Researching Movement Patterns in Ultimate

strength and conditioning

Photo by Sean Carpenter for UltiPhotos

Ulty Results has embarked on an original research project to better determine how to properly train for ultimate. Is it an endurance sport?  Is it a sprint sport?  At Ulty Results we are attempting to make some progress in answering the question “What is ultimate made of?”

An example of movement analysis is the study by McClay and others in 1994 on the demands of basketball.  Game analysis is used to better understand the physical stresses required of athletes during games.  Game analysis shows that professional basketball players perform an average of 17 maximal jumps per game and that this number varies significantly by position (10 jumps for a guard, 23 jumps for a center), and that basketball players run an average of 2.1 miles per game at a pace of about 9 mph (McClay, 1994).  Understanding these and other movement patterns aids in developing training programs with better specificity to a given sport.


Xi Xia’s now-archived contribution to The Huddle is an example of this type of research in ultimate. Xi Xia looked at lengths of active play segments per point. Based on his findings, Xi Xia concludes that sprinting intervals of longer than 200 meters most likely do not effectively train for the demands of ultimate.


In our research we hope to add to and expand upon Xi Xia’s work. We will be filming games while tracking individual players to determine what kinds of motion players engage in. How many sprints and how far? How much low intensity shuffling? How many vertical leaps? The answers to these questions will influence any well designed ultimate specific conditioning program.


Some preliminary filming will begin very soon. As we analyze the data we will be posting updates on our website. We also hope to help you to make use of the data in your off season conditioning.

McClay, I.S., Robinson, J.R., Andriacchi, T.P., Frederick, E.C., Martin, P.E., Valiant, G., Williams, K.R., & Cavanagh, P.R. (1994). A profile of ground reaction forces in professional basketball. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 10, 222-236.