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What Is the Biomechanics of Force?

Erik J.J. Goserud
Erik J.J. Goserud

In order to understand what is meant by the biomechanics of force, it is important to understand the two factors independently. These factors are, of course, force and biomechanics. Biomechanics is the study of the body as a mechanical system, and force is a term used in physics to describe something that changes motion. Force is very important in the field of biomechanics.

Force has long been described by theoretical philosophers and scientists but has only been organized into a coherent definition in recent years. It is perhaps most famous for being mentioned multiple times in Newton's three laws of physics. For the sake of simplicity, a force can be thought of as something that makes contact with an object or in some way causes a change in that object's direction.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The biomechanics of force takes these principles and applies them directly to biomechanics. Forces are everywhere — the ability to grab an object, or even walk, requires force for motion. They can be good in this sense, allowing people to accomplish their goals. Forces can also be bad. Examples such as forces causing injury or gravity over time deteriorating the body are two such ways in which force is negative.

Biomechanics has many applications, from aiding in the training of an Olympic athlete to helping an injured or ill person physically recover. Those working professionally in biomechanics are concerned with the ways in which forces cause changes in the body. These changes may be in motion or ability to perform.

A swimmer, for example, is a good template for the study of the biomechanics of force. Any swimmer must navigate his or her way from one place to another through a viscous medium, which is water. Sometimes, water is calm — other times it can be rough. These changes cause differentiating forces to be placed on the individual moving through the water. Perhaps a different stroke could be used under different water conditions to more efficiently allow for movement.

The biomechanics of force can also be examined to better understand the nature of injury and the best ways to recover from such events. Just like any other science, biomechanics relies heavily on the scientific method to solve a problem. First, a problem is identified. This process is usually followed with the execution of an experimental design and results in analysis from which conclusions can be drawn. In this manner, the understanding of the role of force within the field of biomechanics can become more comprehensive.

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