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Biomechanics: Definition and Examples

What is Biomechanics?

Biomechanics is a field that studies the structure, function, and movement of the mechanical parts of a biological system. It studies how the laws of mechanics apply to the human body in motion. For example, when a specialist examines shoulder elevation and depression, they gain insight into the trainee’s mobility and ability to get in position for certain movements.

What Does a Biomechanist Do?

A biomechanist combines the principles of physical movement and biology to understand movement, the ground reaction forces it generates, and its impact on an individual level. 

Unlike a personal trainer or strength coach who observes clients and how they perform specific movements, a specialist can perform a biomechanical analysis using special tools like force plates and motion monitoring software and hardware. 

This allows for a more thorough examination of movement patterns with an in-depth look at muscle activation, joint angles, and how parts of the body are loaded during different phases of an activity. 

The applications are numerous, ranging from helping detrained individuals improve their functional fitness following injury or illness to coaching elite-level athletes and helping optimize movement patterns to perform better and minimize injury risk.

The Importance of Understanding Biomechanics

A degree in biomechanics is not mandatory for being a good coach, but having a basic understanding of joints, movements, muscles, and how external forces affect the body is important.

First, this knowledge allows you to build better workout plans for your clients, ensuring that each body part gets trained correctly. This leads to more balanced development and a lower risk of muscle or strength imbalances.

Second, it helps you monitor clients more effectively when coaching them in person or reviewing technique videos––for example, is the person retracting their shoulder blades correctly? Most coaches can catch major training mistakes, but it takes a trained eye to spot small inefficiencies that can affect balance, force output, and long-term results.

For coaches interested in learning more about biomechanics without pursuing an advanced degree, viable options include:

  • Read books (I offer a couple of biomechanics-related options here)
  • Attend biomechanics seminars
  • Watch educational videos from experts


1. Why should coaches care about biomechanics?

Coaches who understand biomechanics can more effectively monitor athletes and analyze movement, as well as build better training plans that stress all parts of the body accordingly.

2. Do biomechanics apply to all types of sports?

Biomechanics apply to all sports and activities that involve movement, helping coaches optimize their athletes’ technique for better performance and lower injury risk.

3. What tools do biomechanists use to analyze movement?

Biomechanists often use motion capture devices and software, force plates, and EMG to examine movement patterns and their impact on the human body.

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