What is biomechanics and why does it matter for your workout?
Biomechanics is the study of human movement. Biomechanists view the human body as a collection of levers, made of bones which are moved by your muscles. By improving the mechanics of a person’s motion, performance can become more efficient, thus improving speed or accuracy.
These principles have been used to lessen wear and tear on joints in major league pitchers, increase the strength and speed of Olympic athletes, as well as improve the ambulation of cerebral palsy patients.
Ever see those people at the gym who are walking on such a steep incline that they hang on for dear life, and wonder why?
Recent studies by the University of Colorado found that when using a 9 degree treadmill incline, hamstrings displayed 635 percent of the muscular activity of level walking and, it increases your glute activity - up by 345 percent.
This weekend kicked off the first session of Hammer Strength’s annual coaches’ clinics in Noblesville, Ind. As a member of the Life Fitness biomechanical engineering team and an NASM certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, having the opportunity to come face to face with some of the most successful voices in the collegiate strength and conditioning world was worth the quick trip from Chicago.
The impressive Noblesville High School facility, complete with Hammer Strength power racks, rivals some of the pro team’s training centers. Inside, the room is packed with industry influencers and strength coaches from Midwest athletics programs, as well as fitness vendors, like Elite Form which showcased its new product Powertracker. This revolutionary device caught my eye for its biomechanics appeals; it can record an athlete’s power wirelessly, without cords, bars or machines to get in the way. The system uses technology similar to what you would find in an XBOX Kinect. Coaches have the ability to pull up videos of their athlete’s lifting and can run reports to track improvements. That means the tool lets strength coaches track the athlete’s exertion and effort without constantly standing over their shoulder. Having swam and coached football at Division-I Valparaiso University, I can tell you this is key.
Barefoot or minimalist? Midfoot or forefoot strike? New studies show the debate may be null.
The fitness industry is full of hotly contested opinions. Which shoe to wear and how to land are two of the current topics being debated by scientists, trainers, engineers and even the athletes themselves. Footstrike and shoe design are interdependent on each other. How you land determines the shoe you should wear. At the same time, many runners are selecting a shoe that they think will help them improve a certain form of running.