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Chapter 1

Kinesiology 2241A/B Chapter 1: Biomechanics TEXT notes

Course Code
Kinesiology 2241A/B
Thomas Richard Jenkyn

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Biomechanics Lecture 1 TEXT notes
-Generally, biomechanics is defined as that area of study wherein the knowledge
and methods of mechanics are applied to the structure and function of the living
human system.
-Area of study concerned with measures of the body’s physical characteristics is
-These measures of human body size, shape, and composition include measures of
height, weight, and volume. Similar measures may be taken on each segment of the
body its length, weight and volume.
- Anthopometric data are usually classified into two or more groups (e.g. by gender,
age, body type, or athletic participation area) and then compared with
anthropometric measures of other groups.
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Mechanical Characteristics of Human Movement
Mechanics: the study of the mechanical aspects of any system. Can be divided into
two categories
Statics: the study of factors associated with nonmoving systems
Dynamics: the study factors associated with systems in motion
Further divided into
Kinematics: the study of the time and space factors of motion of a system
Kinetics: the study of the forces acting on body that influence its movement
-One may attempt to remain motionless but doing so is almost impossible. Even
while standing, the body sways from side to side and forward and backward.
Nevertheless, a static analysis may be made of the human body in near-static
activities such as standing, balancing, and doing certain resistance exercises. In most
work, daily living, and sport situations, however, dynamic analysis is required
because total body or segmental movement takes place
Approaches for Studying Movement
There are two approaches used for studying the biological and mechanical aspects
of movement:
Quantitative Approach: involves describing a movement of the body or its parts
in numerical terms. This data helps eliminate subjective description because it relies
only on numerical data obtained from instrumentation. Numbers obtained by
measuring or counting can describe the physical situation. The observer then may
use this quantification to describe or explain the actual situation. However,
instrumentation for this is expensive, unavailable, takes too long etc. so it is a waste
of time. Very time consuming but information gained from a quantitative analysis
are very helpful.
Qualitative Approach: will produce a description of movement in non-numerical
tterms (i.e., without measuring or counting any part of the performance). The
impressions gained from a qualitative analysis may be supported with quantitative
data. Qualitative evaluations of performance should be based on the analyst’s ability
to recognize the critical features of the skill. Subjective conclusions based on
qualitative analyses can be rejected or affirmed on the basis of followed quantitative
-Both qualitative and quantitative are productive but qualitative assessment is the
predominant method used to assess the quality of movements of performers.
-Videotapes and films can provide both measurement records however great care
must be taken to prepare and conduct the film for quantitative analyses, so
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videotapes are usually qualitative rather than quantitative.
-without videotape or film or some tool for recording, small refinements could not
be observed at all because of the limitations of human perception.
Efficiency and Effectiveness of Performance
Efficient movement: a given amount of work (the movement) is done with a
minimum of energy expenditure. Important for marathon runners, etc. who want to
do as much work as possible with their limited amount of energy. The more efficient
mover is able to contue the repetitive task longer at the same pace, or can perform
at a faster pace with less energy expended, than a less efficient counterpart.
-However, for the majority of sports biomechanists focus on the effectiveness of a
performance: with determining the most appropriate movements to help the
performer successfully accomplish the overall performance objective
Maximize, minimize, or Optimize?
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