Biomechanics is the science of applying mechanical principals to the structure, function and motion of the human body.

It is the study of all aspects of the biological systems, at any level from whole organisms to organs, cells and cell organelles.

When it comes to you and me, biomechanics normally refers to how the neurological, muscular and skeletal systems in humans function under various conditions.  

Assessment of the human body in motion

A biomechanic will apply engineering principles, physics and other types of mathematically based forms of analysis to learn the capabilities and limits of the human body.

This can be looked at in two ways externally/ extrinsically and internally or intrinsically.

Extrinsic Biomechanics can be viewed as errors in technique and the way the body is held, through lifestyle and function.  It is like the diagram below where we map the action and of the client and play it over perfection.

Intrinsic Biomechanics analyses the actual ability of the body to hold itself in alignment, – looking at muscle length/ elasticity, joint structure and neurological impact.  

There is no point in looking extrinsically if there are structural limitations, so this has to be ironed out first which is precisely what Emma works on. 

How can biomechanics be used in sports?

Sports biomechanics studies human motion and alignment during exercise and sports. Physics and the laws of mechanics are applied to the athletic performance of individuals, analysing their movements and coaching them for more effective action during exercise and sport.

What trainers and athletes say:

Pat Cash – The odds are that most coaches and organizations, especially within the tennis community, don’t even know what biomechanics is. Or if they do, they don’t truly understand it and don’t want you to know about it. Because if you did understand biomechanics and its benefits you’d demand they coach you with this in mind. This would require your coach to admit that much of what he/she teaches is wrong. This, in turn, would force him/her to go back to the drawing board and relearn everything. Generally speaking, this is way too much effort for the average coach. It’s a shame because a stronger focus on biomechanics and good technique would save people from a lot of pain while helping them improve their game.

Michael Johnson – for strength coaches it is a vital tool for technique, because to run fast, really fast technique is crucial.

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Basically, understanding biomechanics and applying it is the foundation for good technique in all sports. So by studying how the human body naturally should be aligned and would want to move, should no lifestyle, injury or external factors have been involved we can remove stress and pressure on the bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. This results in improved athletic performance, reduced injuries and heightened general wellbeing. Athletes of all ages and skill levels can benefit from biomechanical analysis whether it’s for pain reduction or to increase top-level performance. Here are some more benefits of proper biomechanics:

  • Increased movement speed (running, swimming, etc.)
  • More power (jumping, hitting, lifting, etc.)
  • Energy conservation through economy of movement.
  • Helps eliminate muscle imbalances.
  • Reduces wear and tear on joints and ligaments.
  • Improved sport specific form and technique.

In a nutshell, with good biomechanics you can get faster and stronger while reducing injuries.

The benefits of biomechanics.

The primary goals of sports biomechanics, which in fact are exactly the same as life biomechanics for sitting, walking, and living are to:

  • Improve performance through efficiency, duration and load by identifying and applying optimal technique.
  • Prevent injury and speed up recovery.

In brief – Biomechanics is the science of movement of a living body, including how muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to produce movement. … For example, the biomechanics of the squat includes consideration of the position and/or movement of the feet, hips, knees, back and shoulders and arms.

Have you ever had a niggle, that keeps coming back, despite what treatment you have tried? Do you constantly find you pull the same muscle when you increase your exercise?

More often than not our body is slightly lop sided, through lifestyle, habit and compensating from injury. Day in day out getting out of the driver side of a car, having a desk on a wall with the door of the room to one side, a dentist always sitting on the same side of a patient, golf and tennis both one sided sports, carrying toddlers on one side of the hip.  Over the years we compensate for tired muscles and sore joints, from whatever reason, and we get out of whack without realising, so when we increase our exercise levels we find something starts to hurt without any real reason.

Biomechanics coaching addresses these issues, looking at the body as a whole and assess what is going on to aim to pre-empt potential injury or pain.  Checking range of motion at joints in various actions and so work out which precise part is restricted and what one should do about it.  

Continually avoiding addressing these imbalances prevents us from really progressing and likewise leaving things until they become a problem and then dealing with the localized pain doesn’t address the root cause. 

The tests are all research based and many are used in physio or chiropractic practice after injury to assess pain. The innovation is using them before there is a problem to look at the body as a whole in order to prevent time off work, time off life and time off sport, in order to avoid injury and ideally to improve performance to the best of the persons ability..

The process consists of a 1hr assessment most of which is passive to the client.  It can be done at any stage in training, but ideally the sooner the better in order to get on with reaching goals, a program will be given with regular updates for the remedial.