What Is Biomechanics

What Is Biomechanics?

Biomechanics is divided into two segments:

  1. Static- body at rest and in balance
  2. Dynamic – body in action or while in movement

How the human body moves in mechanical terms is also divided into two categories:

  1. Extrinsic – this looks at body movements and measures the movements to establish efficient ways of performing them.
  2. Intrinsic – this is the body’s ability to perform movements in regards to its mechanical make-up. This is what we focus on.

Biomechanical Applications

Office Work

Do you notice that as the day goes on your shoulders start to elevate if you have been using the mouse and keyboard?  The standard advice would be to try lowering your shoulders, have massage and maybe try and improve your desk setup.  These extrinsic interventions can help but unless you understand the reasons behind the shoulders elevating then you will struggle to get a long term solution.

One intrinsic biomechanical culprit can often be the median nerve – the nerve that runs from your neck, into the arms and fingers.  Repetitive movements such as keyboard and mouse actions cause this nerve to become tensioned and the muscles that would take the tension off the nerve such as the traps can go into spasm to minimise the tension.  Therefore your shoulders elevate and being told to push your shoulders down can hinder your progress or maybe make things worse because that is actually putting more pressure back on the median nerve.

Therefore the message here, and throughout this site is to make sure the intrinsic biomechanics are correct before embarking on any extrinsic solutions.

Functional Training

Functional training is all about performing movements in a more natural way rather than just targeting one specific muscle.  For example, a dead lift is much more functional than say using a leg extension machine.  Prior to engaging into training programs such as functional training it is crucial to have an understanding of how the body’s joints and systems work on their own. This is an important factor in determining the capabilities of the areas to function as a whole because a weakness in one area ends up with compensation and therefore injury.  A Move Freely Assessment and iMoveFreely® can pick up on these dysfunctions and help to improve function.

Sports Performance

Sports wise, biomechanics is applied to avoid injuries and to maximize the body’s full capacity. A Move Freely Assessment and iMoveFreely® can quickly pick up a problematic muscle that would be very difficult to establish with traditional functional or medical screening.

Injury Prevention

Common sports injuries usually sprout from improper technique, a lack in strength of the core, insufficient preparation, limited range of motion and more. Proper biomechanical make up is also an important, but less known factor that affects pelvic, shoulder and knee function as well as spasms in key muscles that may be the cause of restricted movement. With the use of a Move Freely Assessment and iMoveFreely®, a detailed checkup of the biomechanical make up is completed, highlighting any issues that may be the cause of the body’s compensation and break down.

Rehabilitation and Management of Injuries

Biomechanics is increasingly being studied and applied in the world of therapy. Health providers are becoming extremely skilled and are now able to diagnose and treat injuries with the help of the application of biomechanics. As an example, understanding the anatomy and physiology of the shoulder and its biomechanical makeup can actually prevent injuries on the pelvis and lower back. This is example is one of the integral steps in the management of injuries.

As the use of biomechanics has increased, it is used more and more in the rehabilitation and treatment of injuries in the musculo-skeletal system. The application of these principles have aided in the decrease of the recurrence of sports and exercise related injuries.

If there is a failure of the body to respond to traditional health care treatments, there is an increased possibility that a biomechanical cause in the body may be loading the predisposed or affected area. Diagnosing the biomechanical issues may be a critical factor in returning the body to its optimal function and therefore means proper rehabilitation may be done with a reduced risk of reoccurrence .

Core Stability Exercises

Exercises for core stability have become a major health trend in recent times. These exercises have caught the attention of the health conscious public and has been fuelled further with the combined efforts of commercial exercise companies and research papers. There are a lot of ways the exercises can be done, and just like any other exercise programs, the effectiveness varies for each individual but as the science has improved so too has the application of the methods.

How To Get The Most Out Of It

Whilst core stability exercises are good at getting the muscles to work, there is a problem in identifying the best stage with which to apply these techniques

As an example, Intelligent Training Systems (ITS) were invited to give a series of presentations at a yearly exercise convention. The audience were invited to participate in a Pilate’s class which was very well taught but following the class ITS asked them how many of them had back pain and 75% of them raised their hands whereas only a few had back pain before the exercise started.

ITS tested some of the participants biomechanics and it was not surprising that many of them had deficiencies. ITS realized that the back pain was caused by the fact that the participants were not biomechanically prepared to do the exercises properly.  Therefore it wasn’t the class that was the issue but the biomechanics of the participants and this is an example of the need to identify the best time to participate in core stability exercises. Each person should be tested for biomechanical issues because if problems exist then it is extremely difficult to engage the core properly due to other biomechanical problems.

Stabilising Dysfunction

If you have a biomechanical dysfunction such as rotated pelvis and associated leg length discrepancy then does it seem like the right idea to start straight into core stability exercises?  Basically all you are doing is stabilising a dysfunctional system which ultimately leads to pain and injury.  It is better to focus first on making sure you are in good biomechanical shape and then core stability exercises can provide a high degree of stability in a biomechanically efficient position.  Our iMoveFreely® programme,Move Freely Assessment and TAMARS® treatment can all help to provide this sound biomechanical basis.

In 2006, Stuart McGill, PhD, said that core stability training could either help some people and probably also hurt others but with better understanding of the biomechanics involved we can help reduce the risk of injury.