I want to make a point, and I'm going to throw some numbers around to help with that. They all have some relevance and are based on fact or are one of many true possibilities to choose from. It's not meant to be nit picked. It's a bit of a theory that aims to give people something to think about. I'd love your thoughts, including other suggestions for the "numbers" in the comments below after you read the following.
My loose calculations say 2.94%.
Usain Bolt has the potential to be 2.94% percent more powerful and ultimately faster. At that rate his world record would go from 9.58 to 9.30.
Where is he going to find it that speed? What has he not tapped into yet? Can he be ANY better?
Take a closer look at the photo above. Two observations:
1) They do straight lines very well. They run in a straight line. They're maintaining powerful postural alignment for super stability as they churn their powerful shoulders and hips up and down propelling themselves forward. However each have at least 10 cruicial straight lines they aren't maintaining.
2) They're using every muscle fiber in their body to work in whatever way they can to provide either stability or strength during every perfectly coordinated instant to propel them to the finish line just meters ahead. Or are they?
Below is a photo of Usain's feet.
To confirm it's him, see here:
What an AMAZING specimen, but those FEET.
That is the untapped potential.
These are the straight lines I mentioned were missing. The green is potential surface area he's missing out on to push from EVERY SINGLE STEP.
Is he as fast as he has the potential to be? Relatively speaking: NO WAY.
Why he is still so fast? Because he is doing SO many other things right. He is a machine, mentally and physically.
Not using all of the feet does not paralyze the body. It simply does not allow you to MAXIMIZE the body's ultimate potential.
Although we're talking running in Usain's case, I am going to extrapolate from a study on walking...because in both movements toes articulate and function in the same way. They are designed to provide the stable base which allows the body to pivot up and over as it propels itself forward.
From a 1990 study entitled The Importance of Toes in Walking:
"The toes are in contact for about three-quarters of the walking cycle and exert pressures similar to those from the metatarsal heads (ball of the foot.) The toes play an important part in increasing the weight-bearing area [of the foot]. Every effort should be made to preserve their function."
EXERT PRESSURES SIMILAR TO THOSE
[AT THE BALL OF THE FOOT]"
A WIDER BASE
Hence, if functioning naturally Usain could potentially DOUBLE THE AREA OF THE BASE from which he pushes from every time. Both by lengthening and widening his toes AND when more of the muscles of the foot are utilized, widening his entire foot!
What if Michael Phelps' hands, with which he propels himself, were HALF the size? How about DOUBLE the size? With hundreths of a second at stake - IT MATTERS BIG TIME.
STRONGER, MORE CAPABLE MUSCLES, MORE STABLE JOINTS
Numerous muscles insert either directly on the toes or on tendons that insert on the toes. I count up to 25 in each foot, which equals 50 total. Each muscle has a job, including but not limited to either stabilizing, assisting or majorly moving a part of the body.
In theory then, of the body's 650-850 skeletal muscles, Usain is either not utilizing at all, or far from maximizing up to 50 of them. Include in there that major movers like the glutes would LOVE a wider, stronger base to move from, and who knows what kind of potential could be tapped into.
Let's be conservative and say there are 850 muscles in the body and that he still has some degree of function in his toes, perhaps 50%. 50% of those 50 muscles is 25. 25 is 2.94% of 850. If Usain is not maximizing the use of 2.94% of his muscles, those designed specifically to aid in locomotion, then is it possible he could be, in some crazy estimation, 2.94% faster?
Again, at that rate his world record could go from 9.58 to 9.30.
This is a case of a pair of very unfortunate feet involving footwear that is ignorantly and negligently designed and voluntarily worn.
Humans can do better.
Do Usain's toes still have a chance to aid him in performance better than ever...YES. See FEET FREEX Recommendations on the use of feet. For him I'd start with an intense dose of myofascial modalities, barefoot exposure to natural nutritious terrain and a pair of Correct Toes. I'm sure he get's world class treatment and training for every other part of his body...why not for his 10 toes which have a total of 28 bones, 28 joints, and many, many ligaments and tendons that I'm sure would love the love.
For his competitors wondering how the heck they're going to beat the guy in 2016, I'd make sure, through the use of feet and considerably different footwear, that I added those 50 muscles to my arsenal before he does.
Call me crazy. Please let me know what you think below.
And in addition to the above I propose that instead of this...
.......we FRED Usain's FEET TOO!!! [Who's FRED? Click here to find out.]