After completing this chapter, you will
be able to:
- Define the terms biomechanics,
statics, dynamics, kinematics, and kinetics, and
explain the ways in which they are related.
- Describe the scope of scientific inquiry addressed by biomechanists.
- Distinguish between qualitative and quantitative approaches
for analyzing human movement.
- Explain how to formulate questions for qualitative analysis
of human movement.
- Use the 11 steps identified in the chapter to solve formal
Why do some golfers slice the ball? How can
workers avoid developing low back pain? What cues can a physical
education teacher provide to help students learn the underhand volleyball
serve? Why do some elderly individuals tend to fall? We have all
admired the fluid, graceful movements of highly skilled performers
in various sports. We have also observed the awkward first steps
of a young child, the slow progress of an injured person with a
walking cast, and the hesitant, uneven gait of an elderly person
using a cane. Virtually every activity class includes a student
who seems to acquire new skills with utmost ease and a student who
trips when executing a jump or misses the ball when attempting to
catch, strike, or serve. What enables some individuals to execute
complex movements so easily, while others appear to have difficulty
with relatively simple movement skills?
Although the answers to these questions may be rooted in physiological,
psychological, or sociological issues, the problems identified are
all biomechanical in nature. This book will provide a foundation
for identifying, analyzing, and solving problems related to the
biomechanics of human movement.
Learning to walk is an ambitious task
from a biomechanical perspective.
During the early 1970s, the international community adopted the
term biomechanics to describe the
science involving the study of biological systems from a mechanical
perspective (42). Biomechanists use the tools of mechanics, the branch of physics involving
analysis of the actions of forces, to study the anatomical and functional
aspects of living organisms (Figure 1-1). Statics and dynamics are two major subbranches
of mechanics. Statics is the study of systems that are in a state
of constant motion, that is, either at rest (with no motion) or
moving with a constant velocity. Dynamics is the study of systems
in which acceleration is present.
Biomechanics uses the principles of mechanics for solving
problems related to the structure and function of living organisms.
Kinematics and kinetics are
further subdivisions of biomechanical study. Kinematics is the description
of motion, including the pattern and speed of movement sequencing
by the body segments that often translates to the degree of coordination
an individual displays. Whereas kinematics describes the appearance of
motion, kinetics is the study of the forces associated ...