An Introduction to Biomechanics - Part 1

in STEMGeeks2 months ago

For 2023 I am setting myself the goal of understanding how human's move. My day job is a IT Engineer and you might have seen a lot of my posts on Python or Kubernetes, but I also love sport and helping people become healthy and more active. To help me understand how people move, I am studying Biomechanics:

I've also found that one of the best ways I can something new or complex is by writing about what I have learned, so in the coming weeks I'll be writing a lot of posts about Biomechanics and why it is important, starting with the basics.

The Definition of Biomechanics

Biomechanics refers to the evaluation of motion of a living organism and the acting forces on it. As a human movement specialist, it is there job to analyse, and optimise the athletes training, to maximise performance and minimise the chance of injury.

But why is it so important to understand force. The two types of forces on the body are classified as internal and external forces. Internal forces are produced by structures inside the body. Those forces are classified as active and passive. Active forces are produced by muscles and Passive forces originate in the connective tissue. External forces are produced by forces outside the body. These include gravity, elastic forces and weights. Bodyweight is considered a form of an external force placed on the body.

Positive and Negative Forces

Positive Internal forces are “good” forces and are defined as proper activation of muscles for proper joint movement. Negative internal forces are defined as the improper activation of muscles leading to improper join movement.

Positive external forces are described as when the body is positioned to properly accept forces from outside the body in accordance to the body’s structure. This results in the work input of the internal forces being efficiently transferred to work output, leading to growth and increased velocity. Negative internal forces are a result of improper activation of muscles leading to improper joint movement. Negative external forces enter the body not in accordance to the structure and function of the body, resulting in the body being not as efficient with a higher risk of connective tissue damage and negative structural adaptation.

The job of a human movement specialist is to help the athlete to get from where they are now physically, to their fitness performance goals or needs. These may not be the same. This requires to help the client to get to these goals as quickly and safely as possible. The two main goals of Biomechanics are performance enhancement and Injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Performance enhancement includes technique improvement, equipment improvement and training improvement. Injury prevention and rehabilitation encompasses techniques to reduce the change of injury and equipment designs to reduce injury.
This is why Biomechanics is so important as it is vital to have some understanding of how the human body is meant to move and more importantly, which movement to avoid and why. If a coach or trainer does not understand these fundamental principles, their workouts will be innefficient and potentially dangerous.

What is Exercise?

Before we move further ahead, we need to take a step back. Exercise is stress and the body adapts to stress on the body with exercise being a positive stress. Hans Selye was the first to propose the theory of General Adaptation Syndrome in 1936. The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is a theory which describes the response of the human body to stress.
A. Stage I is: Alarm Stage
B. Stage 2 is: Resistance Stage
C. Stage 3 is: Exhaustion Stage

The basic concept of GAS explains that stress is placed on the body, performance goes down before the body recovers and creates adaptation.

For a full descussion on GAS, please click here

Optimum training

Exercise to be beneficial must have both quantity and quality. Optimal training is demonstrated with enhanced athletic performance. Overtraining is seen with overstress or poor technique and improper recovery. Detraining is seen with poor quality, poor quantity and excessive recovery.

Exercise can be looked as physical stress placed on the body’s structure to which the body will adapt. All physiological effects of exercise (good and bad) are directly due to the mechanical stress placed on the body. I order to improve performance and reduce injury, first must understand how to analyse and optimise Biomechanics.

Biomechanics is important because all the physiological effects of exercise are directly due to mechanical stress placed on the body.

About The Author
I am a DevOps Engineer, Endurance Athlete, Biomechanics Student and Author. We can all achieve amazing things, it's just a matter of trying, I want to change the world, one run at a time.

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I am very interest to see how your studies might be adapted and help in training.

 2 months ago Reveal Comment