your operating gait is also called the stance section. The stance section begins with the preliminary foot strike, continues by means of the ‘load bearing’ midstance, and ends with toe-off.
Why does floor contact time matter?
Operating pace depends on the power to use pressure by means of the bottom rapidly. The sooner you possibly can apply pressure by means of the bottom, the faster you may be propelled ahead.
Scientists have studied the hyperlink between floor contact time and operating pace for many years. However till lately, GCT was an inaccessible metric reserved for biomechanists in a laboratory.
Biofeedback and wearable expertise
Wearable fitness devices have revolutionzed health coaching and the way we monitor our efficiency. Trackers and accelerometers now supply correct, real-time biofeedback for runners all over the place.They usually work.
A 2020 research was the primary to evaluation the consequences of wearable gadget biofeedback on operating biomechanics.  The outcomes had been optimistic. Seeing GCT biofeedback decreased runners’ vertical displacement (bouncing) and operating time and elevated knee flexion–key components for efficiency and damage prevention.
That brings us to the following evolution in biofeedback: GCT steadiness.
What’s floor contact time steadiness?
Floor contact time steadiness is the measure of how comparable your left and proper leg floor contact instances are. GCT steadiness is often displayed as a share break up. A 50/50 break up is the theoretical optimum and signifies an equal GCT for each legs. In actuality, GCT steadiness isn’t 50/50. Something between 49% and 51% is taken into account pretty symmetrical. Nonetheless, in case your GCT steadiness is past 49/51 (an imbalance of greater than 2%) the asymmetry could have an effect on your efficiency and put you vulnerable to damage.
Floor contact time steadiness is the measure of how comparable your left and proper leg floor contact instances are.
GCT steadiness is often displayed as a share break up. A 50/50 break up is the theoretical optimum and signifies an equal GCT for each legs.
In actuality, GCT steadiness isn’t 50/50. Something between 49% and 51% is taken into account pretty symmetrical. Nonetheless, in case your GCT steadiness is past 49/51 (an imbalance of greater than 2%) the asymmetry could have an effect on your efficiency and put you vulnerable to damage.
Why does floor contact time steadiness matter?
GCT steadiness issues as a result of symmetry issues. Elite athletes show excessive ranges of symmetry, and the quickest runners are essentially the most symmetrical. 
Asymmetry, then again, is metabolically and biomechanically inefficient. It is because one facet of your physique is working more durable to compensate for the opposite.
For environment friendly ahead movement, front-to-back (sagittal) motion is simplest. When an imbalance exists, vitality is wasted shifting your physique within the frontal airplane (suppose hip adduction) or transverse airplane (suppose trunk rotation) to counter the asymmetry.
For instance, if one leg is weaker or much less versatile, we are likely to compensate with extreme arm swing or trunk rotation.
What the science says about GCT steadiness
The Worldwide Journal of Train Science revealed analysis final 12 months on the affect of GCT imbalance on operating financial system. 
Remarkably, the research confirmed that for every 1% imbalance in GCT, operating financial system was decreased by nearly 4%.
To place that in perspective, for a GCT steadiness of 49/51 (the place one leg is in touch with the bottom simply 2% longer than the opposite), the vitality required to run on the similar pace is 7.4% larger.
For a 70kg runner at 15km/hr, this might improve oxygen consumption by ~4ml.kg.min. That’s an enormous chunk of your V̇O2 max.
The science is unclear concerning the extent to which asymmetry causes damage.  Anecdotally, nonetheless, any weak point on one facet is prone to put additional pressure on different muscular tissues and joints, placing you vulnerable to additional damage. 
In brief, balancing the time you spend on every foot issues for stopping damage and enhancing financial system and efficiency.
Listed below are 5 Suggestions for enhancing operating symmetry and floor contact time steadiness
1. Establish the asymmetry
Use the GCT steadiness metric to determine which leg is slower. The leg with the upper GCT steadiness share (>50) is spending extra time in touch with the bottom. The slower leg is the one to work on.
Take a look at the asymmetry by performing a stretch or train on every leg. It will assist you to determine variations in power, steadiness and suppleness.
- How lengthy are you able to stand on every leg along with your eyes closed?
- Does your knee flip in on one facet throughout a lunge?
- How far does every leg attain when mendacity in your again and stretching your hamstring?
2. Deal with previous accidents
In lots of circumstances, asymmetries stem from previous accidents. The ache or weak point of 1 injured physique half can result in overcompensation in others. Asymmetry turns into a vicious cycle of overcompensation, inflicting additional weak point on the injured facet attributable to underuse.
Use GCT steadiness biofeedback to right asymmetry when recovering from damage, or to retrain after adaptation to previous accidents.
3. Strengthen muscle
To enhance operating symmetry and overcome imbalances in floor contact time, deal with creating muscular power and energy.
Single leg (unilateral) exercises like lunges and calf raises are efficient at creating your weaker leg and forestall the dominant leg from taking up.
4. Optimise flexibility and stiffness
Inflexibility attributable to damage (from scar tissue for instance) will increase the probability of asymmetry. Embody flexibility coaching in your schedule to beat damage associated tightness.
Your vary of movement must be particular to your exercise. You don’t want a gymnast’s flexibility to run lengthy distances. Actually, a sure diploma of ‘tightness’ could even improve efficiency. 
A latest research confirmed that runners naturally adapt leg stiffness and floor contact time to optimise operating financial system.  A stiffer leg spring will return extra vitality after compression.
Incorporate single leg plyometric workouts into your programme to boost leg spring stiffness and shorten floor contact time.
5. Range terrain
Operating over monotonous terrain can exacerbate asymmetry. Attempt running over rough ground and a wide range of gradients to boost proprioception, steadiness and power.