What are the different types of biomechanical movement?

Biomechanics is the science of how the living body moves. Using a combination of engineering mechanics, biology and physiology we can understand how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work together to create movement. It also includes the mechanics of blood circulation, renal function and other bodily functions. This process is called biomechanical movement.

There are different types of biomechanical movement:

Linear movement

Linear movement is one-dimensional momentum in a straight line. It is the most basic form of all motion. This is when your body’s systems are equal and constant. No forces are changing the course of your moving body.

Example:

When someone is swimming in a straight line, it is called linear motion. Forces like waves and tides can change the swimmer’s direction. These forces can cause the swimmer to no longer move linearly.

Angular movement

Angular movement is when you change the angle between the bones of a joint.

There are different types of angular movements:

Flexion

Flexion, or bending, is when the angle between your bones decreases.

For example: when you move your forearm up towards the elbow or your hand towards your forearm.

Extension

This is when the angle between your bones increases.

For example: when you straighten your arms after flexion.

Hyperextension

This is when you stretch your bones beyond its normal position.

For example: when you move your neck back to look up or when you bend your wrist so that your hand moves away from your forearm.

Rotational movement

Rotational movement is when a bone rotates around its longitudinal axis. It can be towards the midline of your body (also known as medial rotation) or away from the midline of your body (also known as lateral rotation).

Example:

In tennis, players have to rotate their wrists to be able to perform certain types of strokes. Moving your head from side to side is also an example of rotational movement.

Gliding movement

When relatively flat bone surfaces move past each other, instead of rotating around each other, this is known as gliding movement.

Examples of these are the joints of the carpal and tarsal bones.

Static movement

Static movement, or balance, is the ability to control your body while it is stationary. This is when you can maintain your posture stability and orientation, while your centre of gravity is over your body’s base of support, and your body is at rest.

Dynamic movement

This is the ability to control your body while it is in motion. It is the ability to transfer vertical projection of your centre of gravity around your body’s base of support. This is when you can maintain your posture stability and orientation, while your gravitational centre is over your body’s base of support and your body is in motion.

When you are performing your daily tasks, you are often unaware of the different types of movement that your body has to produce. Biomechanics helps us understand how our muscles, bones, ligaments and other systems in our body work together to create different types of movement.

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