Interested in Biomechanics?

From the SuperTraining forum and M. Siff:

Read any fitness conference brochures, interviews with various
fitness gurus,
website promotions of sports coaches and articles written by many
professionals and you will come across coaches, trainers and
therapists who
are referred to as “Biomechanics Experts”, “Biomechanics Specialist”,
“Expert Biomechanist” or “Biomechanics Consultant.”


These folk regularly claim to carry out “biomechanical analysis” or
expert information on topics such as “the biomechanics of golf”, “the
biomechanics of baseball”, “the biomechanics of running”, “the
of Pilates exercises” and so forth, for a host of different sports
physical activities. So, we come across articles that read something

" Gross Wissenheimer, is an ‘expert biomechanist’ who consults for
Mongolian Mammoths football team and whose expert advice has
detected muscle
imbalances and asymmetries in 56.2 percent of the players. His
of the Baggerud Larsen ultra-explosive Norwegian plyometric bench
protocol has increased the strength, power and pay packets of 49.7
percent of
all the players. His unique biomechanical understanding of deformable
Norwegian Ball biomechanics has allowed him to apply his unique
principles of
force-couple destabilisation and re-integration in multidimensional
relativistic movement space to produce a new generation of players
performance is unrivalled in the NML (National Mammoth League).

His method entails ballistic helical loading of the scapulothoracic
sacroiliac pseudo-joints which are known to link functionally via
neural peripheral channels to the transversus abdominis, the anal
and the plantarflexors and medial rotators of the foot, all of which
can be
shown to enhance the sprint start from a three point take off
stance. His
studies of little known Eastern texts has revealed that pressure
produced by
the renowned ‘tongue in cheek’ method or the ‘digital oscillation of
nasal cavity’ protocol can enhance distal thrust tension in hallucis
and, by a process of reciprocal inhibition in antagonistic patterns
of the
deep septal core muscles, produce selective recruitment of the
muscle fibres.

What does all of this mean to our readers? Suffice it to be said
that these
methods have made Gross Wissenheimer a household name in the world
of pro
sports training and that he certainly knows what he is talking
about. His
expert knowledge of advanced biomechanics and NSSM (Neuro Super
and Mobilisation) has transformed the face of Mammoth Sport and his
appointment books are filled until 2007. Surely this is living proof
what he says and does is correct and invaluable?

As Wissenheimer says, “My results show that the academics and
don’t know anything about improving performance, even if all their
claim that all that I am doing is wrong and unscientific - I have 12
clients and 494 interns, plus I have six houses in the best
countries of the
world and an income that would employ all the sports scientists on
the US
East and West coasts for three years. That wouldn’t be happening if
were so great! This practical evidence shows that my biomechanics is
functionally superior to any of the biomechanics being taught at any
universities today. What’s more, I would be the world’s greatest
coach if
the Russians weren’t cheating by taking all those drugs.”


It appears that many individuals like our hypothetical hero, Gross
Wissenheimer, are not really aware of what biomechanics is or what
it entails
to become a “biomechanics expert” or “expert biomechanist”. All too
they seem to think that analysing from basic anatomy books which
muscles and
joints are involved in some movement constitutes “biomechanics”.
That sort
of movement analysis is not biomechanics, though it would form a
small part
of biomechanics. What is being done here is nothing more than
“movement analysis” or “functional anatomy”, but it is not

Biomechanics, though it may involve an understanding of which
muscles are
involved in any movement, embraces far more than that small
subsection of this extensive scientific discipline. In brief,
involves the application of the principles of mechanics (from
physics and
engineering) to the living world, the world of biological systems.
mechanics involves a thorough knowledge of classical mechanics
(static and
dynamics) and the mathematics relating to all the topics covered by
mechanics, it follows that biomechanics involves not only the
non-computational or descriptive side of mechanics, but also the
side of this field. The following list is typical of what courses on
biomechanics cover at university (usually following several years of
applied mathematics and computer science):

Topics in Biomechanics:

Fundamental Topics - The laws and methods of statics and dynamics in
mechanics. Dynamics of the musculoskeletal system, mechanics of hard
soft tissues, mechanics of muscles, mechanics of bone remodelling,
of implant-tissue interfaces, mechanisms of cells.

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Biomechanics - Mechanics of blood
flow, air
flow, mechanics of the soft
tissues, flow-tissue or flow-prosthesis interactions.

Injury Biomechanics - The effect of stress on living tissue and the
of tissues under load. Mechanics of impact, dynamics of man-machine

Orthopaedic Biomechanics - Mechanics of fracture and fracture
mechanics of implants and implant
fixation, mechanics of bones and joints.

Rehabilitation Biomechanics - Analysis of normal and pathological
movement. Analysis of gait, mechanics of prosthetics and orthotics.

Sports Biomechanics - Mechanical analysis and optimisation of sports

Dental Biomechanics - Design and analysis of dental prostheses,
mechanics of

Cell Biomechanics - Relationship of mechanical environment to cells
tissue responses.

While this list of topics may seem expansive and impressive, they
only take
the student up to the level of one’s first degree. One then has to
undertake several years of postgraduate study to Masters or Doctoral
before one can begin to competently work in research or applied
Many years afterwards, the doctoral graduate then starts to become
more like
what we would call a “biomechanics expert”.

Our hero, Gross Wissenheimer, though he might have a first degree or
even a
Masters in Exercise Physiology, Physical Therapy or Kinesiology,
cannot call himself a “biomechanics expert” or “expert biomechanist”,
especially if he cannot understand and apply the mathematical and
computational principles and methods of quantitative biomechanics -
even more so if he does not know the difference between couple and
force-couple and resultant of forces, torque and angular momentum,
energy and
power, centrifugal and centripetal force, rotation and revolution,
etc. The
following web sites give far more information on the fascinating
world of

Dr Mel C Siff
Denver, USA