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What you don't want to do is shown in Figure 1 on the left. The guy on the left, Mike #1, he's cheating. He is not obeying the definition of race walking. Look at his leg, it's bent while the foot is in contact with the ground and in front of the body. You can see his quadriceps are firing because once you bend the knee the quadriceps must work to try to straighten it again. This is also called creeping.

In contrast, Father Mike, he is actually a padre. You can see his quadriceps are relaxed and his leg is completely straightened. The close up of John Nunn on the right also illustrates this.

Now there are judges who profess that we should determine legality by issues of bio mechanics. for instance if a person's quadriceps fire at the wrong time in the stride, then they should be disqualified because that is an indication that the leg is not straightened when it should be. Personally we disagree with this. Can people see the quadriceps when a walker is taking 200+ steps per minute and is this a better method for determining legality? Also, what happens if you isometrically contract the quadriceps? Can a judge discern the difference? We would want to see studies as to the accuracy of this proposition before endorsing it.  Instead we subscribe the to the belief that judging should be a strict visual, to the human eye, interpretation of the definition of race walking.

Bent Knee Violation - Race Walking Technique
Figure 1
Bent Knee Violation - Race Walking Technique
Figure 2

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