The biomechanics of human locomotion can be explained by the physics of pendulums and springs. Humans have essentially four locomotive strategies available: walking, jogging, running, sprinting. These locomotive strategies become progressively less pendulum like and more spring like as speed and gravitational loading increase and contact time decreases (see diagrams below).
Each locomotive strategy has energetic and biomechanical consequences i.e. metabolic cost and risk of injury. Skillful human movement is characterised by adopting the locomotive strategy for a given speed and terrain that maximises economy while minimising injury risk. Movement strategy selection is influenced by several factors including habit, conditioning and accurate sensory feedback about the external environment.