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INTRODUCTION

Objectives

  • To know and understand how the proper application of levers can help improve physical performance

  • To know and understand how the musculoskeletal system functions as a series of simple machines

  • To know and understand how knowledge of torque and lever arm lengths can help improve physical performance

  • To know and understand how the proper application of Newton’s laws of motion can help improve physical performance

  • To know and understand how knowledge of balance, equilibrium, and stability can help improve physical performance

  • To know and understand how knowledge of force and momentum can help improve physical performance

  • To know and understand the basic effects of mechanical loading on body tissues

In Chapter 1 we defined kinesiology, very simply, as the study of muscles, bones, and joints as they are involved in the science of movement. From this general definition we can go into greater depth in exploring the science of body movement, which primarily includes anatomy, physiology, and mechanics. For a true understanding of movement, a vast amount of knowledge is needed in all three areas. The focus of this text is primarily structural and functional anatomy. We have only very minimally touched on some physiology in the first two chapters. A much greater study of physiology as it relates to movement should be addressed in an exercise physiology course, for which there are many excellent texts and resources. Likewise, the study of mechanics as it relates to the functional and anatomical analysis of biological systems, known as biomechanics, should be addressed to a greater degree in a separate course. Human movement is quite complex. In order to make recommendations for its improvement, we need to study movements from a biomechanical perspective, both qualitatively and quantitatively. This chapter introduces some basic biomechanical factors and concepts, with the understanding that many readers will subsequently study these in more depth in a dedicated course utilizing much more thorough resources.

Many students in kinesiology classes have some knowledge, from a college or high school physics course, of the laws that affect motion. These principles and others are discussed briefly in this chapter, which should prepare you as you begin to apply them to motion in the human body. The more you can put these principles and concepts into practical application, the easier it will be to understand them.

Mechanics, the study of physical actions of forces, can be subdivided into statics and dynamics. Statics involves the study of systems that are in a constant state of motion, whether at rest with no motion or moving at a constant velocity without acceleration. In statics all forces acting on the body are in balance, resulting in the body being in equilibrium. Dynamics involves the study of systems in motion with acceleration. A system in acceleration is unbalanced due to unequal forces acting on the body. Additional components of biomechanical study include kinematics and kinetics...

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