Corrective ExerciseMuscular Impairments

Why is Understanding Kinesiology Important For Our Exercise Program?

Kinesiology is the study of movement, and the science behind the movement of our body against forces of gravity and resistive external forces.  Kinematics deals with movement of the body without regards to external forces being applied to them(Neuman pg 4).  So looking at exercise design, kinematics does not represent a functional capacity for how our body works through multiple planes of motion against gravity or resistive forces being applied to a joint or joints, in the body.


Breaking down the movement patterns of our bodies, we can begin with the motion of our bones(osteokinematics).  Our bodies predominantly move in either the sagittal(flexion/extension), frontal(adduction/abduction) or horizontal (internal/external rotation) plane of motion.  Functional movement that is more specific to exercise design, utilizes one of more of these planes of motion in a given movement outcome. Click To Tweet This shows the functionality of movement of the human body that it does not operate in an isolated or joint specific range of motion. Looking closer at how each joint moves independently, we can see the movement patterns each joint has by its relative axis or degrees of freedom (Neuman, pg 6).  Arthrokinematics looks at the motion that occurs between two joints by the articular surface of that joint Click To Tweet.  Three movements that occur on joint surfaces are roll, slide, spin; each that requires the convex and concave endings of joints to manipulate.  Once the movement patterns of our bones is understood and how each bone moves dependant on its joint articulation, kinetics studies the mechanics of the body from forces applied.  When an outside force is applied to the joint, torque occurs on that axis of rotation.  That amount of torque can be changed by moving the resistance closer to or farther away from that axis of rotation (NASM pg22).


When functional anatomy is applied, we look at how these individual mechanics can work together to create a desired movement in the body by studying the muscles that surround and support that joint.  The central nervous system helps us to determine what series of muscles that will be utilized in synch to create this motion.  Each joint action that is activated requires the central nervous system to call into play a primary agonist (prime mover) to provide a concentric muscle action, an antagonist to provide an eccentric muscle action (lengthening), synergists muscles that will assist the prime mover in the desired movement (concentric), and stabilizer muscles that will work to maintain joints in their proper mechanical position to support the body(isometric).


Analyzing the science of movement (kinesiology) can not be a one dimensional approach when relating to exercise design and movement.  Our bodies operate in a manner that must be determined through our central nervous system, what forces or resistance our body is being subjected to, and what is the desired outcome or movement our body wishes or needs to perform.  At this point, our body is designed in a manner that requires each joint to be properly aligned and mobile to not hinder the mobility of another acting joint.  Any breakdown of one joint can create a disruption or dysfunction of another joint in our kinetic chain Click To Tweet.  This length-tension relationship (NASM pg 18) factors in as the amount of force a muscle can create at its resting length.  Any muscle or joint that is dysfunctional or slightly immobile, can alter the amount of force a muscle can generate and require the body to draw upon another muscle or joint action to create the desired force.  This can put the body in a position of injury or continued misalignment of body mechanics.


The goal of the fitness professional is to properly design and implement exercise techniques that draw upon these mechanics of movement to force the body to learn new skilled movement and create more neurological pathways to enhance muscle recruitment and motor development.  Accomplishing this task cannot simply be done by isolated singular plane movements.  Exercises that incorporate a combination of extension and abduction on the contralateral side utilizes the deep longitudinal system as well as the lateral subsystem.  This is just an example of how through proper exercise design, we can help occomplish neuromuscular efficiency.  These functional style movements help prevent a dysfunction in the human movement system through motor development and then motor control and create an exercise approach that functionally enhances our daily life.

Video Tutorial Provided by Darren Stroh, MS, CES-NASM



Clark, Micheal, and Scott Lucett. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010. Pr

Neumann, D. (2010). Kinesiology of the musculoskeletal system. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc.

Sahrmann, S. (2002). Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc.

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2 thoughts on “Why is Understanding Kinesiology Important For Our Exercise Program?

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