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Biomechanics, Kinesiology, Motion and Physical Movement. Fascinating years of history of Human Movement

March 16, 2012

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace writes about human body and movement, a historical perspective

The Human Body is the most absolute perfect machine ever invented, yes I said it right, The Human Body it is a machine that has puzzled scientists, historians, physicists and many others  throughout history. I just love how the Human Body movesMovement defines us who we are and if movement becomes impaired we lose a vital quality that is really important to us. Have you Ever stopped to think how do we move? How is it possible to move so well and then become older and become stiffer, losing balance, coordination, motion?   Giant historical figures from Aristotle, Galen, Da Vinci, Newton or Galileo have been obsessed with motion, specifically with human motion. Throughout years of history and DNA development movement has been analyzed, improved, documented and well theorized.

How did I get involved in this part of human science? I have always been attracted to movement, performance and how our brain interacts with our muscles to make them move in a very well orchestrated manner.

According to David Winter who is the Author of Biomechanics and Motor Control Biomechanics can be defined as an interdiscipline which describes, analyzes and asseses Human Movement. A wide variety of physical movements are involved -everything from the gait of the physically handicapped to the lifting of a load by a  factory worker to the performance of a superior athlete. Click here for more information about Dr Winter

The history of this science goes way back when it come to study movement. Kinesiology is a combination of the Greek for ‘to move’ (kinein) and ‘logos’ (discourse). Kinesiologists – those who discourse on movement-in effect combine anatomy, neuroscience with physiology, the science of function of the body, to produce kinesiology, the science of movement of the body.

Exercise science is moving to a whole new world:


What is Biomechanics? Biomechanics is the science of movement of a living body, including how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work together to produce movement.

Aristotle 384 – 322 B.C

“Father of Kinesiology” “About the movement of Animals” described Movement and locomotion for the first time

The first observation and analysis of gait The first geometrical analysis of muscular action


131- 201 A.D Caludius Galen is  The First “sport physician” and “team doctor” in history – “Father of Sports Medicine” For 4 years he practiced surgery and dietetics among the gladiators, gaining substantial knowledge of the human body and human motion

Galen may have written as many as 600 treatises, amounting to some 10 million words.

His first text on physiology“On the function of the parts” . He Distinguished between skeletal muscles and muscle parts, such as the heart and the stomach

 Leonardo Da Vinci 1452-1519

Considered the Human Body as the most perfect machine, Interested in envisioning the mechanics of machines. His contribution is based on Mechanical analysis of movement included soft tissue. joints, muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage

He represented the Human Body in an absolute brilliant way bringing attention to anatomy, motion and physiology click here

Andrea Vesalius 1524-1564

In 1543 published  De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (On the Structure of the Human Body). He expressed his discontent with Galen’s work and stated that human anatomy could only be learned from dissection and observation of the human body. We had to wait approximately 1,500 years till Claudius Galen’s theories were debated and reformulated and thanks to a great physicist like Andrea Vesalius he noticed contradictions in his work Convinced Galen’s work was dissections of animals and wrongly portrayed the human body Dissected executed criminals

Then we fast forward several years and we see how Medicine and Science take a really important turn where Science, Religion and Church would be struggling till the existence of the Scientific Method and one of his mos important contributors was Galileo Galilei.

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace writes about human body and movement, a historical perspective

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace writes about human body and movement, a historical perspective

Galileo Galilei 1564-1642

Most fundamental contribution to science. Scientific Method Need to examine facts critically and reproduce known phenomenon experimentally so as to determine cause & effect for what is observed

Provided Foundation for Newton’s 3 laws/Theory of uniform motion, projectiles, inclined plane, and he defined momentum.

Contribution to Biomechanics:

Foundation for Newton’s 3 laws

Theory of uniform motion, projectiles, inclined plane, and he defined momentum

Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-1679)

Discovered forces required for equilibrium in various joints of the body before Newtown developed his laws. One of the first men to understand that the levers of the musculoskeletal system magnify motion rather than force De Motu Animalium Published after 1679. He was the first one of using geometrical method to describe jumping, running, flying, swimming, etc. Gait analysis & analysis of muscles.

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace writes about human body and movement, a historical perspective

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace writes about human body and movement, a historical perspective

Isaac Newton & the “Principia” 

Sir Isaac Newton ( 1642-1727) formulated 3 cardinal “laws” that became the basis for classical mechanics and study of motion.  Through these laws he describe the relationship of forces, objects, and motion.  Isaac Newton’s theories have been the foundation for understanding motion and physical force systems.

Here is a summary of his Masterpiece “Principia”

Book I: Science & mechanics 3 Laws (Inertia, accleration, & action-reaction)

Book II:New scientific philosophies, Descartes & Kepler

Book III: Applications of his dynamics, Law of gravitation, Law of Inertia

A body will remain at rest or continue to move at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force

Law of Acceleration The acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the force causing it, it is in the same direction as the fore, and it is inversely proportional to its mass

Law of action-reaction For every action there exists an equal and opposite reaction

Universal Gravitation All objects attract each other with gravitational force that is inversely proportional to the square of the distance b/n the objects. This force of gravity is proportional to the mass of each of the two bodies being attracted to each other

1800 A.D. – 1900 A.D.

Period of time where the interest of of mind and body was reborn, sport and movement ideal form. Scientists express a progressive interest in human locomotion.. The Gait analysis is born

Gait Analysis

Contribuition to Biomechanics:  Measuring methods developed to quantify kinematics and kinetics of movement

Measuring methods developed to quantify electrical current during muscular contractions. Gait analysis is fundamental right now since it is used in extensive centers of sports medicine and high performance sports centers. You can see how different centers are applying and perfectioning the study of human locomotion.


They are based in functional anatomy (how our bodies intended to move)
Metabolic demand (burning more calories since they are more muscles involved per movement) This science requires how to increase the metabolic requirement of exercise
Movement and Performance (how to enhance motor learning capabilities)


Why Biomechanics is so useful when applying strength training exercises? According to IDEA Health and Fitness Association “There are a few good reasons to develop and incorporate total-body exercises into a workout. They are rooted in functional anatomy (how our bodies are intended to move); metabolic demand (how to increase the metabolic requirement of exercise); and movement and performance (how to enhance motor learning capabilities)”. click here to keep reading

In other words, It is now more obvious that our bodies are far more connected than we have given them credit for.
In the case of exercise, the more intense the exercise is the greater the metabolic demand will be (Volek 2000)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2012 8:09 pm

    I heard about this forum because JhonBrown is always bad mouthing it for detesting him. I quite like him but I would not say I am fan of his entirely.some hoo I look forward to taking part in the discussions and possibly bad mouthing some one myself – if the need arises 😉


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