10 The Basics of Biomechanics

Amanda Shelton


Before we move into more specific topics, it is important that we examine more broadly what creates, impacts, and alters human movement. Human movement as a whole involves the interactions between bones, muscles, ligaments, and joints within the body as well as external loads such as gravity in a coordinated and complex manner to create meaningful movement. Understanding the basics of biomechanics will help to determine variations from normal movement patterns to evaluate and analysis various movements and provide effective feedback and corrections.

Biomechanics is the study of continuum mechanics (that is, the study of loads, motion, stress, and strain of solids and fluids) of biological systems and the mechanical effects on the body’s movement, size, shape and structure.” (Tung-Wu Lu, 2012)

There are many ways that we can explore biomechanics and the effect on the human body. There is molecular biomechanics which looks at how mechanical forms affect the biomolecules such as DNA, RNA, and various proteins within our body function, react, and transport. We have cellular biomechanics that explores how cells can sense mechanical forces and create biological responses for growth, differentiation, movement, gene expression, etc. There is also tissue biomechanics, which starts to touch on more of what we will examine throughout this course, that explore how tissues grow and respond to various stimuli (like exercise!). Tissue biomechanics can also help us to identify the effects of common exercise load responses like elevated blood pressure or bone remodeling. We will come back to how our body responds to various loading later when we discuss the principles of fitness and exercise adaptations (Chapter 4).

Key Takeaways

The musculoskeletal system is affected by mechanical factors in regard to its form and function. This, in turn, influences the individual’s overall performance.

Human movement:

  • is complex.
  • is highly coordinated.
  • involves the interaction between muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones.

Tung-Wu Lu, C.-F. C. (2012, February). Biomechanics of human movement and its clinical applications. The Kaohsiun Journal of Medical Sciences, 28(2), S13-S25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.kjms.2011.08.004




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Introduction to Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals Copyright © 2021 by Amanda Shelton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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