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Biomechanical Analysis: Definition, Benefits, and Uses

What is Biomechanical Analysis?

A biomechanical analysis is a method of examining movement. The goal is understanding muscle forces and how external forces influence the body. An accurate analysis requires a good understanding of biology and mechanics, and people carrying out these can use various tools, such as electromyography (EMG), force plates, and motion monitoring software and hardware.

How is a Biomechanical Analysis Performed?

As mentioned above, a thorough biomechanical analysis is performed using specialized tools.

A common way to perform a biomechanical analysis is to use a motion capture system. The person carrying out the analysis attaches tens of retroreflective markers to the subject’s clothes, and multiple cameras record movement, which is then generated into an animation. On the floor, force plates usually measure ground reaction forces.

This method has a virtually unlimited number of applications. It can be used to examine how people walk, run, jump, lift weights, dance, throw, kick, and more. The animations can be used to measure the load on the bones, joints, and muscles and how they change during different phases of an activity. 

The results guide sports players and other athletes to move more efficiently, optimize their performance, and reduce injury risk. This data can also be valuable in a therapeutic setting, such as helping someone recovering from an injury or illness move better and regain their functional capacity.

Biomechanical analyses are typically performed by sports scientists, physical therapists, ergonomists, physicians, and students pursuing a degree in one of these fields or a related one. 

A personal trainer or coach can also perform a biomechanical analysis, which is also known as an assessment. It involves examining movement, limitations, and posture and is not as thorough.

That said, a good coach can learn about a client’s unique abilities, assess their injury risk, provide helpful guidance to improve technique, and replace or modify movements when necessary.

FAQ

1. What is an example of a biomechanical analysis?

An example would be examining a runner’s gait through motion capture technology and force plates. Doing so can help improve the runner’s technique, resulting in vastly better performance and lower injury risk when extended over long distances.

2. What is the primary goal of a biomechanical analysis?

The primary goal is understanding movement mechanics to improve performance, reduce injury risk, and help experts develop rehabilitation strategies based on the person’s unique needs.

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