Question about 100-metre sprint (too complex to fit here as question)

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Herman Melville

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The world record for the 100-metre sprint has been broken several times. However, this can't be broken indefinitely. For example, it will never be possible to run it in one second, or two seconds. Therefore, there must be an absolute limit that cannot be beaten, but what defines that limit?

Any thoughts on this?

Does this rule apply to any other human endeavours?


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Offline neilep

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I'm no expert (lol..I don't think i needed to actually announce that )...the limitations I would guess are bio-mechanical.  Oxygenation to the blood, physical movement of the muscles.......but...you know ?......I actually wonder if maybe one day humans may be able to run the hundred metres in a couple of seconds.

The future for humanity lays within the realms of genetics and/or cyber implants. It's vital for our survival. However, I am sure that without these additions ....that new methodologies to train and with advancements in dietry mechanics that by these developments in these fields I would expect humans to be able to run the 100 meters inside 5 seconds one day.
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Offline Karsten

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And there are other limits:

1) Running surface
2) Shoe design
3) Rule changes
4) New medications (illegal or legal - depending on 3)
5) Genetic engineering
6) Improved aerodynamics (smaller heads? special clothing)

I would love to see someone running the 100m with the help of STRONG back winds! Illegal I know. Must feel great though and look spectacular.
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Offline Chemistry4me

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Maybe if they took lots of steriods they can do it in 9 seconds.

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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I dunno neilep, athletes are already squeezing every last bit they can from training methods and nutrition etc. and to double your speed is a hell of a lot to expect, i reckon you'd need definitely need a cyber implant or two to reach those speeds

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Carl Lewis ran 9.86 s in 1991, and considering that the time has only gone down 0.17 seconds in 18 years. It'll be another 500 years before humans will be able to run sub 5 second 100m dashes (if they will be able to at all that is)

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Offline Bored chemist

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Imagine that there is some absolute limit, say 8 seconds.
The measurement of the 8 seconds will always be subject to some error. From time to time the error will be big enough to make it look like 7.9 seconds. Rather more rarely it will look like 7.8 sec. Very rarely indeed it wil look like 7.7 sec and so on.
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Offline neilep

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Well, I just did the 100 metres in 5 seconds so there !









erhmm...I was driving !...does that count ?
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Offline LeeE

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Specific people will have specific absolute limits at specific times; this is just down to the maximum power and stresses their muscles can generate and their skeleton cope with befoire they break themselves.  Improve the skeleton and muscles though, and the limit is raised, so there's no absolute limit for humans in general.

I'm with Neilp's initial answer.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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lyner

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There is the small matter of timing precision. Another decimal place will allow 'visible' improvements - quite illusionary - but good for keeping an interest in the sport.

A time may come when the personal costs for athletes to 'improve' their performances will be recognised as work related injuries and they will stop 'doing' records. The silly eating-related records have mostly disappeared from the Guinness  Book of records for the same reason.

Motor racing is a good example of a sport in which SAFETY looms large and the design criteria and rules have made 'records' irrelevant.  It's still good to watch, though.

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Imagine that there is some absolute limit, say 8 seconds.
The measurement of the 8 seconds will always be subject to some error. From time to time the error will be big enough to make it look like 7.9 seconds. Rather more rarely it will look like 7.8 sec. Very rarely indeed it wil look like 7.7 sec and so on.
I don't think it'll be off by that much, maybe more like 7.98 s, more rarely 7.94 and very rarely 7.90 s.

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Specific people will have specific absolute limits at specific times; this is just down to the maximum power and stresses their muscles can generate and their skeleton cope with befoire they break themselves.  Improve the skeleton and muscles though, and the limit is raised, so there's no absolute limit for humans in general.

I'm with Neilp's initial answer.

You don't think there's some physiological limit to the speed at which a muscle can possibly contract, even with all the right conditions?

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Aren't we all forgetting air resistance here? [;D]

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Indeed, as you double speed you quadruple resistance

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Offline Bored chemist

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Imagine that there is some absolute limit, say 8 seconds.
The measurement of the 8 seconds will always be subject to some error. From time to time the error will be big enough to make it look like 7.9 seconds. Rather more rarely it will look like 7.8 sec. Very rarely indeed it wil look like 7.7 sec and so on.
I don't think it'll be off by that much, maybe more like 7.98 s, more rarely 7.94 and very rarely 7.90 s.

I didn't say how rarely ;-)
the numbers were made up, but the idea is still valid.
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lyner

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They don't have 'records' in horse racing. That, I believe, is because they have been working on artificial selection for so long and the winning depends more on varying conditions than on differences the horses' physiques.
Could we really envisage breeding human sprinters? I would want not to be here.

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Offline LeeE

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Specific people will have specific absolute limits at specific times; this is just down to the maximum power and stresses their muscles can generate and their skeleton cope with befoire they break themselves.  Improve the skeleton and muscles though, and the limit is raised, so there's no absolute limit for humans in general.

