300 years B.C.,
Aristotle termed the word kinesiology and is often referred to as the
“Father of Kinesiology”. Archimedes was the first to develop principles of
fluid mechanics with the use of pulleys that enabled men to move ships.
Claudius Galen was a Roman physician for gladiators often known as the
first athletic team physician.
Kinesiology is the
study of movement.
An athlete must unconsciously
the muscles which are going to be most effective for the task at hand. If
the athlete is able to recruit more muscle groups, his effort becomes
more effective and stronger.
The body is an
excellent computer that allows turning on and off muscle in proper
sequence. A gymnast doing a back somersault completes the task in less
than one second but uses over a 100 muscles contracting and relaxing to
create the desired movements fluidly.
contracting are called agonist whereas the opposing muscles that are relaxing are
The central nervous
system provides the stimulus for each particular nerve fiber to fire. The
response is an all or nothing phenomenon and is based on whether the
stimulus is strong enough to exceed the threshold of the fiber.
comprises 40-50% of composition of the adult human body.
A muscle is best
prepared for a forceful contraction if it is stretched approximately 1/3
beyond its resting length. This stretch is important because it creates a
slight tension that acts as a tow rope to promote a forceful muscle
The body is supported
in positions through two types of postures, dynamic and static. Postural
muscles are anti-gravity muscles which include the extensors of the back,
neck and legs. These muscles contract for the body to maintain an upright
The abdominal muscles
function to prevent the sag of visceral organs. Less important
but also involved in postures are the neck and trunk flexors, the abductors and adductors
and the muscles of the feet.
receive constant feedback and stimulation to perform their function. The
stimulus for contraction occurs from two main sources being stretch
reflexes as well as the five righting reflexes.
The stretch reflexes
are initiated from the skeletal muscles that assess proper tone, length
and tension to maintain posture.
The five righting reflexes are as follows:
1) Optical righting
2) Body righting reflex
acting on the body
3) Body righting reflex
acting on the head
4) Neck righting reflexes
5) Labyrinthine righting
The righting reflexes
are best demonstrated in newborns and infants as they utilize these
reflexes to maintain posture and basic functional movement. These reflexes
are still prevalent in the adult and can be incorporated to optimize
specific functional tasks.
Should you have any further questions
regarding this article, please direct your questions or comments to "Ask
the Doctor" section.
Copyright © 2004 - 2012Taras V.
Kochno, M.D. All Rights Reserved
Board Certified in
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation