Movement economy

Exercise scientists having been searching for long time on behalf of a mathematical model that will describe human body’s movement efficiency under influence of different exercise activities.

Theory development:

According to the conservation of energy principle there is no machine that is 100% efficient in our world. This statement finds application to humans body response to physical activity indicating that there is different operation of human’s body movement efficiency during everyday physical activities (Cavanagh,P.,& Kram,R.,1985).The importance for relationship establishment between human’s body movement efficiency and exercise, led sports and exercise scientist to monitor several biomechanical and physiological factors that probably had influence on human’s body efficiency.

Factors related to humans body efficiency

  • exercise work rate
  • velocity of movement
  • fiber composition of the muscles performing the exercise
  • combination of muscles involved during exercise
  • type of movement

After careful examination and observation of the factors mentioned above, scientist were able to establish a relationship between human movement efficiency, individual genetic traits and fitness abilities that were responsible for human’s body efficiency improvement during exercise. The utilization of the concept for improving human body movement efficiency resulted in increase of overall human performance ability during exercise (Daniels, J., & Daniels, N., 1992).Although disagreement still exist in scientific community as what is the most valid technique to calculate movement efficiency, sports scientists concluded that efficiency can often be described by the term net efficiency (Cavanagh,P.,& Kram,R.,1985).

Net efficiency is the commonly used term to describe human movement efficiency and is defined as a mathematical ratio of work output divided by the energy expanded above rest .

% net efficiency= (work output /energy expenditure) x 100

Assessing human’s body efficiency:

Why we study physiological parameters?

Measurements of the maximal steady state power output are useful in predicting movement efficiency that is associated with performance success in endurance events lasting 3-180 minutes.

There are several key parameters of aerobic fitness that are recognized by sports and exercise scientific community and have effect on endurance training and are related to human’s body efficiency. These are maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), the lactate/ventilatory threshold, and the oxygen uptake kinetics, (Jones, A., & Carter, H., 2000).Another laboratory measurement that can be used to predict performance in endurance events, and is correlated with the parameters mention above is critical power or critical velocity (Hill, D.W., 1993).

Why we study biomechanical parameters?

Biomechanical analysis of muscles specificity, and combination of different muscle groups during specific sport activities are two biomechanical essential principles observed by sport and exercise scientists during different physical activities. Observing, specific muscular fatigue caused by overloading in key muscle groups that might change muscle activation characteristics, thus reducing the human’s body efficiency during endurance events can be valuable indicator of unsuccessful performance (Frederick, E., C., 1985).

The goal of any sports performer is ultimately to achieve optimal performance. This is often facilitated by cooperation between the performer and a supporting sport scientist.

Traditionally, sport scientists have taken the lead in planning and organizing programs to correct weaknesses that they have identified by observing and assessing athletic performance. Applying biomechanics and exercise physiology to determine human’s body efficiency in different sport event can be valuable tool for performance enhancement program design (Powers,S.,& Howley,E.,2004).

Many studies have employed different physiological and biomechanical principles in endurance sports. However, it has been observed that those previously defined test used to evaluate the athletic performance cannot always be applied in every sport .The variation of sports mechanics, the physiological demands, the environmental conditions and the equipment used in each sport can take part in chief matter for the determination of the physiological and biomechanical parameters that will be used to improve human’s body efficiency (Powers,S.,& Howley,E.,2004).

There are many endurance events like running, biking, rowing and swimming, etc. that have been analyzed by sports scientists the past decades. Laboratory and field tests have been used in order to examine athletic performance demands in these sports.

Reviewed by Alexander Marinof MSc. 10/6/2017

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