I'm with Neilp's initial answer.

You don't think there's some physiological limit to the speed at which a muscle can possibly contract, even with all the right conditions?

Hmm... not until you get to really silly limits.  Humans struggle to get 4 steps/second when running but some humming-birds can flap their wings up to 90 times per second, so I think muscles could go quite some way further yet, before hitting general muscle related limits.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline turnipsock

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I was quite impressed that Usain Bolt's record was on Wikipedia before he even completed his victory lap.
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Offline Karsten

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Aren't we all forgetting air resistance here? [;D]

Like I suggested: Smaller heads. Big enough to attach a medal but much smaller than the current versions to reduce air resistance.
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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Specific people will have specific absolute limits at specific times; this is just down to the maximum power and stresses their muscles can generate and their skeleton cope with befoire they break themselves.  Improve the skeleton and muscles though, and the limit is raised, so there's no absolute limit for humans in general.

I'm with Neilp's initial answer.

You don't think there's some physiological limit to the speed at which a muscle can possibly contract, even with all the right conditions?

Hmm... not until you get to really silly limits.  Humans struggle to get 4 steps/second when running but some humming-birds can flap their wings up to 90 times per second, so I think muscles could go quite some way further yet, before hitting general muscle related limits.

But that's a very different animal, they probably have a much higher percentage of their weight in muscles dedicated just to flying, their respiratory system is probably optimised for delivering blood to wing muscles, they don't need as much oxygen for their brain, and they're only flapping through air, they're not hurling 70 odd kg of mass forwards. Basically they are built for it, but humans are not as specialised.

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Offline LeeE

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Specific people will have specific absolute limits at specific times; this is just down to the maximum power and stresses their muscles can generate and their skeleton cope with befoire they break themselves.  Improve the skeleton and muscles though, and the limit is raised, so there's no absolute limit for humans in general.

I'm with Neilp's initial answer.

You don't think there's some physiological limit to the speed at which a muscle can possibly contract, even with all the right conditions?

Hmm... not until you get to really silly limits.  Humans struggle to get 4 steps/second when running but some humming-birds can flap their wings up to 90 times per second, so I think muscles could go quite some way further yet, before hitting general muscle related limits.

But that's a very different animal, they probably have a much higher percentage of their weight in muscles dedicated just to flying, their respiratory system is probably optimised for delivering blood to wing muscles, they don't need as much oxygen for their brain, and they're only flapping through air, they're not hurling 70 odd kg of mass forwards. Basically they are built for it, but humans are not as specialised.

Sure, it's a different animal, but you asked if there was a limit to the speed that muscles could contract, even with the right conditions.  I cited the hummingbird to show that any limit to the speed that muscles can contract would seem to be a lot higher than humans currently achieve and that the current limitations on human muscle speed do not seem to be due to any such intrinsic limit on muscle speed.

Regarding specialisation; it's something that really needs to be qualified and carefully defined before it can be used with validity.  It's arguable that human athletes already show a very high degree of specialisation; a good high-jumper does not make a very good shot-putter, for example.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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A human can specialise with training yes, but we haven't evolved to be specialised at running the way a hummingbird is at hovering, there's only so far training can get you and I don't think it'll get you to a 5 second 100m sprint without something a bit more than just training and diet

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Offline LeeE

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The difference between a good high-jumper and a good shot-putter isn't just down to training; they require significantly different body types.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline turnipsock

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you are born with fast twitch muscels...and that's it. You can tweak this with training...but if you are not born a sprinter you will never be one.

Usain Bolt, 9.77 tonight and he was slow out of the blocks so he will probably beat the world record again this year.

I'm starting to think the false start rule has something to do with this, Usain was expecting the usual one false start and didn't push hard...but when it didn't happen, he had lost time.
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When things are in 3D, is it always the same three dimensions?

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Offline Chemistry4me

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The man seems to have appeared out of no where. But is he legal?

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Offline Lethalwolf

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there are so many factors to allow a sprinter to go faster. Body type, muscle type, food/cal level, training to fine tune those muscles, the equipment; spikes and tracks. sprinter are specialised very young, by the time you are 15, it can pretty much determined what event you're going to excel at. I won't be surprised if one day human run the 100m within 8 sec but 5 is a longer stretch. running a 10 sec 100m equals average speed of 10m/s just think what can be done if eah generation slightly improves upon it.

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Offline Daerana

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I really don't want to sound racist or anything but has anyone noticed that most of the people who place in 100m sprint is from Kenya or somewhere like that?  They are generally taller and slimmer than most others.  That could possibly used as an example to look at.

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Offline meganjo

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yeah...
more your physic is athletic more will be speed of movement.....
provided your stamina matters a lot.
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