This article originally appeared in Well+Good.
There’s a rumor circulating on the web that if you kick your butt you’ll get a little extra boost from the hamstring contractions, thereby taking longer strides. But is it true? According to Strava running coach Megan Roche, MD, not necessarily.
"Building hamstring strength is key for running power, however, the goal of running, particularly running over 400 meters is not to have longer strides,” she says. “Optimal cadence ranges from 165 to 190 depending on individual characteristics. Stride power is best supported via knee drive, consisting of ‘high-heel recovery,’ or hip-driven foot lift, underneath your body, in a cyclical motion.” If that feels like a whole lot of science to you, you’re not alone. Fortunately for us, Dr. Roche says that watches and apps like Strava can help athletes cue into their cadence.